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

Thursday, 6 November 2014

What's a Party without Cake?!

The best bit was the cake! And it is always such a good laugh celebrating with cake here in Tanzania. The tradition at any party (wedding, birthday, graduation, farewell) is for the person (or couple) of honour to cut the cake into small pieces and then the feed the guests using toothpicks. The bigger the piece, the bigger the laugh! As you can imagine, this can take a while, but here, with no shortage of time there is plenty of time for everyone! I love this about Tanzania!
Cutting the Cake!

Two weeks ago we joined Joel (the eldest son of the family that lives with us here on the property) for his graduation from secondary school. The presentation of awards and certificates was outside ... and yes, it was pretty hot! But (thankfully) we arrived Tanzanian late and so we were in time to see Joel get his certificate, but too late to see the hundreds of other students! We felt very honoured to be included with the family at their celebration meal afterwards. We had driven a full vehicle of food (as well as family members) to the school and all was unloaded. Families settled in clusters on the school grounds to share their meals together. So in amongst all the chains of silk flowers, paparazzi and posers, there were bundled woven mats and hot pots (of food) in transit all over the place!
The graduation and awards ceremony outside

Joel receives his certificate, adorned with the festive flowers.
Tucking in!
What sadly surprised us near the end of our meal, was the arrival of many children from the village near the school. Seeing clusters of families scattered about the school property feasting on meat and rice, I guess they couldn't resist the temptation. At first they hung back, but crept gradually closer. Eventually our family circle was completely surrounded by staring children. I wanted to give one child my plate, but thought that would result in a riot. Later, I saw one of the family members give her finished plate a scraping behind her and the children there dove in and wiped it clean with their dirty fingers. Amisadai decided to the same with the leftovers on her plate, but in the ensuing scrum as the small children pushed and shoved and dirty hands grabbed, the whole plate ended up in the dirt. They dove into the dirt, shovelling scraps into their mouths. A tiny girl was going around picking up things like empty water bottles as well as bits of food on the ground. Later as plates were being stacked and food cleared away, one little boy ran into the centre of the family circle to grab a cardboard box that food scraps had been scraped into. As he made a dash out, the bottom fell out of the box, scattering scraps in the dirt. Children rushed in again to scrape the food off the ground. It was a sadly chaotic end to a wonderful celebration.
Rushing, snatching, grabbing
Going back to cakes, I was just SO thankful we managed to have them ready on the day! We have had terrible (very frustrating!) power cuts recently. And the day before the gradation was the only day in about a week that we actually had power. A friend of ours needed some help the other day as the meat in his freezer had defrosted and he needed some help eating it all. We were, of course, more than happy to help out! And I have been making good use of the pot I used to use in the village to cook meals and breads on the jiko. Lucy thinks it is amazing too, and I wonder if we can get a local guy to copy the design. Could be income-generating ... ??

Anyway, back to the cakes ... I was amazed and incredibly thankful for that day of electricity! With Lucy learning how, we rushed to make the cakes before the power cut off (we have had enough unfinished bread loaves and banana cakes still doughy in the middle to give good incentive here!). So they were baked and iced in time for the party which was good because, as I said, what's a party without cake?!

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