Sunday, August 28, 2011

Journal by: Eric Noyes

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. Henry Ellis

Having finished our first week together and working in and around the community of Pommern, we had our first weekend. Saturday morning after breakfast Carlos, Garza, Ryan and Eitan went with Mohamed and Edward in the Jeep to Iringa for the day to buy more provisions and to do some personal shopping. Mimi and Eric remained at the Mission House to explore some of the area. They visited the Roman Catholic church and met two Italian people from Florence who were part of a service organization from Sicily and staying at the Catholic church for two months. Saturday they were joining many local people boarding the back of a big truck to ride to another village for a wedding. Eric and Mimi continued walking along minor roads and trails, eventually returning to the main road south of the main village and walking back to the Mission House after about three hours. Along the way they met friendly adults, excited children, and a friend from their visit three years ago.

After a quiet afternoon reading and napping, they welcomed the Iringa shoppers back at about 4:30 PM and heard about their trip. Unfortunately the trip included encountering the aftermath of a motorcycle accident in which the rider died, which saddened everyone after their otherwise most excellent Iringa trip. At 5:00 PM Eric and Mimi accompanied Edward to a meeting of the Water Project Task Force at the church. They spoke briefly to thank everyone for their generosity and welcoming spirit, and for their hard work to move the Project towards completion. They gave the Task Force a “Friendship Book” album filled with messages of encouragement from Water Project supporters back home to the teachers, students and community members. The Task Force at this point anticipates the Project will be finished in late November 2011.

On Sunday we all went to the Lutheran church service next to the Mission House. The congregation’s voices were beautiful as they sang several hymns during the service. We were invited up to the front of the church to introduce ourselves and were warmly welcomed as we tried our almost nonexistent Kiswahili knowledge. After lunch we went to a monthly village market where people were buying and selling all sorts of things – clothes, shoes, pots and pans, small useful things, onions, “maandasi” (fried corn flour dumplings, like donuts) and other street food. Before dinner Mimi and Eric joined the regular Trivial Pursuit tournament. Eric and Garza were happy to assist Ryan to increase his losing streak! The day concluded with some good discussion on upcoming assignments for our volunteer work as we prepare for new challenges this week.