How does one pack up one's life, one's family and move over the ocean and across the world?
Moving was nothing new to our little family. By the time we were preparing for the Big Move, we were already on my 5th house. I was only four years old. But this time was different. The furniture was staying. The psyco cat who would attack our feet for no reason was going to a new, child free home. Our family of four was moving out of a two story house into 50 foot motor home for the next year (my dad just informed me that it was only half that long...to my 4-year-old self it was massive!)
Everything we chose to keep was going into 50 gallon drums. Some were going to be stored in my aunt's garage. Others filled with clothing, toys we couldn't live without and small household items were going to be shipped to Tanzania...to be kept in storage until we arrived to collect them.
Safe and sound in a 3rd world warehouse. There was no way for that to go wrong. By the time we caught up with them it was evident someone else had gotten to them first. Our own lists of contents had gotten mixed up so it was unclear until they had all been unpacked as to what was left alone and what was taken. It's funny what some people place value on. And it's also true that God looks out for mad men and fools. The items that were irreplaceable, mementos to remind my mother of home, were untouched.
After time spent in Kenya whilst my parents attended language school and my sister and I attended the local missionary day school, we packed up again and flew to Tanzania.
It was to be my first of many, many flights on one of these tiny aircrafts. It was also the first time we learned I get horrifically air sick. The planes are loaded with the heaviest in front to balance out the luggage in the rear. Which meant the smallest passengers also sat in the rear seats. One of the greatest days of my life was the day I was the only passenger and I sat up front with the pilot. Not only did he let me take the stick for a while but when he noticed me getting a little green he leaned over and opened up my window. Instant cure!
We had been led to believe there was a house ready for us to move into when we finally arrived in Mwanza, Tanzania. Their intel was inaccurate. For our first eight months we house sat for various other missionaries when they were out of town. One of the local Bible colleges allowed us a small guest house when nothing else was available.
My parents found a man who ran out of money whilst in the process of building a house. They took over the project with the promise we could live there until our own house was built. It was poorly built, not a single bare cement floor was level and there was an entire room that was simply a shower...with an in-floor toilet. But it was ours. We moved in a week before our second Christmas in Africa.
My mother was busy that week. After three years of being on the move, we finally had a place to settle into for a while. As they were unpacking barrels they came across personal items of mine and my sister's they had assumed stolen and lost forever. Seeing as it was so close to Christmas, they chose to wrap them up and put them under our tiny little three foot artificial Christmas tree.