I really wasn’t given much choice in the matter; the little old lady plainly told my wife, “You can go. He’s my husband now.”

Great-grandma – Bebe

I had sized the situation up and realized it was not a romantic offer; it wasn’t like the lady was making googly eyes at me. It was more of the fact that she had a house to build and I looked like I had a strong back – just the kind of husband she needed to move all those blocks around. 

The New House

Christine looked at me and I shrugged my shoulders. If she was okay with it, I was okay with it. I like strong, bossy women, even if they are 90 years old. It turns out, thank God, Christine was not okay with it; she’s not much on the idea of polygamy.

She had a house to build. Now, that’s the best part of this story. Here’s the back story.

I was in Tanzania to capture the incredible success stories of the founders of The Outreach Program, Floyd and Kathy Hammer. They began working in this area in 2003 and the amount of good they have done is simply staggering, But the thing about them is they are super humble and don’t brag about what they’ve accomplished. We had gone to the house to visit one of the success stories, a young lady named Zulpha, and her grandmother. Zulpha’s mother and father had died so it left grandma to raise her.

The Old House

Grandma was struggling to make ends meet and taking on a small child was a burden.Floyd and Kathy, rightly so, are of the opinion that education and entrepreneurship are the best ways of poverty and hunger. A friend of theirs had given them some money with instructions to find a family in Tanzania to help.

Floyd and Kathy found Zulpha and her grandmother and gave her the money with the stipulation that it was to start a business. So, start a business, she did. The grandma took the $30 dollars and began buying tomatoes and reselling them then eventually began raising vegetables to sell.

Zulpha and the grandmother back in 2013

They didn’t have a house of their own and Floyd suggested they buy a block at a time with any disposable cash. She has been buying one block at a time. By 2015, she had enough blocks to start building a house and nearly five years later, the walls are up and the roof is on, but they have a long way to go to get there.

It was Zulpha’s grandmother’s mother, Bebe, that more or less proposed to me. An actual proposal would have come in the form of a question; this was more of a directive than a question. You, go; him, stay. They have a house left to build, I look like a nice strong, young, lad (compared to her) and could be of great assistance.

Great grandma, Grandma, Kathy Hammer, Zulpha and Zulpha’s sister

I often tell people when they go with me to developing countries that, when they return home and are sitting on the porch drinking coffee, I don’t want them to miss the country, I want them to miss the people. I miss Zulpha’s grandmother and great-grandmother, Bebe. Anyone that can take a $30-dollar investment and turn it into a successful business has my ultimate respect.

Zulpha, 8 years ago

I’d love to help them finish their house. They have a long way to go and, at the rate they are going, it might take several more years. Great grandma might not have that many years left. But, then again, maybe a young husband would give her some new life.

Sorry, Bebe, but that husband won’t be me; I just can’t marry you. My wife won’t let me.


To read the first part of this series, click on the following links:

The Little Starfish Named Pendo: Africa Series, Part 10

Life Ain’t Fair, But Lets Do What We Can to Make it Fair for Others: Africa Series, Part 9

Traveling With My Heroes: Africa Series, Part 8

Finding New Things That Can Kill Me: Africa Series, Part 7

Traveling 3,000 Years in 30 Miles: Africa Series, Part 6

You’re Welcome: Greetings From Africa: Africa Series, Part 5

How My Childhood Nemesis Introduced Me to Int’l Missions: Africa Series, Part 4

What I Love Most About Africa: Africa Series Part 3

That Time the New York City Police Surrounded Our Plane: Africa Series Part 2

Stories From A Reluctant World Traveler: Africa Series, Part 1