|We saw plenty of casualties of reckless driving along the way.|
One of the really enjoyable aspects of the travel was the wildlife encountered on the way. At home we were accustomed to seeing the occasional deer or raccoon. Here we had to stop to let zebras cross the road, and a variety of other animals as well. We even encountered a sign detailing the fines incurred by running into different animals. Running into an elephant or giraffe will cost you $15,000. However baboon roadkill will only set you back $110.
|The signs are there for a reason.|
The convenience that we missed the most was fast food. Aside from a bag of peanuts from a village street vendor, we pretty much only had the food that we carried with us. There were very few restaurants along the way, but being out of our home turf we had no way to know if they were safe or not. They would almost certainly have been extremely slow anyway.
However, we planned for this situation, and Tiffany packed picnics for us. We stopped at a pretty little spot along the way and prepared for a pleasant meal of peanut butter sandwiches. Little did we know, we had chosen a spot in the middle of a path that the Maasai used for their livestock. So as Tiffany was making the sandwiches, a small herd of cows and goats came walking right through our picnic! Oh well, TIA (this is Africa)!
|Tiffany smiles through it all!|
The other thing we had to be conscious of was gas, or petrol as it is called here. Gas stations are a little farther between each other here so we start looking for one when we get down to half a tank. At one point things did get a little close. We were about 50 miles from the nearest petrol station and we needed some fuel. We found a garage and asked them with broken Swahili if they knew where we could find petrol. They misunderstood and thought we were searching for a man named Petrol. They asked, "Who does Petrol work for?" I was thinking, "I hope it works for me because I need some fuel!" Eventually we solved the miscommunication, and they sold us 10 liters of petrol that they happened to have on hand. Just another TIA moment!
We arrived in Iringa and had a great visit with our friends, the Evans family and John Strong. It was wonderful to see their work and spend time with our fellow soldiers in Christ. They were very hospitable to us, and we look forward to the next time we'll see them.
|We shared a dala-dala adventure with John and the Evanses|
Chimala is an extensive work that provides many services to the community. There is a hospital, nursery school, primary boarding school, secondary boarding school, and a biblical institute. They were gracious enough to let us stay there for the night.
Finally, it was time for the wedding. It was a festive blend of western and local traditions, and was something that we were fortunate to be able to witness. It was scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m., but in true Africa fashion things didn't get started until about 1:00 p.m. Time moves at a different pace here, and things are more laid back for the most part. Fortunately, we were warned to anticipate this so we arrived late anyway.
The whole experience was designed to be fun for everyone. Things began with the men from the wedding party entering the building. An emcee jokingly rebuked them for leaving the women behind and sent them back out. The men returned with their female counterparts. The emcee then rebuked them for forgetting the bride and groom, and sent them all back out to enter properly. This set the tone for a fun and spirited ceremony.
|The ladies from Arusha wore matching dresses and Josiah meets a local little boy|
Here people had the chance to greet the newly weds and present gifts. Rather than being all wrapped up to be opened later, gifts were proudly paraded around in the open and celebrated. Then we all shared a meal together.
Then we went back into the village where a facility had been rented out for a second reception. Here more gifts were given. The guests were all introduced to one another and given a chance to address the crowd. I was asked to speak on behalf of the Arusha residents and offer some biblical thoughts to the couple. Cake was cut, and general festivities continued. The cake tradition is a little different here. There were three cakes. One was presented to each family, then the bride and groom fed cake to each other. Remaining cake was smashed and passed around the crowd where guest sampled pinches of it (kind of like passing the Lord's Supper). I finally excused myself at 10:30 p.m. and they party was still going strong, with a full meal waiting to be served. It was certainly a full day of celebration, and an amazing event to witness. I wish the very best to the new husband and wife.
What a trip! :)