Our Bible translation colleagues in Tanzania have for some time been asking for JAARS' help in assessing their transportation issues and making recommendations. Last year we sent someone to do a survey, and the upshot was the recommendation to bring in an aircraft in partnership with another mission aviation organization already in the country. The next step is now to answer all the difficult questions that require aviation expertise. Debbie and I were asked to come to Tanzania and quantify what it will take to accomplish this. On March 20 we departed for Tanzania, and its industrial coastal city, Dar-es-Salaam.
Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak, as we cross the Kenyan border and descend into Dar-es-Salaam
The "Dar" staff come from all points: Europe, Canada, US, South Africa and of course Tanzania
We have met with the field administration of the "Uganda-Tanzania Branch" of SIL (Summer Institue of Linguistics) and talked to the team in "Dar," and have been getting a picture of their current situation. Our linguists are working in 26 language projects, with that many more still not yet begun.
Cessna Caravan going into the MAF hangar in Dodoma
We made a short trip by bus to the central town of Dodoma (technically the capital, and seat of Parliament) to visit with our colleagues of MAF, Mission Aviation Fellowship International (formerly known as "Euro MAF"). This branch of the MAF organizations is based in London and serves in many of the African countries. Our linguist colleagues use MAF frequently, but there is a limit to how much service they can offer. And our work is growing in Tanzania -- thirty new people arriving in the coming year, up from about a hundred and twenty presently. So we visited with MAF in Dodoma to propose that we work in partnership.
Our next step will be to spend about a month in the town of Mbeya, in the southwest of Tanzania, to get to know our workers there and understand their need. By the end of it all, we will hopefully have an idea of where to proceed from here. Some of the key questions to answer are: What exactly are the needs, for all the team, and what will they be in the future? How can we improve the situation, and plan for future needs? How can we adequately plan for the expense of air transport? How, and how soon, can we implement the solutions? As we progress through this three-month project, we will keep this site updated.