|Re-enacting the Scene!|
|Under the Mango Tree. The Mongers, I presume.|
Ujiji, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, is a very obviously Muslim village. It has nothing of the beauty of Livingstonia in Malawi, which was our last Livingstonian pilgrimage (a mountainous village where a mission was established which later took a public stand against racial tension in 1959). In Ujiji we see the beginnings of a long slave trade route, a route that goes all the way from Lake Tanganyika to Bagamoyo on the Indian Ocean coast. The route is marked by huge mango trees planted on either side. Captured slaves were taken along this route of mango trees to the coast where they would then be sent by ship to Zanzibar and sold. Slaves in chains, exhausted and starving, walking over 1200km in the searing heat, beaten to move forward or left to die in the sun if they couldn’t.
The steps of David Livingstone and those of the many slaves through the mango trees were retraced in 1993 by Livingstone’s great grandson, Dr. David Livingstone Wilson (age 67)… although instead of a compass, he was guided by three satallites and a GPS.
Sitting under a large, fully grown mango tree, planted from a larger, even older one, reflecting on the links between the slave route and David Livingstone and also the generational links of Livingstones causes one to think about what has changed. Yes, David Livingstone changed the course of history with his passionate and determined efforts to abolish slavery. But yet, even as we look appalled at the atrocities of the past, we still see slavery today. They may not be marked by mango trees, but the routes for trafficking enslaved people are there nonetheless. We don't need to look far.
|Livingstone frees slaves|
Slaves redeemed. The price paid. A good Master. Sitting under the shade of an historic mango tree, looking at the dirt road of mango trees, I know the reality of a world enslaved. But I also know the significance of a tree. A slave route here in Tanzania is marked with mango trees but we have a slave redeemer who marked the way to freedom crucified on a tree.
|In the Mango Tree|