We arrived in Irente yesterday afternoon at about 3pm. Our little house is very nice. We have two bedrooms, a sitting room, bathroom, and kitchen. The garden out front is very beautiful, with cala lillies and other flowers and plants I do not know. Out back there is a vegetable garden with cabbages, corn, beans, bananas and my favorite vegetable name, pilipili hoho which is green peppers. We are on a mountain and had forgotten how far up we drove last time. It is so beautiful here. We will be traveling to Tanga one day this week to buy some things for the house that we need and hope to stop at Kana Lutheran Parish when there. People here couldn't be more kind or gracious to us. They brought us our dinner last night and breakfast this morning.
Yesterday afternoon we visited the Childrens' Home before we unpacked and met some of the young women we will be teaching along with some really beautiful children. There is one girl who is 5 or 6 years old, but all of the rest are under 3. There are also three infants, but we did not see them. When Tom introduced himself to the girls they all giggled. “Jina langu ni Tom”. In Kiswahili, the word tamu means sweet.
We were especially glad to see Hawa again. Many of you have heard of Hawa, who has lived at the home since she was a baby. She is now 38 years old. In spite of her limitations she meets and greets everyone. She loves to hold hands and is happy to hold and feed babies.
This morning we were picked up by Godfrey the driver and taken to Cathedral Church for the late service. The first Sunday of Advent is a time when they celebrate the women of the church. The women’s choir processed in carrying a palm frond and branch of bouganvilla. They were all wearing white blouses and beautiful blue kangas patterned with the Luther Seal with the words “Wanawake ELCT” and “Women of ELCT” on them. While we did not understand the words of the hymn, we did recognize “Hosanna”. The music between the verses was Lift High the Cross. There were two other choirs and each choir sang two or three anthems. The movements that they do throughout each one would certainly be an aerobic workout for most of us.
We recognized the cadence of the Apostle’s Creed and also Bwana Yetu...The Lord’s Prayer. The gospel may have been Jesus blessing the children, because we heard the words “watoto and mtoto”, children and child. While the sermon, prayers, and announcements went right over our heads, the sound of the hymns and choir anthems filled our hearts with the love for Mungu, God.
This week we will go to the diocese office for orientation. We will also meet with the director the home to find out what she has planned for us. We look forward to the challenges ahead.
Susan and Tom