PREFACE: A late addition for Monday. On Monday evening, the team was hosted for a light dinner st the home of Mama Monguri (“mama” is a term of respect for an elder woman). She is the leader of the Masamaria (Samaritan) group at Mikanjuni Lutheran Parish, a group for widows that prepared nearly every meal for the travelers while in Tanga. The group arranged the driveway to resemble an outdoor bistro. After dinner under a star-filled sky, the group presented a gift of handkerchiefs to us marked with a logo representing the partnership of Saint Luke and Mikanjuni. They also sang “What a Friend we Have in Jesus” in Swahili.
On Tuesday, the travelers were hosted by Mr. Julius Shoo who visited Saint Luke in 2015. He gave us a tour of his agriculture business, including a stop at his 40-acre dairy farm, the milk collection site of the co-op he is trying to grow, the Tanga Fresh processing plant that he sells milk to, his office and shop in the city, and his home and adjacent small farm.
He is working to train and equip small farmers to adopt more effective and sustainable practices to help grow the local dairy industry and the regional economy. At his home, he is experimenting with new practices that he can pass along to other farmers. His farm manager is preparing to attend an agricultural training program, which has been made possible by a scholarship from The African Education Program gifted by a member of Saint Luke.
After lunch, the travelers spent the late afternoon experiencing the markets in Tanga, which was a very different experience than American shopping.
The team met for dinner and our final meeting with the Mikanjuni Lutheran Parish partnership committee. We were brought to a table on a patio overlooking the water off of the Indian Ocean. We arrived just as the sunset ended; it was a truly stunning setting. After a relaxed dinner, our hosts presented each travelled with colorful African fabric: wraps for the women and cloth for the men to have shirts made from. We presented gifts from Saint Luke to our hosts (along with suitcases full of soccer balls and supplies for the nursery school that we dropped off at the church earlier in the day). We stood in a circle holding hands and sharing words of gratitude and reflection on the visit. There were many smiles and several tears as we shared words of farewell to everyone except for Pastor Ngoda who will accompany us to Lushoto and our faithful and long-suffering driver, Charlie.
As I prayed with our partners from Mikanjuni Lutheran Parish, it was clear that God has many good things in store for our shared future. Bwana Asifiwe! (Praise the Lord!) Amen!
Tomorrow we depart for Lushoto (4 hour drive), where we will spend a few days visiting ministries of the North Eastern Diocese of the ELCT.