Medical Mission to Tanzania
2 - 8 March 1980

2 March 1980, Sunday

I was up at 6 a.m. to shave & shower. We ate breakfast at the Farrars' at 7 a.m. We went on rounds at 7:30. One of our children with measles died. The child was better (i.e., afebrile) last night. Chapel was at 8:30. I read the opening prayer in Swahili.

Tu ombe.
Baba yetu uliye mbinguni, Twakushukuru, twakuhimidi, Ee Mungu. Tuna haja nawe kila saa. Mungu twatoa shukurani, kwa kutulinda usiku, na kutuangalia mchana, kutuongoza kila mara. Mungu na atufadhili na kutubariki. Utusamehe dhambi zetu. Mapenzi yako yafanyike. Katika jina Yesu. Amin.

Let us pray.
Our Father in Heaven, We thank you, we praise you, O God. We need you every hour. God, we give thanks for protecting us during the night, and watching over us during the day. Guide us at all times. God be merciful to us and bless us. Forgive our sins. Have your own way. In Jesus name. Amen.

We went with the Farrars to church at Chosi. Esther, Dan, & I ate shrimp for lunch at the Farrars'. We got on the train at 1:20 p.m. The train was very slow. It was chilly. We ate supper at 6 p.m. I had 1/2 chicken, a piece of bread, carrot sticks, Coke, & cookies. There was a locomotive failure at 7:45 p.m., but we started moving again in about 5 minutes.

3 March 1980, Monday

I awoke on the train at 6:30 a.m. For breakfast I ate carrot sticks, a slice of bread, and 2 cookies. We arrived in Dar at 11:30 a.m., over 22 hours after we had left Chimala. I lost -/20 (US$0.03) at an out-of-order pay phone at the train station. We paid 50/- (US$6.25) for a taxi to take us to the Lutheran Hostel. We ate lunch from cans. We spent 2/- (US$0.25) to place a call on a phone at the hostel. We noticed that gasoline at one station was 6/45 (US$0.80) per liter. I picked up a Newsweek for 10/- (US$1.25). I paid 18/- (US$2.25) for ice cream. A Swahili Bible was purchased for 10/- (US$1.25) and Juicyfruit gum for 6/- (US$0.75). Dr. Mitchell had recently moved from Mbeya to Dar. He picked us up about 4:15 today and took us to the beach where Dan swam. We returned Dan to the hostel to rest since he wasn't feeling well. I ate supper with the Mitchells, who then took me to an outdoor movie, Bandolero, at the Marine House (where the U.S. Marines live who "guard" the American Embassy) at 7:30 p.m. Cost was 5/- (US$0.63). I paid 12/50 (US$1.56) for a chocolate sundae. After the show I telephoned Jeannie. It cost 120/- (US$15) for about 4 minutes. I got back to the Lutheran Hostel at 10:45 p.m. and wrote Jeannie a letter [which has apparently been lost]. I stayed up till nearly 1 a.m.

      3 Mar 1980

            Well, my love, I just talked to you. I'm certainly very disappointed about my FLEX score. I am really sorry. I know you are disappointed. I'm really having second thoughts about buying that big house. Since I didn't pass, I'm not sure if we can make the payments. I'm so glad I will see you in just 5 more days.
            It's 11 p.m. but I know I can't go to sleep. So I'll write and tell you what has been happening since I last wrote. Maybe it will help me get my mind off the FLEX.
            On Saturday, 1 March 1980, Dan spoke in chapel, then sewed up a lip while Dr. Farrar and I finished making rounds. We left Chimala at 9:40 a.m. We got to Kitulo (proper spelling) at 12:30 p.m. It was very foggy and it rained most of the day. We really didn't get to see very far on top of the mountains because we were in the clouds. It was so cold that we had to wear coats. It is about 9,000 feet elevation.
            We checked the mailbox in Mbeya, but got no letters. Dan got two, but none from Alisa. I drove the land rover from Mbeya to Chimala. It was the first (and last) time I drove it. Dam usually drove, but he had already driven 5 hours that day.
            We ate supper at the Farrars' after rounds. We had a devotional at the Farrars'. Then we went to our house and packed so we were ready to go. I was so excited that night, I could hardly go to sleep. (Tonight I can't sleep because of the opposite emotion.)
            On Sunday, 2 March, I got up at 6:00 a.m. to shave and shower. We ate breakfast at the Farrars' at 7:00 a.m., then made rounds at 7:30 for the final time. One of our measles cases died during the night. The child had a normal temperature on rounds Saturday night. Chapel was at 8:30. I said (or rather read) the prayer [in Swahili]. It was original though; I wrote it myself. We went to church at Chosi, where Dr. Farrar preached. We had shrimp and french fries for lunch at the Farrars' and left for the train station.
            The train was 35-40 minutes late. We got on the train at 1:20 p.m. The train was very slow. It was rainy and chilly. We ate supper at 6:00 p.m. I had 1/2 chicken, slice of bread, carrot sticks, Coke, and cookies--all things we brought from Chimala. We stopped at 7:45 in the middle of nowhere and they said we had engine failure. But we got started again in only 5 minutes. I tried to stay awake until 10:00 p.m., but I'm not sure if I succeeded.
            We woke up this morning on Monday, 3 March, at 6:30 a.m. For breakfast I ate carrot sticks, bread, and 2 cookies. I read the entire book of Hebrews this morning. The train didn't get here [i.e., Dar es Salaam] until 11:30 a.m., more than 4 hours late.
            We paid 50/- for a taxi to take us to the Lutheran Hostel. We ate our lunch from cans. Dan thinks he has malaria so he has wanted to stay in bed all afternoon. I went walking around downtown [alone] between 1:30 and 2:00 to find the places we needed to visit. All the stores here are closed from 12:00 to 2:00 for lunch. I bought a Swahili Bible for only 10/- (or US$1.25).
            Dr. Mitchell, whom I have mentioned before, picked us up at 4:15 and we went to the beach. Dan swam, but I just waded. Afterwards we brought Dan back here. I stayed with the Mitchells. I ate supper with them, then went to the movie "Bandolero" at the Marine House at 7:30. It was outside like a drive-in, but we sat in chairs. It only cost 5/-. But I paid 12/50 for a chocolate sundae.
            Then I called you. The call cost 120/-. I guess we talked about 4 minutes. It was nice to hear your voice and to know you and Angelique are all right. I hated to hear you cry at the end, but I understand. Writing this has helped me forget about the FLEX. I'm truly sorry if I have embarrassed you in any way. Please don't be ashamed of me. I am ashamed enough at myself. Thank you for always standing by me. Everything will work out. I love you so much and miss you terribly. Lala Salama.

4 March 1980, Tuesday

We were up at 6:30 a.m. and ate breakfast downstairs at the Luther House. We walked around town from 8 to 10 a.m. We found and visited the American Embassy. I bought an ice cream cone for 5/- (US$0.63). I bought a marimba for 70/- (US$8.75) for Jeannie. It is a musical instrument from the central region, near Dodoma. I paid US$1.00 for an elephant hair bracelet after haggling down from 25/- (US$3.13). Dan bought 10 letter openers for 50/- (US$6.25). He bought an orange drink for 2/50 (US$0.31). Dr. Mitchell picked us up at noon & we went to his house for lunch. He took us to Beach Hotels and to the ebony carvers. I bought 3 elephants for 60/- (US$7.50). Dan bought 8 ebony bracelets & I bought 2 for 80/- (US$10). Then back in town I bought 3 ebony letter openers for 15/- (US$1.87). We paid 400/- (US$50) for room & breakfast at the Lutheran Hostel. At 7:30 p.m. Dan & I went to supper at the Agip Hotel where we ate steaks. They were really good. We each drank 2 Cokes. The meal cost 110/- (US$13.75) plus a US$1 tip for the waitress.

5 March 1980, Wednesday

We were up at 6:15 a.m. We ate breakfast at Luther House. Dr. Mitchell picked us up at 7:15 a.m. and took us to the airport. We had no problems at all going through Customs. The Ethiopian plane left at 9:30 a.m., arriving in Addis Ababa at 11:45 a.m. We left for Athens at 1:20 p.m., arriving at 5:30 p.m. with a 1-hour time difference. They lost our luggage! I exchanged US$100 for 3,927 drachma. Bus fare to downtown Athens was 90 drs (US$2.30). We walked about 6 blocks to the Hotel Electra where we ate a fantastic supper for only about US$15.

      5 Mar 1980

      Hi, Jeannie,
            Right this minute I am over the Nile River. Isn't that neat! I wish you were here to see it, too. It is so hazy that I can't get a good photo of it. We are sitting right over the wing and the view isn't very good. We just finished eating lunch. I am stuffed.
            Dan isn't feeling very well. He is a little sick at his stomach. He thinks he has malaria.
            Let me say I have gotten over my FLEX score. I've had plenty of time to think about it. I am so glad I found out before I got home. It would have taken away from my excitement about seeing you. Now I can just look forward to seeing you and Angelique. And am I excited!
            After I last wrote I stayed up till about 1 a.m. reading Newsweek; by then I had almost stopped worrying about the FLEX.
            Yesterday, 4 March, Tuesday, I got up at 6:30 a.m. We ate breakfast downstairs at the Lutheran House. I walked around town from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., most of the time with Dan. We found the American Embassy and Dan had to go in because he had never been to an American Embassy and just wanted to see what there was to see. They searched him and kept his pocket knife and camera. Even I thought he was behaving sort of weird.
            I shopped around and bought you a marimba. It is a musical instrument from the central region of Tanzania, near Dodoma. I hope you will like it. It is certainly unique. If you could have seen my choices, you would know that I got a good deal. I only saw two other types of instruments. One was a drum covered with plain old cowhide (Dan bought one for Tim) and the other was a stringed instrument with only 2 strings, and there was no way to play but two notes. The stringed instrument was too long to get it home anyway.
            I bought an elephant hair bracelet that is kind of interesting. I gave them a one dollar bill for it. They were asking 25/-. That $1 will end up on the black market. I'll have to tell you about that; I don't think I can explain it in writing.
            Dr. Mitchell picked us up at noon and we went to his house for lunch. He has a wife, Rene, and an 8-year-old girl, Amy. Later he took us to see the beach hotels north of Dar. Then we went to the ebony carvers. I bought 3 elephants, one for you and me, one for my mother, and you can decide what to do with the 3rd one. We bought some ebony bracelets and some letter openers, too. They had a beautiful ivory bead necklace that I wanted to get you, but it was much too expensive. It was cheap compared to what it would cost in America, but I still couldn't afford it.
            For supper last night we went to the Agip Hotel and ate steak dinners. They were really good and only cost $12.00 for both of us. The service was fancier than Steak & Ale.
            This morning, Wednesday, 5 March, we got up at 6:15, ate breakfast, and Dr. Mitchell picked us up at 7:15 and took us to the airport. The plane left at 9:30 a.m. I couldn't believe how easily we got through customs. They didn't even ask us anything, let alone open our luggage.
            We got to Addis Ababa at 11:45 a.m. That's Ethiopia. We changed planes and left at 1:20 p.m. It's a 727 and we are so full, it took the pilot 4 tries before we got off the ground.
            That brings you up to date. Right now the plane is a bit bumpy, making it hard to write. I really don't have anything else to say, anyway. I can't believe this is page 14. I hope you enjoy this little "book" I've been writing to you. I've certainly enjoyed telling you all these things. After you have read all this and forgotten it all, please remember one thing -- I love you.

            This is still 5 March. I am in the hotel in Athens. It is unbelievable. It only costs us $35 for the night and it is as nice a hotel as I have ever been in. I think I have died and gone to heaven. Dan and I had forgotten that things could be so nice. And this place is unbelievably clean. I am literally having culture shock back into civilization. I am just ecstatic! I'm sitting here right now listening to Beethoven's 9th Symphony. I haven't heard anything so nice in 5 weeks. I've been in Africa so long I just can't believe other parts of the world are so advanced and so civilized.
            We ate supper tonight in the hotel restaurant. It must be about like Jacque and Suzanne's. The first course was Italian consomme, then fish and potatoes, then salad and 1/4 roast chicken with carrots and something that looked like tater tots but didn't taste exactly like potatoes. Then I had ice cream, one dip of chocolate and one dip of vanilla, with a cookie. You will never believe the price. For both of us, it only came to about $15.00 (fifteen)!
            Afterwards I came back and took a shower, and it felt so good I didn't want to get out. I honestly forgot how clear water could be. It has been 5 weeks since I could rinse my toothbrush under the faucet. I am really having culture shock. And Heaven will be even greater than this.
            Now on to worse things -- (but it doesn't seem bad at all to me) -- We got to Athens at 5:30 p.m. (one hour time change from East Africa), but our luggage didn't. There were only six people that got off our plane in Athens, so we found out quickly that our luggage wasn't here. I guess it stayed on the plane we got off in Addis. It may have gone to Bombay or even Peking. Fortunately, I have two changes of clothes in my carry-on, but they are short-sleeved and it is so cold here that I will have to find and buy a long-sleeved shirt tomorrow.
            I saw the Acropolis from afar, and it is magnificent. I wish you were here, too. Someday you will be. I love you.

6 March 1980, Thursday

We were up at 7:00 a.m. We ate breakfast in our room for free except for a service charge. We paid about 445 drs. (US$11.5) for the balance due on our hotel and checked out about 8 a.m. We first walked to Mars Hill then visited the Acropolis. Entrance fee was drs. 50 (US$1.28). We bought 2 books for drs. 160 (US$4.10). The museum and picture permit cost drs. 100 (US$2.56). I got hot tea for drs. 50 (US$1.28). We bought T-shirts for drs. 340 (US$8.72). Without the coat that was in my luggage, I had to buy a sweater for drs. 799 (US$20.50). Lunch cost drs. 315 (US$8). I paid drs. 5 (US$0.13) to see the Olympeion. It sleeted from noon to 2 p.m. We purchased bread shaped in a ring for drs. 5 (US$0.13). At 2:15 p.m. we got on a bus to the airport. It cost drs. 95 (US$2.44). There we bought a Time magazine for drs. 60 (US$1.54). It rained all afternoon. Our plane left Athens at 7:20 p.m., arriving in Rome at 8:30 p.m. (with a 1 hour time change). At the airport Dan changed US$150 to 123,600. I change 500 drachma to 16,150 lira. We got a map for 700 (US$0.85). We paid 3000 (US$3.64) for a bus to downtown, arriving at the Hotel Nord (3 Via S. Amendola) about 9:30.

Parthenon in Athens & Colosseum in Rome

Greek Parthenon Roman Colosseum
click on a photo for a larger image

7 March 1980, Friday

We were up at 7:00 a.m. and ate a continental breakfast in the hotel restaurant. We walked past the Pantheon on our way to the Vatican. We paid 4000 (US$4.85) to get into the Sistine Chapel. I paid 4000 (US$4.85) for a book about the Vatican. We bought an English newspaper for 600 (US$0.73). We paid 3000 (US$3.64) for 2 donuts & 2 Cokes. I bought some Vatican stamps for 2000 (US$2.43). We got lunch for 7900 (US$9.59). Tickets to the top of the Colosseum cost 300 (US$0.36). I bought a book, Rome of the Caesars, for 4500 (US$5.46). Visiting the Roman Forum cost 400 (US$0.49). I bought Angelique a doll for 3000 (US$3.64). I purchased perfume for Jeannie for 12,500 (US$15.17). We got a newspaper for 500 (US$0.61). The hotel room & meals cost 65,400 (US$79.37).

      7 Mar 1980

      Dear Jeannie,
            I can't believe that I will see you tomorrow. It is now 4:30 p.m. and our European tours are over. I was much more impressed with Athens than I am with Rome. Things are more expensive here and the people are less friendly than in Athens. For sure, I want to be stationed in Greece in the Navy. I think you will like it, too.
            Yesterday, Thursday, 6 March, we got up at 7:00 a.m. and had breakfast in our room for 50 cents (20 drachmas). We left the hotel about 8 a.m. and walked to Mars Hill, right below the Acropolis.
            Then we went up to the Acropolis but had to wait until 9:00 to get in. It was very impressive! They won't let anyone into the Parthenon any more, however. We went through the museum on the Acropolis and had to buy a permit to take pictures inside.
            I bought Angelique a T-shirt from Athens that she will have to grow into. We looked a long time and finally found me a sweater. It was terribly cold. The wind was blowing hard on the Acropolis. It sleeted from 12 noon until 2 p.m. It rained the rest of the afternoon and was still raining when our plane left.
            I went to see the Temple of Zeus by myself. Dan was complaining all day because he was cold. He had a big coat, a flannel shirt, and a T-shirt. He stayed where it was dry while I went to the Temple of Zeus.
            We were ready to leave early in the afternoon, so we got on the bus to the airport at 2:15 p.m. We sat in the airport the rest of the afternoon. At least it was warm and dry. We were both frozen.
            Our plane left at 7:20, almost 1 1/2 hours late. There were about 30 Baptists from Oklahoma on a tour that we sat with on the plane. It was sure nice to hear some Southern accent again.
            We landed in Rome at 8:30 with a one hour time change from Athens. We caught a bus to downtown Rome (about 35 km) and finally got to our hotel about 9:30. We had to walk almost 10 blocks from the bus station. We were really tired last night and my feet were killing me.
            The money here is crazy. There are 800 lire to a dollar. We started with about 140,000 lire.
            Today, Friday, 7 March, we got up at 7:00 a.m. and went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. We could leave our carry-on bags in our hotel room today and that made walking easier. I left my canteen also. It is cold here, but not quite as cold as Athens, and the wind isn't blowing here.
            We walked by the Pantheon on the way to the Vatican. The Vatican is over a mile from the hotel. I've had to limp nearly all day. My left foot has been killing me and later today my left knee has started hurting. Right now I am terribly tired.
            We went inside St. Peter's Basilica. I couldn't believe how big it is. Also, St. Peter's Square was very big. Then we went to the Sistine Chapel. It cost us $2.50 (L.2000) a piece. It was 11:00 a.m. when we finished there.
            We walked nearly a mile to the Colosseum and ate lunch near there. I had a pizza. It was more like Great American Pizza Co. than Pizza Hut. Then we went inside the Colosseum. It was much bigger than I had imagined. Then we walked to the Roman Forum, just across the street. It was quite impressive, but in terrible ruins. I'm sure you would be more impressed than I was. It only cost 25 cents (L.200) to get into the Forum. Just before we left the forum, it started raining and rained about 45 minutes.
            I have bought three books -- on Acropolis, Vatican, and Rome. I'm sure you will enjoy looking at them. They are full of pictures.
            Walking back to the hotel, I bought Angelique a doll and you some perfume. I hope you will like them both. It's just over a mile from the Colosseum to the hotel. I hope my feet will get plenty of rest tomorrow.
            Well, this brings to an end a two-week long letter. I am still well except for my feet aching and I'm very tired. But tomorrow night you will be in my arms again. I'm not sure I can wait that long. You can be sure I'll dream about you tonight. Bye-bye, but hello soon.
                  I'll love you forever,
                  your Michael

8 March 1980, Saturday

We were up at 4:30 a.m. Bus fare to the airport was 3000 (US$3.64). We left Rome on a Boeing 747 at 7:45 a.m. and arrived in London at 9 a.m. (with a 1 hour time change). Having published a book on the SULLENS and SULLINS family tree in 1979, I picked a SULLENS at random out of the London telephone book and called him, but he had no knowledge of family history. I copied addresses of several SULLENS entries to send them a letter later. We departed London at 11:30 a.m. Headsets on the plane cost $7.00. We got to New York at 2:30 p.m. (after a 5 hour time change). I called Jeannie. We left New York at 4 p.m., arriving in Atlanta at 6:15 p.m. At 9:30 we departed Atlanta for Little Rock, where our wives and children were waiting to greet us.


We could not teach in Tanzania with television, radio, or newspapers. Our only option was to go in person or send someone to teach them about God and Jesus. Different methods are required to reach people in different places. In 1980 medical missions was still a new approach for churches of Christ. We found that it was the only way in Tanzania to spread the Gospel.

Jesus said in John 4:35, "Life up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest."

We tried to be optimistic, but spiritually the country was gloomy in 1980. The church was having problems because of their society and their government.

It is still important that we give the people of Tanzania a chance to hear and obey the Gospel. Because without the Son of God, they have no hope of a better life on Earth or in Heaven.

more photos

previous page | table of contents | photos

Africa map