Missionary Diary: 'It’s one of my favourite parts of life here'

Tamie Davis and her husband Arthur are missionaries with Church Missionary Society (CMS) Australia.

To give us a taste of what daily life is like for Aussie missionaries in Tanzania, Tamie guides us through the lead up to “one of my favourite parts of life here” (Tamie’s earlier diary entry is here).

Thursday, 3 June, 2021

Yesterday, after getting the boys to school, I worked five hours on a tricky transcription [for a PhD about Tanzanian women’s theology of prosperity]. I’m pushing to get all the interviews transcribed and translated before the boys go on summer holidays next week.

After school we went to an American friend’s house where the boys had fun but my friend and I had an argument and I felt awful about that. With school about to end, lots of people are leaving and there’s lots of stress and grief and I should have been more sensitive to her. We are not heaps involved with the expat community and I’m not always good at switching between that world and our Tanzanian world.

At home, I sent a message to apologise to my friend and worked another few hours on the transcription in between doing dinner and bedtime routine. Then, just as I was thinking of turning in, I got a disconcerting call from Immigration about something I thought had been settled months ago, so I have to follow up on that today.

Today, I feel pretty tired. Last night I lay awake four hours past my normal bedtime – very uncharacteristic. I comforted one of my children who had a nightmare and finally got a few hours sleep before the Call to Prayer went off at 4:30am.

I’ve got a shoulder injury so I didn’t work out while [my son] Elliot was doing his Prodigy math game but I’ve been enjoying using the ‘Pray As You Go’ devotional app during that time.

Our morning routine was disrupted by the power going out, though; the boys were having breakfast already but my piece of toast had only just gone in the toaster! Fortunately, the sun was just coming up so we didn’t have to use the solar lamps for long and they got off to school OK. I don’t have much brain power though – it’s like crickets inside my head. As I write this, I’m trying to get my energy up to call Immigration back.

Tanzanian events are mostly speeches interspersed with group dances …

But tonight I get to be the extrovert and represent our family at a ‘Send Off’ – the bride’s family party before the wedding. Two parties in four days (the ‘Send Off’ tonight and then the wedding on Sunday) is too much for Arthur whereas it’s a delight to me, so he’ll stay home with the kiddos.

Actually, Mussa and Alice (Arthur’s boss and his wife) don’t have anyone to look after their girls either, so Alice is going to drop them at ours and Arthur will look after all four kids. It sounds like they’re going to have a movie night – the boys have chosen Wall-E, a favourite of theirs. Alice and I will get an Uber to the wedding – she thinks the open-air of the bajaji [rickshaw] will spoil our dresses! – and meet Mussa there.

Tanzanian events are mostly speeches interspersed with group dances; there’s little mingling and food only happens close to the end, which is normally in the wee hours. One of the Tanzanian Fellowship of Evangelical Students [TAFES] staff is getting married to a girl from church, so we know both of them but I’ll be on the groom’s table. Part of the event is that he is ‘introduced’ to the bride’s community and approved but that only happens right at the end, as the whole thing is really about celebrating her and those who have raised her and got her to this point. It’s one of my favourite parts of life here.

The wedding is on Sunday – we’ll all go to the reception and today I have to go pick up our clothes from the tailor. I chose a different style from anything I’ve worn before, so I hope it comes off.

The boys and Arthur all have shirts to match with my dress. Public displays of affection are seen as unnecessary here – because you know who belongs together because of their clothes!

Tamie Davis and her husband Arthur are missionaries with Church Missionary Society (CMS) Australia. Arthur is staff coach with the Tanzanian Fellowship of Evangelical Students (TAFES) – part of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) – which aims to share the gospel with university students. Tamie is doing a PhD through the Angelina Noble Centre, looking at the theology of TAFES women graduates.