Monthly Archives: September 2015

2015 – That Was the Weekend That Was

Kasulu – Sorry I haven’t posted for a few days.  It was a busy, wonderful and draining weekend.  In other words,  I was just too tired to write the last two evenings.
Our weekend travels:  Kasulu to Uvinza to Kigoma to Ujiji and back.
To catch up, Friday night’s showing of “Despicable Me” went well.  Having the English captions on definitely helped our ESL audience understand the dialogue better as there are many different accents in the film.
We took off bright and early Saturday morning for Uvinza, our first stop.  Uvinza is a heavily Islamic area and there was an incident there a few years ago.  It’s major economic engine is the salt mining that is done there.  The soil there in more sandy and brown, unlike Kasulu’s red clay.  There was a relatively small confirmation class there, and it being a Saturday, the congregation was on the small side.  I am guessing it was mostly family members of the confirmands and members of the choirs.

The Bishop had divided up the preaching for the weekend between all the men of our party, and it was Pastor Reginald Moshi’s turn.  Reginald is in charge of IT at the Bible College and he is a joy to work with.  He preached on God’s love. We sang twice and gave greetings. 
The congregation gave the Bishop a chicken.  It was a LOUD chicken.  After the confirmation itself, everyone wanted to have their picture taken with the Bishop (this is a normal occurrence here).  When the service was over, there was a receiving line, which there usually is when the schedule is not tight, and as it ended EVERYONE wanted to have their picture taken with US.  They were very organized about it.  We just stood there and they formed a line, would duck into the picture, wait until the photographs indicated that they had the photo and then the next person or persons would duck in.  It went on for a long time.  (How did you get that sunburn?  It was during a photo-op.  Not actually, because we weren’t out there that long and have become acclimated to the sun to a point.)  If I had ever had any desire to be some kind of a celebrity, that photo session would have ended it right there!
We enjoyed lunch at the pastor’s house and then loaded the chicken and ourselves into the car to head to Kigoma.  The road between Uvinza and Kigoma is actually paved and we all napped out during the drive.  I was actually able to do a little reading.
We got to the hotel around 3:00 pm and had time for a two hour rest before going to say “hello” at the church in Kigoma.  Sunday morning was going to be a tight schedule because we were also going to Ujiji, so we were doing our Kigoma church visiting Saturday evening.  The confirmands and most or the choirs were there to greet us when we arrived.  We had a small welcoming service.  Two of the choirs sang,  Bill and I sang and everyone gave greetings.  Reginald, Bill and I watched one of the choirs practice while the Bishop dealt with a pastoral matter.  We returned to our hotel (the Coastal View again, it is becoming our home away from home in Kigoma) around 7:00 pm.  We were told that dinner was at 7:30, but not where dinner was.  We were assuming that it was at the hotel, but a little after 7:30 we climbed back into the car and headed back to the church for dinner with the vestry.  Bill had developed a headache, so when we returned to the Coastal View, it was quick showers and lights out well before 10:00 pm.

We were back in the car at 6:40 am with our over-night luggage to head for the pastor’s house for breakfast.  The service started at 7:30 and breakfast (which was catered) did not arrive until 7:15.  The clock in the pastor’s living room was also running behind by 15 minutes so we all started joking about official time and Tanzanian time.  Of course the service stared at least 15 minutes late.

The service in Kigoma had three choirs.  All of the choirs were very good, and their choreography phenomenal  (yes, I did say choreography), but our favorite was the Upendo choir, which did everything live (there is a lot of looping and sometimes just lip-syncing pre-recorded songs by some of the choirs) and sang with all of their hearts.   We also sang.  As we had done “Song to the Savior” the night before and one of the choir members had remembered Bill singing “Sing for Joy” at the choir camp eight or nine years ago, we decided to do that song.  The choir joined in right away, and we soon had the entire congregation singing with us.  The Bishop preached at this service.  The service ended with Holy Communion and announcements and after one group photo of the Bishop and the confirmands and we ducked out the side door, leaving for Ujiji 30 minutes late.
Ujiji is the town where Dr. David Livingstone had his major ministry.  We had visited where he had his ministry center two years ago when we were here with Rev. Shaw Mudge (and old friend from St. Paul’s, Darien days).  The church were we had the confirmation service is the Livingstone Memorial church.  The area it is in is also heavily Muslim and there was in incident in 1995 when someone tried to burn the church down.  Building materials in this are are not very flammable (think brick, plaster and cement) and they did not succeed.  
The service started with the dedication of a new sound system.  The sound system was not connected until after the dedication, which led to 10 minutes or so of adjusting when the first choir got up to sing.  Even after that there was way to much bass, even for a society that likes a lot of bass, and a lot of feed back due to to much gain in the house.  When we sang, the microphone I used was set so flat that I could barely here my voice.  Bill was itching to get his fingers on the sound board but he refrained.  Again there were three choirs.  Our favorite was the Grace choir.  The Mother’s Union choir had great enthusiasm, but I think that they, as members of the Mother’s Union spent more time on more important matters than singing.  We again sang “Sing for Joy” and again the choir and everyone else picked right up on it.  When we repeated the chorus at the end (many, many times), half the church, including all of the choirs and the confirmands, was up and dancing.

This time it was Bill’s turn to preach.  He shared about the time when he was fourteen and saw his Mother and Father were having a very rough time.  He was scared for his parents, left the house, and ended up walking to the church they went to in Stamford.  It was there that he cried out to God, asking that if He was real, that he do something to help his parents.  And it was there that he heard a voice from God challenging him to be “real”, to be more than just practicing the forms or religion.  A peace came upon him and he knew that nothing would ever be the same and that God would be in the midst of what was going on with his parents.  He challenged the confirmands to be real for Christ, to be more than just religious and live their lives for Him.  His testimony  was very well received.
The confirmands were confirmed, the offering was taken and announcements and the Parish report were given.  The Bishop did a short photo session with the confirmands, as about 10 large cabbages and and number of bottles of soda were auctioned off.  If a person has no money, they will bring something they have grown or made or, perhaps stock from their store as an offering, then it is auctioned off to the congregation right after the service.  The auction was continuing as we made our way out the side door to go to the Pastor’s house for lunch.  I almost got caught up in another photo-op, but we had to go eat and get on our way back to Kasulu as the Bishop had a meeting scheduled at the Cathedral.
The drive back to Kasulu was not restful.  The very first part is paved, but the unpaved part is the worst I have ever seen it.  It used to be that that you would just do a lot of bouncing up and down on a wash-board surface but now it is badly rutted and you are always swaying all over the place as the driver has to navigate the hazards.  Reading was literally impossible.
As for the chicken?  Well, we were supposed to meet someone as we left Kigoma so that they could hand-off the chicken to us, but that person never showed.  We guess that there is official time, Tanzanian time and chicken time!

2015 – TGIF – Busy Weekend Ahead

After an early morning eucharist at Marusi, we spent most of the today at the Bible College again.  Bill was doing more anti-virus work and teaching Reginald and Festus more about tcp/ip and firewalls.  Festus and Reginald took apart an HP printer that was, falsely, it turns out, reporting a paper jam, in order to repair it.  It seems that the issue is a bad sensor and there is no repair that can be made.  


I spent the morning reviewing yesterday’s Swahili lesson and talking to various students.

When we returned home for lunch there were two craftsman (fundi) working on the broken front door in an attempt replace the broken lock with a new one.  There was a lot of filing and there will be welding and other retro-fitting tomorrow, as the new lock is a very different size (smaller) and shape than the old lock.

We called Sister Christine at Shunga, and she will be very happy to have us come on Tuesday to do a site-survey for getting wi-fi set up for the Shunga Clinic.

After lunch we headed back to KBC and our Swahili lessons.  The students were once again laying bricks, this time for the back wall of the staff offices. A student procured a white cloth that we will hang in the classroom where we will be showing “Despicable Me” tonight.  More mango juice and Nido (the essentials!) was purchased on the way home and then Bill saw the Bishop to find out what time we are leaving tomorrow for the confirmations that will be happening Saturday and Sunday down in the Kigoma area.  Good thing he checked as it’s early!  We are leaving at 8:30 a.m., which is fine except that we asked for Swahili homework to do over the weekend and Bill has a laptop to look at for someone.  I’m not sure when we will get these tasks done.

In the meantime, the hot water which almost always runs, even when the cold water is turned off at the German house, has run out, so we will be bathing out of barrel water tonight, with a little help from the electric kettle.  Nothing new.  Every house here always has a least one big barrel of water for times like these.  Welcome to Kasulu!

Today’s prayer request is for safe travels tomorrow (Satuday) and Sunday, and for the confirmands at the three churches we will be visiting.

2015 – Short Post Thursday

Kasulu –  We have a tendency to be totally oblivious to the Tanzanian holidays, and today ended up being one of those holidays we are oblivious to.  I thought that the noise from the mosque started a little earlier than usual, and it is very unusual to hear drumming.  I know that drumming is part of the Ramadan celebration here, but that was over back in June.  Then when we drove down to the Bible College for the 7:00 am Thursday Eucharist that Bill had been asked to preach at we noticed that the street in front of the mosque was blocked off and it was full of people sitting on the street.  Turns out that today is the celebration of the Hajj and that is a national holiday here.  Even the Diocesan offices were closed and there were no classes in the Bible College.

Bill successfully tried his last trick to get the messed-up-wouldn’t-boot work station fixed and it worked!  But it meant that he missed today’s Swahili lesson because he didn’t want to stop what he was working on.  Today’s construction at the Bible College consisted of plastering the secretarial office that is being built just inside the door of the administrative offices.  No work on the staff offices today!

We came home from lunch to find that Andrea, our hostess, had returned from her travels.  It is really nice to have her here.

We are off to a Cathedral parishioner’s home for dinner tonight and the driver is waiting, so I’ll end here.

Tommorrow starts at 7:30 in Marusi for the last Friday of the month eucharist.