A special welcome to today’s guest Blogger – Chris Hogan. See his thoughts below.
Sunday. At last! A day off. Although we sign up for 2 weeks of hard, physical labour I, for one was glad of a break – a chance to rest the weary bones and muscles and to recharge energy levels for the week to come….not that we sat by a pool all day sipping ice cold drinks. We left about 8am to go to church along with the BAE team from Barrow (who had arrived yesterday). When we got to KCMC (Kilimanjaro Church Medical Centre) we found the church overflowing with people and had to wait until space could be found for us (unfortunately for some this meant right in front of the speakers for the PA system). This was the first time that I had attended a service here and the first thing that hit me (literally) was the wall of joyful sound as the congregation sang, led by a small music group and various singers. A large part of the service was in English, including a number of songs well-known at BVC. Some of the songs were in Swahili and most of us joined in by swaying and capping along and attempting to follow the words on the screen. Dr Amos, who was preaching, delivered a sermon full of insight, challenge, hunger and encouragement and the prayers of intercession were led with a passion and fervour such as I have never witnessed. An inspiring and uplifting start to the day.
After a quick change we set off again for a trip to Kilimanjario National Park. After lunch we visited the Mountain Gate where many climbers start their ascent, and we were given a very informative talk (by Gilly Minja) about the mountain, its various climates, the routes up it and its importance as a global reference point for climate change studies. We then spent some time at the Merangu Falls where we heard some local legends and enjoyed the beauty of this part of God’s creation. Our final stop was at a museum of the Chagga people where we had a very enthusiastic and entertaining tour guide, even if he was slightly obsessed with bodily functions.
This was not only a day of rest from work but an opportunity to learn more about the area, its history, culture and people so that we could better understand the context in which we’re working.
After dinner at the Union Cafe and a mid trip team evaluation meeting, some of the team headed of to a local hotel to watch the World Cup final, while some of us went to bed.
Bring on the bricks and buckets – I’m ready for another chain gang.