Thursday, October 25, 2007

Painted Funeral

Last night, we learned, an elderly man in the village died. Harran left before lunch to help dig the grave in the graveyard nearly. The man was seventy-eight. We would have liked to observe the funeral today but felt it better to stay away. This sad news did not stay the African sky. After a clear moonlit night, the morning broke with warm sunshine. To the east great billows of clouds rose into the sky. The bottoms were feint at the horizon then blossomed into solid puffs of white, all against a light blue sky. This was an Ipalamwa moment—a moment to share here and at home. Yes. Africa—Tanzania—is that serene. There is time here to sit, observe and look into yourself—if you only take the time.
In the afternoon, Eloise, Roger and Bill go to paint Mr. Mheni’s office. They work with two Form 3 students, Jeffery and Yusophu. Jeffery and Yusophu have been on other work crews with Bill and Roger. Not much is said, but there is a sense of brotherhood from the work together. Whether the work is good or bad, necessary or convenient, it is the work that has been requested. Does it directly benefit the students? Probably not, but we did not come here to judge decisions, seven if the decisions seem self-motivated. This is all learning about Tanzania; learning about a private Lutheran School, isolated from any social services, and free to adopt its own code and rules, its own social structure, its own decisions about use of available resources.
Apart from the death and the afternoon funeral, a catholic funeral that ran longer than Harran expected, it was a quiet day until five o’clock when Bill found Roger in acute pain and barely able to talk. As the pain loosened its grip, Bill and Harran persuaded Roger to go to Iringa tonight. Mohammed tells Bill he is ready to drive as soon as we decide what is best for Roger. Roger is reluctant to go, but as the pain continues, he agrees he should go. We will miss Roger and pray for his safety and recovery. We should end this day here, on a prayer and a moment of quiet reflection. We will carry on, more mindful than ever of the precarious life in Ipalamwa, the faith of people who are so far removed from the support systems we take for granted.

Thought For The Day:

“Serving others is reward enough”.


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