We've received quite a few requests from our blog readers to explain what "T.I.A." means. It was in one of our blogs not long ago. Well, if you've ever lived in Africa or even visited Africa, you probably know exactly what we mean!
T.I.A.-"This is Africa". We use the phrase quite often in our daily lives. Let us put it in context for you.
We were invited to a friend's church on Sunday to see a children's program. The church started at 8:00. At 10:20, the children's program had still not started and we had to leave because we had a prior commitment. The announcements lasted a good long time, each of the 6 people who had a birthday that week had to say something, the visitors received a long welcome, the new members received and eve longer welcome, the offering lasted for 30 minutes. T.I.A.
Later that day, Andrew and Stephen were due to fly home from a city in the north. They had gone up by car with Rodger and a couple of friends, but needed to be back to start school on Monday. When Rodger arrived at the airport to see them off, there was no one at the airline office. No employees to be found. He had to book them on a completely different airline and pay for new tickets.
When Megan and I arrived at the airport in maputo to pick them up, there was a notice in the window of the ticket counter. It stated that a large bird had flown into the engine of the plane, causing severe damage. All scheduled flights were canceled until mid-February. Apparently, that airline has only one plane in Mozambique! T.I.A.
A friend of mine is working on the final adoption papers for the child they adopted back in May. At one office, she was told by the woman employee to "come back" at such and such a time and "bring me lunch." A few days later, I was told by the lady we have lovingly dubbed, "the pineapple lady" (she sells pineapple), that Thursday is her birthday and "I want you to bring me a present." T.I.A.
I hope this gives you a little glimpse into our sometimes bizarre life here. Most of the time, we just laugh. Other times, we feel overwhelmed by how little sense it makes to us. It's difficult to know how to respond in a culturally appropriate way. It's difficult to not just be really angry about it sometimes. It feels so wrong to us as American's to have someone be that bold, or insensitive or that negligent in the area of customer service.
It's every single day we are here that we realize how much we need God's grace, compassion, love and guidance.