Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Return from Handeni

Our trip to Handeni this past weekend was wonderful.  (see The Trip to Handeni)
I thought because of the length of the story, it would be better to break it into two parts.

We said good-bye to the members of Sindeni sub-parish and promised to try to visit again.  Pastor Shemkala’s responsibilities at Handeni include 38 sub-parishes.  These are smaller groups of Lutherans who gather together under the guidance of a pastor, a deacon, and several evangelists.  Each evangelist is responsible for an area of the parish.  More than one of the evangelists are fluent in Kimaasai and one is a Maasai himself.  (About 80% of the members of the parish are Maasai). The evangelists attend Bible College for training and can be male or female.  They lead worship, but cannot preside at a service of Holy Communion.  With 38 sub-parishes and having been at Handeni a little over one year, Pastor has visited each place at least once.  It means a lot of time on the road for him.  Sometimes, members of the sub-parishes will travel to Handeni Church for worship.

William found the way back through the bush to the main road.  We then traveled on until we reached Korogwe.  We stopped at the White Parrot Hotel to use the facilities and have a soda.  Then we continued on.

There is a junction in Korogwe where a dirt road heads up into the mountains.  This road ends at Lutindi Mental Hospital, another Lutheran institution, located at one of the highest altitudes in the diocese.  We turned onto this road in order to stop and visit the home of Pastor Shemkala’s brother.  The scenery was beautiful as we traveled up into the mountains.  We passed some very small villages and could hear music in each as we drove by.  When we reached his brother’s village, several houses were decorated and people were having parties.  Sunday the 20th was the celebration of confirmation in this parish. 

William parked the car and we walked the rest of the way up to the house, which had a large canopy outside and music playing.  Pastor’s niece was one of those confirmed.  There were many guests and an MC for announcements and music. 

 Confirmation is a very big here.  The students go to class several times per week for two years.  It is a coming of age and therefore the cause for a big celebration. 

Pastor's niece on left
Grandparents of the confirmand

We had the opportunity to meet Pastor’s parents and many of his brothers and sisters.  Pastor Shemkala has seven brothers and two sisters.  His parents are in their 80’s and still work their own shamba (vegetable garden) using jembes (hoes) to dig.  One of Pastor’s sisters told us that she was on the staff of Irente Children’s Home from 1969 until 1972.  She is next to Tom in this picture.  Pastor’s mother is in the front in yellow and his father is the third from the left. 

Some of the Shemkala Family

We enjoyed a wonderful buffet lunch with beef, chicken, rice, vegetables and salad.  After our meal, we needed to start for Lushoto.  If at all possible, it is better to be at your destination before dark.  Many of the roads here are rough and there are no streetlights or guard rails.  We were sorry that we were not able to stay longer at the party.

As we walked down to the car, we saw a boy walking with a goat dressed in a kanga.  Tom asked if he could take a photo and the boy said yes.  After the picture was taken, the boy asked for money.  Apparently this young entrepreneur was visiting the homes with parties in order to earn some money. 

We drove back to Irente in plenty of time for Pastor, William, and Isaya to reach Mlalo before dark.  We had a wonderful time and hope to return again.

On the road toward Lutindi

1 comment:

  1. Catching up with your blog. It was great to read this report on your trip with the students!