We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Weight in Gold

While the world was watching how fast people can swim, run or cycle, we were in a village that has no idea about Olympic racing and competing.  The thought of a deep pool of clear, clean water to jump into seems incredible when just a glass would be nice. And the thought of lifting 140kg of metal just for the sake of it seems bizarre when there are loads of 60kg sacks of rice to be lifted because you have to.  Cycling fast on smooth tracks in sleek outfits with shiny helmets also is hard to imagine when here to have a bicycle is a luxury, even more so if it has pedals. The rush of speed is unfathomable in the slow pace of life and a weight of gold to hang round your neck doesn't compare to a small coin wrapped in the knot of a woman's skirt.
Needless to say, we felt a world away from the Olympics! But we had such a special time as we finished our work in Magozi and stayed in our Magozi house for the last time. We arrived on Thursday, cake in hand, expecting the group ready for our final meeting as we “handed over” the project. But there was no chai boiling. There was no group there! We are fairly sure that no one had taken us seriously when we said this was the end of our work with the project! But I soon had water boiling on our jiko and with chai almost ready, people from the group began to appear… and then disappear only to return a while later with their Jiko shirt on! We all squashed into our little house, and as we shared our thanks and encouragement with them, and my tears began to fall, they realised this was really it!
 
Our last Ebenezer Jiko Magozi meeting

On Friday, we went to Kimande, the village where we will be starting the next project in January, with a few of the group members. We thought we were meeting with the leaders of the Pentecostal and Anglican churches to discuss the project, but the Pentecostals weren’t there and the Anglicans thought we were doing a seminar on fuel-efficient stoves and making cakes and bread! We thought we were starting at 9:30am, and sat and waited but when nothing was happening at 12:30pm, we thought we might just go home, but in the end we started an impromptu “seminar” on the stove at 1pm! I had made rolls on the jiko earlier and eating them for “chai” pacified the desire for bread lessons! We were home for a late lunch that day! But the Kimande pastor had found a house for us and we were able to take a look and now begin to get excited about the next step.

Back in Magozi, there were lots of goodbyes. We seem to have a lot of these which is never a fun thing, but always good evidence of love! We have felt so loved these past few days, as people took us into their homes and shared food with us and even bought us sodas. This may seems such a small and insignificant gift but you have to see their cost to realise how much it means. We felt loved, and couldn’t possibly refuse, but there is also a limit to how many sodas you can drink in an afternoon – and after three on Saturday, I was bubbled up and ready to pop!
 
Goodbyes!

Sunday was an emotional day with a lovely send-off! The Wingfield family and also local government officials came for the church service.  EI and ourselves were thanked for the work we have started and the group was encouraged in its work with the stoves and the church in its work as salt and light in the community. We were then overwhelmed with gifts of rice, handcrafted brooms, money, mats, wooden spoons, and khangas (Tanzanian material) with which Kalista (a lovely friend) is sewing the girls dresses! I don’t know what the cultural norm is in these situations, but I cried through it all, and there wasn’t much I could do about it! We all managed words of thanks and farewell and Tim encouraged the group that this was not the end but just the beginning. The stoves group had prepared a send-off lunch to follow and yet again, we just so appreciated all the friends and wonderful people we have met in this place.  
 
Receiving a huge gift of rice from the Stoves Group
 
Receiving the love and gifts from the church

On the last night as I killed our last scorpion under Amisadai's bed and the last cockroach in the outhouse, I appreciated how much we have learned and how much we have grown to love this place! Not so much the cockroaches and scorpions, but the love and community we have found there. People worth their weight in gold.  

2 comments:

  1. Wow! What can we say. You all get the gold medal. What an incredible thing has been achieved by you all as you have demonstrated the love of Jesus to these lovely people. They in turn have taken you to their hearts showing that as we incarnate the gospel people are truly won over. The relationships you have built will last and there will be lots of fruit in the years to come. Now you will be able to enjoy your break knowing that a good job has been successfully completed. Edwin & Margaret

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  2. Brilliant! I have loved reading all about your experiences along with Amisadai and Louisa... May the Lord continue to be with you in this new village... Shobha (from Mumbai)

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