Words are Inadequate

“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make, which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”
-Marian Wright Edelman, submitted by Ben

The day began with breakfast and church. A two and a half hour ceremony full of singing, dancing, and twenty-eight baptisms. The team introduced ourselves and Pam was originally asked by Pastor Jan to preach. However, because of communion and the large amount of baptisms, Pam’s words were postponed until next week.

After the ceremony was over an auction was held. Since some villages are unable to give the church a monetary donation, the give whatever item of value they can part with and the church auctions it off after service. This week there were some pens, a few pencils, and a couple of eggs. A teacher from the secondary school purchased the eggs for Pam. I was unable to tell is she was flattered or terrified that this might constitute as some sort of bride price.

Lunch was with Pastor Jan. We ate goat and what we suspect was pork as chickens wandered in and out of the house to be scared off by Pastor Alexander. “This is Ipalamwa,” he explained, “we live with kuku.”

On the last Sunday of every month the village has a market. We took some time to wander through and look at the assorted goods and products. Pam and Cheryl both bought congas.

After the market it was early evening so we headed back to the school and where we are staying. While villagers played football on the field we sat on the benches in the midst of dozens of children and played scrabble, draft, picture games, and taught them numbers, the English alphabet, and silly songs.

There is so much more here I wish to document, but I find it an impossible task. I forget to log the small details, the minor occurrences, that add up to become the weight of experience. The way Cheryl has an immediate connection to any child, the way Rich does everything he can to provide hope and support, how Pam remembers every detail of her last trip and it’s obvious how much of an impact not only she has had on this place, but also this place has had on her. The way everyone here says hello, how they burst out laughing when we greet them in Kihehe, how you can see mountains forever until the sun sets behind their peaks and the stars pierce the sky at night.

Words are inadequate, pictures only moments, and memory is fragile. But perhaps I am looking too far into the future. Perhaps just to be here is enough. – Ben

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