After three flights, two long airport layovers and a four hour drive (during which we got our first glimpse of Lake Victoria and the entrance to the Serengeti), we finally arrived at our destination. Before making camp in our hotel in Musoma, we “popped in” on our link parish of Mmazame so that the men could measure up for their building project.
To say we received a warm welcome would be an understatement. Keith, who is our link officer and who has visited many times over the last ten years, is clearly a hero in this community and everyone threw their arms around him in delight. But the rest of us, first-time visitors, were also greeted with big smiles, handshakes and hugs.
While the men were busy, I watched the young people of the church choir rehearsing (I assume for next Sunday’s service). Voices like angels and some nifty dance steps too. I have a piece of video, but the slow internet speeds here mean I can’t post it.
Over dinner, we talked about first impressions. For those of us who have never been to Africa before, it was a mix of “what I expected” and “not quite as I imagined”. We’d all seen lots of photographs of the church and associated community buildings in Mmazame but somehow the reality is different, and speaks of more challenges to life and existence here. Daren described it as “overwhelming, exciting and daunting all at once.”
The next ten days or so are going to be an experience for all of us.