With us succumbing to the effects of wobbly tums and general exhaustion from all the travelling, it has been a welcome rest this weekend. It was, however, punctuated by two notable events: seeing the sunset on the shores of Lake Victoria and the wonderfully colourful service at Musoma Cathedral yesterday.
Watching the sun go down, the team could scarcely believe this was Africa. A world away from our normal routine. Conversation was rich with reflection on the events of the week and with ideas to strengthen our links.
We were truly rewarded with the most beautiful African sunset.
What if church services were four hours long in Leeds diocese? Sunday lunch would be spoilt, that's for sure!
But that was what the team experienced yesterday. All dressed in new African outfits, we added to the rainbow of colourful clothes worn by everyone. Seven choirs sang and danced, including the Mother's Union. Nine collections were taken. We were asked to introduce ourselves, which we did in our now well practiced Swahili. This was followed by a rendition of our signature song written by The Rev Stephen Rochell - 'Asante kwa kutukaribisha'. The response was overwhelming as the congregation showed appreciation for our efforts.
Our very own Canon Maggie McLean shared an excellent message about God meeting us where we are and using what we have to offer, from the Parable of the Sower. With an introduction in fluent Swahili, and the remainder translated everyone was blessed and impressed with Maggie's preaching. A retired Tanzanian bishop made a point of thanking us for making the effort to learn some of his language and for making the trip to visit his country. It was very moving.
As is Arthur's way, he asked Diane to 'say a few words about why you are here.' Although unplanned and impromptu, it was an opportunity to talk again about our long standing partnership with Tanzania and about the schools' links. Diane explained that what we have learned will be taken back to share with our schools and churches in Leeds Diocese.
There was even a birthday celebration for all born in February...Diane enjoyed the cake and narrowly avoided setting her hair on fire with the Roman candle on top of it as it was passed around those celebrating/commiserating a birthday this month.
A wonderful morning which set us up for our adventures ahead this week.