Rob and I have been thinking about moving for a few months. We had discussed the reasons to move and the benefits of moving at this time, but had not made a decision until a few weeks ago.
The reasons we need to move are:
1. It would be nice to be closer to Shelbyanne's school. (Right now she gets up at 5am to catch the bus at 5:45am. She gets home around 4pm. She spends about 3 hours each day on the bus. Next year Emily will be going to the same school and riding the bus with her. We would like to have more time with them each evening, and not have them on the bus for so much time each day.)
2. Our ministry here in Tanzania is to help get NTM established as an organization, as well as, welcoming and assisting future missionaries with setting up housing and their language program. (Therefore, we want to be more centrally located in the city. When the missionaries come they will be connected to a church. We want to be able to get to them a bit easier no matter where they are placed in the city. We will possibly be welcoming 4 families this year and more families next year.)
3. Our kids need a yard. (They have done great with the small area of bricks surrounding our house. But, they really need a place to run and play where they can fall down and not skin their knee.)
4. *This is what confirmed the decision for us!* Our landlord let us know a few weeks ago that he will be raising our rent for this next year. (Although we appreciate him lowering the price so that we could rent this house last year, we do not want to pay more to live here.)
Two weeks ago I started contacting people about finding a house to rent. There are only 4 things that the house must have: 1. Location (Central to town) 2. 4+ Bedrooms 3. Place for our guard to live (Most houses here have staff quarters next to the house.) and 4. A Yard. I tried to get the help of a Realtor from a company here that advertises online, but he has yet to meet with me. I told some friends here we needed to find a house, and they have been suggesting houses they know of. I also told our taxi driver the news. He has hooked us up with a "Dalali". A Dalali is a person who does the job of a Realtor without the training. He goes around and looks for houses for rent and shows them to us. If he finds the house we choose to rent, then we pay him the price of one month's rent. That is how we found the house we are living in now as well. The dalali doesn't usually know much of anything about the house until we walk in together to view it.
When we rent a house here, usually we would pay 12 months of rent up front. We live in the house until our lease is up. Then, we pay the rent for another year or move out. Since last year when we started this process, we have been saving $700 each month for the next year's rent, thinking that we might move and rent would be lower. I don't know if the rental market has gone up or if we were just not aware of the actual prices of renting in other areas of the city, but so far I have seen 16 houses and not one of them (including ones with 3 bedrooms and no yard) have been less than $1000 per month. Most of the owners are asking $1500+ per month. Needless to say, we were not prepared for this. We were hoping to find something between $700 and $900 per month. We have been told many times that if we go north of town we can find bigger and better for cheaper, but that is not an option based on our reasons for moving. Of the 16 houses I have seen there are two I think would be a good fit for our family and ministry. Unfortunately, they are both out of our price range. They are both asking $1500 per month. Today we saw one of them for the second time, and met with the owner. He originally said $1200 with the possibility to negotiate, but today quoted us $1500 with no chance to negotiate. We were crushed...deflated.
My final thoughts...I know and trust that God is preparing the best house for us. He is also teaching us something. It is hard to understand what that is right now, but if we have to walk through this process to find it, then we will. There have been many highs and lows...excitements and disappointments. But one thought that is constantly on my mind is "Trust Me!" We are actively trusting Him. We are putting the effort in to finding a house, and He is opening and closing the doors. We are trusting Him for the house as well as the extra finances to pay for the year's rent up front. Please be praying with us for wisdom to make the best decisions, the right words to say to negotiate well with the owner, and the finances needed to cover the rent above what we have been saving.
Blessings to You and Your Family,
Here are a few pictures from some of the houses we have seen.
|The doors from Zanzibar are incredible!|
|Emily loved this bedroom and said it looked like Rapunzel's bedroom. |
Too bad the house is the upstairs of a 2 story duplex.
|A very big bathroom. The space on the left is the shower area.|
|Staff quarters and back yard.|
|This was the house we saw today and really liked. :(|
|Back of the house. The water tank is on top of the scaffolding on the right. |
Usually there is a tank underground which is pumped to a tank up high.
|Here is another bathroom. Love the squatty Potty!! |
Sorry it is sideways too but I had to include it.