Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | September 9, 2008

The Savages in America

A Page From My Journal
Tanzania • August 6, 2008

   We left Mbeya early this morning, packed like sardines into Land Rovers bulging with supplies for our stay in the African bush. This is a “bring it with you or do without” kind of trip. We lashed our stuff to the top of our vehicles and wedged it into any available space inside. Our bumpy off-road trek ended at the foot of a hill where people from the Nyiha tribe welcomed us with enthusiastic waves and joyous shouts. Within minutes, local women were balancing our heavy supplies on their heads and climbing effortlessly up the hill.

   Our first order of business was to set up our base camp. Our rocky perch gives us a panoramic view of the mud-plastered, thatch-roofed huts in the surrounding valley where people from the Nyiha and Ndali tribes live. We cleared the area of rocks, pitched our tents, and moved into the neighborhood. Locals marched to the top of the hill like an army of ants, curious about the activity and eager to meet the mzungus (white people) in the blue tent village.

    Quickly eating our lunch of peanut butter and jelly slathered on thick slices of egg bread, we divided up into teams with believers from the Safwa tribe. These Swahili-speakers are here to interpret for us as we introduce the Nyiha to the story of God’s love through chronological Bible storying. Anxious to bring light to the people of the Dark Continent, we headed downhill toward all compass points. This is the idyllic “ends of the earth” adventure — trekking down dusty trails to huts in remote African valleys.

   In the heat of the day, my team arrived at a tiny hut in the middle of a brown field covered with the dandruff of the recent cane and maize harvest. Children stared at us with curious eyes while a hen and her chicks clucked and peeped their way across the barren ground.  The family invited us to sit with them in the dirt outside their hut. While the hot afternoon sun painted our shadows on the dusty canvas, we introduced ourselves to our humble hosts. And then, the unexpected! Upon hearing why we had traveled so far, our hosts exchanged relieved expressions and said, “Karibu” — you are welcome. “We are among the few believers here and have been praying for the mzungus because we were not certain they had heard this wonderful story of Jesus. We are happy to know that you too have heard this message.” How humbling to be reminded that God cares for the nations and that believers on the Dark Continent are praying for the savages in America!


  1. Omar, I’m delighted to know about this blog, and be assured I’ll be following it with great interest. The two trips I made to Mongolia with you as part of a medical mission team were watershed experiences in my life. Though God has called you to a different place, our church still fields teams, and by His grace, and if He wills it, I’ll return to Mongolia at least once more.

    I pray for His blessings upon you and upon every thing to which you set your hand. I’ve never known anyone with a greater heart for missions, or more natural talent for implementing the directions of our Lord.

    May the good Lord bless and keep you!

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