As our time in Mmazame is drawing to a close, we shared reflections on the experience.
Yesterday was sobering for Ian and me. The day started well with morning prayers at Musoma Cathedral. The diocesan staff pray together every morning and always pray for the Diocese of Leeds.
Life here is simple (though not easy) and small things are precious. Yesterday, I sat amongst children and chickens, learning to make decorative flowers out of scraps of material and bottle tops, using the strands of a yellow plastic sack for thread. Meanwhile nearby, Prisca is stripping green bananas off a big bunch to make our lunch of bananas stewed in tomato sauce. It was delicious.
St Mary’s, Mmazame has a small-holding which raises money both for church funds and to give the vicar some income. We wanted to see it, so nine of us crammed into the Land-cruiser to head up to the farm.
But first we had to stop off to buy a duck!
Most people know that African services are long. And all the more so if the service happens to combine some special guests (us!) and a confirmation service with the Bishop of Mara, the Right Reverend George Okoth. But we were looking forward to seeing our link church in action.
Well, we went to the wedding reception, as I mentioned in my last blog, and it was a-mazing! There were at least 600 people there, the room was lavishly dressed and the music was VERY loud.
Well, the ladies promised that they’d make me an African dress, and they were as good as their word. I suggested that if they could make it today, I would wear it to church tomorrow- I will certainly feel better turning up in a nice dress rather than the scruffy trousers and t-shirt which is all I’ve brought with me.
Today started with a meeting with the Bishop of Mara, Bishop George Okoth, who greeted us warmly and was very well briefed on both the challenges and the successes of Mmazame parish. That was quite impressive, as he has 82 parishes to think about in his diocese. The Bishop prayed with and for us, which we very much appreciated.
Reflecting over dinner on our first few days in Mmazame, it became clear that it’s the women of the community who keep things going here.
Today was our first full day working in the village. While Keith, Daren, Ken and Ian got stuck into the building projects, I sat with a group of ladies from the church and learned about their lives, their hopes and their dreams.