Monday, January 6, 2020

Day 4: A visit to the Iringa Diocese office then on the road to Lukani village

We started off the morning to the song "22" by Taylor Swift in order to celebrate Will’s birthday. After eating, we headed to the Iringa Diocese office in order to learn more about what they do and their connection to St. Paul Partners and the water projects in nearby villages. We were warmly greeted with Swahili and English, accompanied by enthusiastic smiles.

We left around 10:30 a.m. for our two-hour bus ride to Lukani village, the site of a past water project that was implemented. After a day without riding the bus, it’s safe to say that we were all anxious to spend more time in our 26 passenger van. Twalib, our driver, and Peter and Onno, individuals who work with St. Paul partners, accompanied us on our ride. We passed the time with lessons in using our GPS and looking out the window at the busy streets nestled into the mountains around us. As we got closer to our destination, busy and paved streets were replaced with dirt roads, scattered houses, and agricultural fields.

Shortly after passing a sign welcoming us to Lukani, we were greeted by the teachers and students of the secondary school. Vail managed to snag a ride on the back of a motorcycle (much to the chagrin of the other students) along with Paul and Matt, while the rest of us watched from the bus. We couldn’t help but notice the whiteness of Paul’s knuckles as he held on for dear life and the natural swagger with which Matt took to the biker life.

Next, we were serenaded by the students from the primary school with a heart-warming song of thanks in Swahili. The greetings continued as a group of individuals from the village joined us singing, dancing, and waving branches. Together we danced into the church amidst a cloud of waving colors and beaming smiles. Will quickly found a rafiki (friend), holding her hand all the way to the church. We all attempted to dance to the rhythm of the Tanzanian music playing from the church, some excelling better than others, especially Paul who broke out some wildly enthusiastic moves.

In the church we were introduced to members of the community. We followed by introducing each of ourselves in clumsy Swahili, except for Vail and Sam who decided to add a little spunk to their introductions. After, we returned to the priest’s house for a meal of spaghetti, doughnuts, and watermelon.

We then set out on a hike to the borehole, the storage tanks, and the distribution points. This allowed us to see the final outcome of a project similar to that which we will be completing in other villages later this week. Individuals from the village joined us and shared the details of their system. The hike provided a beautiful view of the village which sprawled through the lush mountain region. Red brick houses were scattered throughout the community along with plots of land.

After the tour of the system, we returned to the pastors house for another meal. In awe of the incredible hospitality of our hosts, we made our way back to the Lutheran Center. Friends were made, Pepto Bismol and sunscreen were shared, and we left with some of the best memories from the trip thus far.

We finished off an exhausting day sharing pizzas and bottles of wine at Mama Iringa’s!

Peter D.