Pete is Home (in quarantine)

Hello everyone,

This is Pete’s friend and website admin Holly. Pete came home early from Tanzania due to the coronavirus. Pete has been traveling since early Friday morning, and is now finally home, in quarantine for 14 days. He is now turning off his phone and going to bed.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. Pete lives alone, so please keep in touch!



The children

The children make life here so pleasant when things are so tough all around them.

Many times the eldest girl takes care of the younger siblings in the family. In this picture the girl has her younger sister on her back taking her to nursery school. Of course they travel with their friends. In the background that large white building is Westgate, which is where I stay.

They have a program called “Godly Play” where children learn about God, what has He done for us, and how we should be thanking Him. The kids remove their sandals then go into the class room. Once inside they will play games and sing to Jesus.

While I was still home, my dentist Dr. Rupesh Udeshi of Dental Associates of RI in Johnston, kindly donated 100 toothbrushes and toothpastes for the children. The day I surprised the children with them, the teacher got them all lined up outside in a very orderly fashion. As you can see, the children are quite happy with their gifts. For days afterwards, children ran up to me to thank me for their gifts. I wish Dr. Udeshi and his colleagues could be here to see the childrens’ smiling faces.

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First week in Tanzania

Hello everyone,

It’s good to be back here at St. Philips Theological College. Here is some of what I’ve been doing.

Pete is wearing a big smile, sitting on a curb and surrounded by seven smiling children, some holding jump ropes.

We’ve been finishing a lot of little projects. you all know the ones: the projects you don’t want to do, but after completing them you feel SUPA! Well, that is what happened with the seven repairs needed at one house. we fixed a plumbing problem, made an electrical repair, stopped the gutter from dripping onto the side of the house, repaired (by almost rebuilding) an entire door, secured the foundation to the outhouse, fixed some slates on a kid’s bed, and replaced the screening on the front screen door. The tutor was quite thankful for all we did in a short period of time. The only thing remaining is to build a new water tower and its plumbing.

In between the hives and the repairs, i had to send Amos and Goodluck up to the water source four times to clear the brush. Since there was a good rainy season, EVERYTHING grew! The path to the water souce was almost completely blocked. It had to be cleared so we can make repairs.

I really liked how the week ended. There is a family below where I live with three kids. Julius and John are twins, around 11-13, and their sister Maria is about 3-5. Their father Christian is a tutor at the school, and I invited them to the shop. They came and i had them each make their own brain teaser game. I had used the power tools to cut out the boards. I had them sand the boards down. I used golf tees from Golfers Warehouse in Cranston to set up the game. It’s a rectangular piece of wood with a row ten holes. Put four beige tees in the first four holes on the right, and four white tees in the first four holes on the left. Then, you have to get them all to the opposite side by having the tees jump each other like checkers.

Rectangular board, about a foot in length, with ten holes. Four beige golf tees are in the first four holes and four white golf tees are in the last four holes.
Golf tee game
Two boys and a man sit on a set of stairs, each playing with a copy of the tee game.
Christian and his twin sons Julius and John playing the wooden tee game.

More to come soon!



Travel adventures

As usual, Holly did a fantastic job of packing about 180lbs+ in the suitcases. I packed the easiest one, my computer case. Even that was over flowing.

Here’s a picture of Holly going ready to her magic. The following is what was taken to St. Philip’s: drain snake, clipper for small branches, 3 orbital sanders, metric and SAE open end wrenches, 2 cordless drills, 2″-4″-6″ C-clamps, box of 1/2″ and 1″ self tapping screws, 3 tape measures, 3 7″ blades for the skill saw, 4 1/2″ grinder, caulking gun, 23 rubber stair treads, along with two boxes of toothpaste and 50 toothbrushes that were kindly donated by my dentist.

Unfortunately, I was unable to take 21 rubber stair treads, 2′ long bolt cutters and a 10″ table saw. The table saw was too large for the airline and it was going to cost $300.00 to ship a $200.00 table saw. These will go on the next trip after I buy a smaller table saw.

The three large suitcases weighted in at 49lbs each. My carry on and computer bag were searched. The TSA guy said, “Who packed this case.” Very proudly I said, “my I.T. girl.” He replied, “boy she sure does a great job.” I told him I totally agreed. After that, though, I had to repack the computer case. The TSA guy unzipped the carry on and tooth brushes came flying out so he decided to stop his inspection at this point. Thank goodness, because I would have had a tough time getting that back together.

I reached Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania, without another hitch. There was a problem with my pickup – I had updated the principal with the correct day/time but there was a misunderstanding with the driver. I ended up waiting at the airport from 2am-7am Friday. Once my boss woke up and learned of the problem, he helped arrange arrange for me to go to a nearby hotel for some breakfast and to sleep until the driver was able to reach me. All in all, I left my home around 3:30 PM Wednesday and reached my destination around 2 AM Saturday.

Oh, and I have to tell you I had family friends’ kids Drew and Alicia create some small signs and door hangers saying “Pita sleeping please be quiet.” Of course these were written in Swahili, so now we joke the kids are bilingual. These worked out great because I was not woken by anyone talking on their phones on that first morning when I needed to rest.

So, now the fun is starting. On Sunday, I have scheduled jump rope time with all the kids.


He made it!

Hello everyone,

As usual, Pete’s friend and website admin Holly here to announce: Pete has safely arrived at St. Philip’s Theological College.

For those who may be unfamiliar, Tanzania is 8 hours ahead of us, so it is 3:30 AM Saturday for Pete as I post this.

Stay tuned to hear more from the man himself!

Best wishes,

Holly Nelson

Blog comments

Hey friends and followers of my blog,

I recently learned that all the replies to your many kind messages weren’t reaching you because I was answering via email and it was going to a notifications-only email. They all went into a black hole. That is how my IT gal Holly explained it to me. So, I am so sorry because I really tried to reply to each comment. Just think, I have been goofing this up for 2 years. Now Holly has shown me the correct way to reply to your comments. I so appreciate it when you take your valuable time to write your comments, so I will do my best going forward.




Hello everyone,

At church this morning, the priest said that my hands have worked on the church from the roof to the basement and everywhere in between. She then read the following prayer:

“The Feast of the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple

Most gracious and loving God,

We are anointing some precious hands today.

We use our hands in worship — in so many fantastic ways! In song — using hand movements with wild and crazy joy. Of perhaps, as Episcopalians, gently tapping the pew in time with our hymns. And on instruments, from the delightful beating of a drum, to the enjoyment of the guitar, to the inspirational sounds of the keyboard — and always, always, God – for your glory.

We use our hands in prayer, folded in seriousness, holding sacred Scripture, lifting others up in their struggles.

We ask a blessing upon your servant, Peter, as he leaves us to minister to the people in Tanzania. And Lord, may you open his eyes to see how you might be directing his hands to help others. May he point the way to you, Lord. May he exhibit a healing and soothing touch to others. And most of all, may Peter always remember to express his love of you in gentle kindness to every single person he meets. And, when it is time, bring him back in safety to those of us who love him so dearly.

We ask this blessing through your son, Jesus Christ.

Peter, today I bless your hands for ministry — through God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. AMEN!”

Thank you for reading this. I thought it was SUPA!



I’m going back!

Hello everyone,

I am healthy again, and I am delighted to be returning to Tanzania on February 5 (arriving the 7th).

Very excited to return and see all of my Tanzanian family. I have some new projects that my students can build to increase their wood working skills.

Please send me any messages you would like by replying to my posts or via email. See you all in early May!



Return to Tanzania delayed to March 2020

Hi everyone,

I am sorry to share that I’m not returning to St. Philips in Tanzania this month. I developed four (4) skin abscesses in August due to an infection. They were all removed by a surgeon – one required general anesthesia. The wounds would not be 100% healed in time for my return to Tanzania. So, I decided to stay home in the states to allow the wounds to heal completely, where I knew I had great medical care available.

At this time, my primary care doctor is really glad to see the wounds are healing and in good condition. He also assured me they were unrelated to my trips to Tanzania.

I plan to return to St. Philips to continue my work in March 2020. I will be in touch beforehand so you can follow our progress at St. Philips.