One thing you just can’t get enough of is… walking. Whether I’m “Walking on Sunshine!” or deciding to “Walk this Way” or simply just trying to “Walk it Out,” walking is something that is a significant part of my life here. One thing is for sure… I’m definitely NOT “Walking in a Winter Wonderland…”

For the average Tanzanian there are two main modes of transportation: mini-bus (aka Daladala or Hice) or your own two feet. I am getting the privilege to experience both of these firsthand. I walk to school, I walk to church, I walk about a mile to the closest bus stop and walk through town before walking the mile from the bus stop back to my home. I spend my weekends hiking and walking around town. I walk a lot. Most days I enjoy it unless it’s very dry and I’m engulfed in a cloud of dust or it’s raining heavily and I delicately dodging puddles or patches of mud.

If you read through the Gospels, Jesus spends a lot of time walking as well. You’ll see that he went to Jerusalem and walked through towns and villages… he visited friends and strangers, rich and poor, healthy and sick how…? By walking! Many times he walked by the Sea of Galilee (and ON it too!) To think of other significant moments of walking, Jesus also approached Jerusalem partially on foot and he knowingly walked towards pain and a most certain death on the cross. Even the Old Testament is filled with walking stories. Think about the Great Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land… I don’t think they reserved charter buses or had a red eye direct flight…they walked! God commands us to walk in God’s ways and that God’s word lights our path [that we walk each and every day.]

I believe that walking is very healthy, and not just for the body but the soul too! When I’m upset or need to think, I put on my tennis shoes and just start walking.

But as I mentioned earlier, walking here in Tanzania is different. It isn’t exercise. It isn’t recreation. It isn’t something that is complained over. You just do it. Walking is simply a part of life and everyone does so willingly (as far as I can see.) When I went to get my resident permit placed in my passport I walked with another teacher for 45 minutes about two miles just to get the stamp and then walk back. She didn’t complain or point me in the right direction and say “Good luck!” She walked and enjoyed the chance to get out and greet those she knew along the way. Walking enhances their relationships as they make frequent stops along their walks to greet their neighbors and sometimes even talk with strangers. When we shut the car door, we shutting a lot more than we think. This has been a challenge to me…the whole stopping and talking to EVERYONE thing… but I do see the value in it. It shows everyone you pass that they are worth talking to. It shows that the emphasis here is on community and not accomplishment.

Walking here is just walking. But it’s more than walking. I never thought I’d learn so much from simply walking. But I guess that’s what I get when I take the time to walk in a Tanzanian’s shoes…

“For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.” –Deuteronomy 30:16

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” –Psalm 119:105

“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.” –Matthew 4: 18-20