The long-awaited departure for Tanzania has become a reality. While no official departure date has been set, there is a feeling that deployment could very well occur by early to mid July. I am mostly excited but also apprehensive about the endless list of things I have to do before then.
In the beginning of May, I went to Pre-Field Training (PFT) at the new OCMC administration and training facility in St. Augustine, Florida. I attended the training with Katie Wilcoxson and Felice Stewart, two of the other members of Team Tanzania. We had a very busy but enjoyable and spiritually fulfilling week. We discussed last-minute preparations for our departure, and the week culminated with an introduction to our language training. OCMC is in the process of instituting a new method of language training that deviates from the more traditional language school setting. It is called the Growing Participator Approach, and it focuses on immersion with native speakers. GPA takes somewhat of a similar approach to Rosetta Stone (where you learn a new language as a baby or a young child would), but GPA places more of an emphasis on shared experiences, interpersonal relationships, and shared culture. This will not only help us to get a better grasp of Swahili, but it will also help us assimilate into everyday Tanzanian life. I’ll report on my progress and give you a better explanation of GPA as I experience it firsthand.
For anyone who will be in the Milwaukee area this weekend, I will have my Commissioning Service on Sunday, June 6. It will be conducted at the conclusion of Divine Liturgy at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee. Orthros begins at 8AM and Liturgy at 9AM. This service will be especially meaningful because Fr. David Rucker will be coming up from St. Augustine to participate. I’ll post video and pictures when they become available.