Monday, 19 May 2008

Celebrities at last!

On Sunday, Beth and I went to speak at a church an hour’s drive from Mbeya. We received a very warm welcome, but felt more like celebrities than a couple of young people coming to offer a little teaching! We headed up a procession from the pastor’s house to the church, and a photographer was invited to take photos of us with the many people who requested them! The whole day was certainly an experience, but we were encouraged that people listenned well and appreciated the resources we had produced. Their choirs were fantastic, and we had a great time dancing along with them.

Mbeya Peak

We made it! All the way to the top of Mbeya Peak’s 2834 metres (9297 feet). Actually we only had about 1200 metres of ascent to do, as we are already living pretty high up here in Mbeya! It was a great walk (despite having to get up before 6am to get an early start). The views were awesome and the flowers were beautiful. Unfortunately the top was in cloud (and very cold), but it cleared long enough for us take in the landscape spread out below us.
My legs didn’t enjoy coming down so much, but all ten of us (mostly work friends) made it safely back to our starting point, and very ready to get home and put our feet up (though, in my usual way I didn’t bother doing that, but started on the housework as soon as I got home instead!)

Views out over the surrounding landscape as we climbed

Mbeya Peak

The intrepid walkers... and some beautiful flowers!

Monday, 12 May 2008

Umoja wa Wakristo

‘Unity of Christians’ – that’s how I spent my afternoon on Pentecost Sunday, at a meeting for Christians of all denominations, held in the stadium in Mbeya.

It wouldn’t be my preferred way to spend a Sunday afternoon considering the fact that it started an hour late, it was cold, it rained and I didn’t understand half of what was said.

However, on the bright side, it was great to see Christians of so many denominations gathered together (maybe around 600 people in all), praising God together through song and dance…

…and to see the leaders of these different denominations co-operating together to lead the meeting. Also, if I hadn’t been too cold too concentrate by that point, I’m sure they were great prayers that were said by various people on behalf of the nation and issues that it faces. Finally, just before the end, we got our chance…

…we (several of us from our project) were namely attending as we had been given a chance to say a few words about our work. At long last we headed home, about 6pm (having been there since 2pm), whence I hurriedly put on warm clothes, heated up a hot dinner, wrapped myself in a blanket and endeavoured to get warm again!

Monday, 5 May 2008

A walk in Mshewe

Mshewe is a village about an hour out of town, where some friends from work live. Several of us headed on over in the faithful project Land Rover for an afternoon walk, with beautiful views out to the hills and across the Rift Valley, with fields full of beans just beginning to grow, sunflowers standing tall and coffee plants with the beans just beginning to turn red, ready for picking.

At the market

Here are some photos a friend took of a typical market scene in the small town of Njombe. They give a lovely flavour of the colour and life of African markets. Can you work out what everything is on the market stall? The things in the lilac bowl are tiny little fish called dagaa – they stink! People eat them, but more commonly they seem to be used for dog food!