Sunday 5 Dec. Celebrating Tanzanian style!

With an early start we walked to the daladala and farewelled each other. Anna and Subina headed off to Dar on their journey to Bagamoyo and I headed in the opposite direction not really knowing where I was going or what was going to unfold for me! I had agreed to attend Felister’s church. Having witnessed her passionate devotion and experienced the pleasure of her beautiful gospel voice, I was looking forward to sharing the service and meeting her congregation.
Thinking that I was going to a 1 ½ hour service, I found myself involved in a whole day’s celebration...
(so often I don’t quite get the whole picture when I am organising things with Tanzanians... regardless of the level of their command of English!!!)  
.... 3 hours of service followed by 5+ hours of song and dance: A celebration of their Pastor graduation from his studies. Felister had said that she was VERY HAPPY to have me come to I understand why!!

During the afternoon celebration I had given my camera to Felister as she was keen to learn how to use it. Between singing and dancing, she aptly captured the day’s events as they unfolded. I was made to feel like royalty as they warmly welcomed the mzungu from Australia. Fortunately I understood those 3 words! Without Felister beside me to prompt me, I nearly missed the fact that I had to stand up and accept their welcome by thanking them. I was very proud of myself as I successfully stumbled through this in my limited Kiswahili! The whole congregation was focused on me with their friendly eyes and welcoming smiles. I felt so comfortable and at ease, their warmth was overwhelming. Everyone wanted to meet me and welcome me.
The entire celebration was in song and dance with all age groups praising their leader. Gifts were given/intense serious moments encountered/prayers,dancing and more songs were offered and much passion and energy expended in the heat of the day, and pleasure gained.

I didn’t understand many of the words but their meaning were clear. I was happy that song and dance was a universal language.
Unfortunately I had to leave before the day of celebration ended as Elisabet was coming to stay on her way from Zanzibar to Dodoma. I dragged myself away, Felister saying “No Madam Fran, stay for food....”  If only I could have legs were nearly falling off from hunger as I had only had a light breakfast of fruit salad! I knew the best part of the day was yet to come as the women had been cooking all day in preparation for the inevitable feast!

I knew I was probably going to miss a very special part of this Tanzanian celebration however I had little choice. Maybe another day!
 l left knowing that I had been so blessed to have shared this day!

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