Here we sit…..

…a little bit like bumps on a log waiting to leave.  We spent some of our day packing and repacking the stuff that absolutely needs to go home.  Ceramic pots from the Matema Beach village were stuffed with dirty clothes and cushioned by more so that they will make it through the crazy airport handling.  T-shirts for the kids were rolled up and used as filler.  A creative way was found to stuff a banana leaf mat AND four very special baskets into one suitcase.  A list was made to make sure we did not forget anyone.  And certain items were discarded or put in the pile to be given away, like sore throat lozenges and neosporin ointment to the dispensary at SHUCo.  We are ready to go home.

While we were packing today, Ruanda parish had the funeral for the retired secretary of the Konde Diocese.  It was an enormous funeral and it seemed that only about two thirds of the people who wanted to attend fit into the sanctuary.  No one left the premises though.  Those unable to get in just found a place to sit outside and chat while the service was going on indoors.  The church bell rang 3 times every two minutes or so and I do not know what that is about but I will ask Kumbuka this evening when he gets back.  What made the funeral uniquely Tanzanian, I think, was that there was a special truck leading the procession.  Trucks like today’s are  this country’s version of a public announcement system.  They broadcast (blare) music and news and special events as they slowly move through the neighborhoods.  And even though I do not understand Swahili, I gathered that the announcer of this truck paid a tribute to the deceased.  Every once in a while the words would stop and Christian music would start to play.  I did recognize “How great thou art,” even though the rhythm of the piece(very Germanic-African) made me smile.

Now it is five in the afternoon and the church choirs of Ruanda parish are gathering for practice.  One is in the fellowship hall next to us, one is in the sanctuary and I believe that there is a third one in the courtyard of the pastor’s house.  Music everywhere!  But today, the music I most want to hear is the sound of jet engines carrying us home after a long journey.


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