Tuesday, August 2, 2011

An Early Morning Walk

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The large hill I climbed in Mwanza.

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Some homes near the top. 

The last morning we were in Mwanza, Tanzania, I decided to go out for an early morning walk before breakfast. I had been looking at the large hills surrounding the city for two weeks, so I thought it would be interesting to get a closer look.  As I began to rise up the slope, the streets went from pavement to dirt and then narrowed to simple footpaths.  There were a great number of children and adults walking down to their schools or jobs.  I saw many women and young children beginning their day's labors among the jumble of mud brick homes perched on the steep hillside:  cooking breakfast, carrying water, doing laundry, sweeping the ground, and visiting with their neighbors.  The African people occupy much of their time and labors outside of the homes.  Some of the paths winding around the homes and large boulders became as rough as trails I've hiked in the Rocky Mountains of North America.

Up near the top I met three friendly young men who were very interested in who I was and what I was doing there.  There was the inevitable "Welcome to Tanzania!" that I heard many times during my stay in Mwanza.  As I was doing my best to communicate with them, a lady pumping water nearby overheard our conversation.  She came over and insisted that I follow her to meet someone.  "Why not", I thought as she picked up her buckets of water to return home, "Let's see what happens".  About five minutes back down the trail, she stopped at a neighbor's house and called out a name.  After introducing me to Tabuli, a pleasant young man about 25 years old, she left to continue her daily work.

Between my limited knowledge of Kiswahili and his even more limited knowledge of English, we managed to have a good visit.  I told him I was visiting his country as a teacher in the Anglican Church.  Oh, how exciting! He too was a Christian --  and a member of the Anglican Church -- and a teacher in his church!  He was the teacher of children in his church.  It was a strange feeling for me to be 10,000 miles away from home standing on a rocky hillside in Africa talking with a stranger, yet experiencing the bond of Christian love.  Tabuli was really no stranger, for Christ had made us to be Brothers.  Our visit was all too brief as we ran out of words we could both understand!  Tabuli promised to pray for me, and I have continued to remember him before our Lord.  I don't expect to see him again in this life, but we shall meet again on the other side of the Veil.

"For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."  (Galatians 3:27-28)

May the peace of Christ be with you,
Nathan Dunlap

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Looking down a steep footpath. 

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Halfway up - a view of the bay. 

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