Tanzania, Africa travel journal – day 8

The fish Jackie ate seemed to make her sick when she woke up. I woke at 6:30, grabbed a shower and some breakfast and then listened to some of the audio that I had recorded so far on the trip. We packed up, loaded
on the bus and headed to Moshi. We stopped on the way at a school run by the Lutheran church for disabled kids ages 10-14. We saw where they make textiles and ceramic bead jewelry. The kids themselves were on holiday. We had great fun shopping in the store, which had the most reasonable prices we had seen so far.
We made a quick detour to the airport but failed to find RickÂ’s missing piece of luggage. Our hope is that on the trip home we might be able to track it down when we get someplace that can scan his luggage tag.
Whatever expectations we had of the kind of welcome we would get in Moshi left us greatly unprepared for the warmth of the welcome we received. We met Pastor Godbless at a predetermined location in Moshi. The plan was to meet him and then he would show us the way to the church.
Instead of just meeting him he was accompanied by a group of women and children (in their smart looking school uniforms). The children greeted us with a song and with flower leis for each of us. The women hugged us and emitted a high pitched warbling sound for which I fail to find an adequate description. We found out they had been waiting for us since 10:30 and it was nearly noon.

We followed the van up to the church where we were greeted by more than one hundred additional singing children, church elders and members. We were presented with roses and yet more hugs. The children sang another song before we unpacked the bus. We were then treated to local juice. One of the juices was made from a relative of the hibiscus and tasted somewhat like cranberry juice. It has a lot of iron and is helpful to those who are HIV positive so it is now being grown at the church.
We were handed a schedule that went one day longer than we were planning so we made calls through Thomas from JM Tours to the hotel in Arusha and to the seminary that we would be delayed.
We all filed into the church with the wazungu at the front pew, and the elders and children behind. Pastor Godbless offered some more words of welcome and then it was left to us to introduce ourselves. I managed a little over half of my introduction in Swahili without quite tripping over myself. The elders and other church members were introduced and then the kids sang another song. To close, one of the kids, an adorable small 12 year old boy came up and closed us in prayer (in Swahili).

Whatever mental picture I had of the church was immediately dispelled. It is a large, newer building (but not fancy) with pews and an electric sound system. The band was mostly brass with a drummer: trumpet and a couple of trombones.
We explored the new parsonage which is being built. It is a good sized house and will house Pastor Godbless, his wife Grace, his kids Gracious (4) and Precious (<1) as well as the 3 girls they have taken in to live with them. It will also have room for guests we were told.
We were then treated to lunch in the church office building which also has a small dining room. The food was plentiful and good and the people increasingly wonderful and gracious.
After lunch we walked a very short way up the road to Mr MateoÂ’s house where we will stay. It is actually two houses, his and his brotherÂ’s in a compound. Traditionally the elder brother moves out and the youngest brother cares for the parents and then inherits their house. Mr MateoÂ’s late father did not want the brothers to drift apart so he asked him to build on the same land. The women will stay in the house of his brother and mother and the men in his house.
We had a short rest time before we took off to explore the village. We walked down to where you can see the sister church. This church has grown too large so they are splitting into two parts. We are staying on
Kilamenjaro so the walk down to the church was downhill, with the resulting return trip being more of a work out.
I spent much of the time talking to Paul and his son Charles. Paul is the chairman of the village and runs a curio shop. He has some computer issues I may take a look at if we can figure where it fits in the schedule. His English is excellent as is that of Charles who is the oldest of his 7 children: Charles, Nsiena (‘beautiful” in Kichago), Anna, Kristina, something Solomon and Daniel. They range from 25 to 5. Charles is studying to be a tour guide and is learning Spanish which would be his 4th language. All the people we met are so easy to like. Many speak excellent English although they are amused by my attempts to use Swahili.

They are good natured and laugh readily. How can they have gone through so much and maintain that? Paul told me that a few years ago when people were diagnosed with HIV they would often kill themselves but now there is more hope and they can often live 10 years.
One of the elders is an accountant in his sisterÂ’s pharmacy, another is a retired national park ranger. We returned to tea in the yard. When it started to get cold (by their standards, not mine) they brought two brasiers with a burning charcoal fire (charcoal is made locally). We spent the time telling stories and learning more about each other. I donÂ’t know when I have had a more pleasant time. We broke out pictures of family (mine on the iPod). Lois and Susan met a few of the kids including our young friend who led us in prayer who is a bright and charismatic young man. He tried teaching them swahili words like tree (mti), trees (miti), and flower. Paul told me this smiling boyÂ’s father, mother and elder sister have already died from AIDS and this boy is infected.
Dinner was another wonderful meal at which we were rejoined by Jackie now feeling much better after a nap in the afternoon. Yet more conversation. We talked about how far people move around and how that hurts the extended family in the U.S. I was asked more about the red Indian and how they live in the U.S. Shareen brought postcards (smart) of San Jose and San Francisco. I had to break out the iPod again to show a picture of Joan standing by a cable to show then how large it is.

Author: chris2x

One man's view of life in Silicon Valley from Chris Christensen - a podcaster, blogger, programmer, entrepreneur


  1. mr. chris-
    i just read your blog about going to kikarara parish. I went there the summer of 2003. i know all the people you speak of!! i have been to paul’s shop, and we helped build the new parsonage, from the very foundations! the little boy you speak of is his name william? he was one of my favorites, as was baby gracious(gracia) pastor’s daughter. it brings me joy to hear of them, but your pictures dont show up. would you mind emailing me the pictures of tanzania that I cant see here? i would love to have newer pictures, as you can imagine, it is very hard to stay in touch with them!! thanks in advance if you can, and Godbless, Bwana Yesu Asifwe!!

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