‘Karibu’ is Swahili for ‘welcome’ and I was certainly made to feel incredibly welcomed in Tanzania. I was out there as part of a team delivering training to local church leaders on a course called Rooted in Jesus. (http://www.rootedinjesus.net/)
It was a challenging experience. The scenery was green, the roads were bumpy, the plumbing was ‘interesting’ but the people were just lovely.
I learnt (eventuallly) how to say ‘Habari’? ‘How are you? ( I got it terribly confused with ‘Haribo’ for the first few days!) to which the correct response is ‘Nzuri’ . Also ‘Asante’ and ‘ Asante Sana’ (do you remember Rafiki in the The Lion King? He sings ‘Asante Sana, squashed banana…’) which means ‘thank you or ‘thank you, very much’. Every conversation started with ‘Praise the Lord’ something like ‘Bwana Asifewe’ but the spelling may not be correct and I learn that Father God is ‘Papa Mungu’ and the Holy Spirit is something completely unspellable but what matters is that He was there. We worshipped the same God, felt the same presence, experienced the same power and delighted to see how God changes lives over there in ways that are amazingly similar to the way he changes lives here. Except perhaps that the Tanzania Christians seem more grateful, ironic given how much western Christians have to be grateful for: clean tap water, readily available dental care, easy access to resources. (All things I have expressly thanked God for since my return!)
On my way through to Tanzania I stayed one night in guest house in Nairobi and while in Tanzania I was put up in a little guest house. Both places were scrupulously clean and staffed by very considerate and pleasant people. The nights were noisy: insects, frogs, rain (torrential), thunder and lightning, dogs howling, then a muslim call to prayer just before the dawn chorus began but amazingly, I slept like a top! Even all the way through one thunderstorm with continuous thunder and lightning.
Thank you to the team, it was great to work with you. Thank you to all the Tanzanians who made us so welcome and thank you to my home team and family for releasing me to go.