Or, "Dinner at the House of the Pastor." (I learned to pick the word Mchungaji out of introductions, as in Mchungaji Clark Olson-Smith.) It comes from the Swahili word for shepherd, just like the English word, pastor.
But technically, it was not dinner at the Pastor's house but the Pastor's mother's house. Later, I'll tell you about our dinner at Pastor Fue's family's house in Mwanga. But for the three out of for weeks he's in Kirangare, this house is home.
Sunday evening—after an afternoon of rest with no visits to this or that place—Jasper, Joseph and I walked 15 minutes up the mountain. When we arrived, Pastor Fue welcomed us inside. In the room, a feast was prepared.
Pastor Fue has a small satellite dish outside and a TV. A number of people do in Kirangare. As you can see, after we sat on the couches, we watched—first, a bit of the BBC’s live coverage of foreign dignitaries, including President Biden, paying respect to Queen Elizabeth.
That's when I learned Tanzania remains part of the British Commonwealth. Primarily this is a way for Great Britain to maintain influence despite Tanzania's independence. But it comes with the benefit of additional representation in the United Nations, since Great Britain has a seat on the small but powerful U.N. Security Council and Tanzania does not.
Next we watched the Upendo Channel. Upendo means love. And it's the Lutheran channel. A Lutheran TV network! Pastor Fue was surprised to learn there is no such thing in the U.S.
We watched a rebroadcast of morning worship from Mbezi Beach Lutheran Church in Dar Es Salaam. In the U.S., we would call it a megachurch. The pastor there preached on the same gospel reading I had that morning in Kirangare. Tanzania's Lutherans use a lectionary (or schedule of weekly bible readings) just like we do, although it's a different lectionary. Mbezi Beach is an congregation in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. Pastor Fue spent a short time serving there.
Finally, we watched the Tanzania Safari channel, which shows nature documentaries from Tanzania's national parks. So we got a preview of our safari to come.
Pastor Fue's brother and sister-in-law and neighbor, Loveday prepared the meal. It was delicious, like the rest of our meals. Rice, chicken, potatoes, bananas, ginger tea, and soya.
We were prepared not to eat much meat while in Tanzania. But to the contrary, every lunch and dinner has included chicken or beef or both. And when we had tea—what a host provides when we visited between mealtimes—we were served meat about half the time. And breakfasts in Kirangare always included hard-boiled eggs. We ate well, thanks to the people of Kirangare's hospitality and Sara and Rachel's hard work.
Here Joseph and I posed with Rachel (left) and Sara (right) in front of the Church Rest House kitchen. Piled behind us is firewood for the stove. Below is inside that kitchen.
Pastor Fue's brother prepares both ginger powder and soya powder and sells them. He gave both Joseph and I some to bring home. The ginger for making tea. The soya is for adding to warm milk.
Soya looks like cocoa powder but a little paler. And the taste…how can I describe it? Like a mix of coffee and hot chocolate but not bitter? Not right but close enough.
As the relaxing evening drew to a close, we stood for pictures. And as soon as we did, the power went out. This is common. It happened pretty much every day. Pastor Fue said before we arrived, the power went out for three days. But in our experience, the brownouts lasted a short time, no more than a few hours, and was no inconvenience to us. Like many, the church has a backup gas-powered generator. And as soon as we finished taking pictures in the dark, the power came back on, and we did it all over again.
Because the village has electricity, we rarely needed flashlights. But we definitely did on the way back from dinner to the Church Rest House. It was dark and the road was rocky.
David Hansen told us before we left to go out on a clear night and take in the stars. So I was disappointed when we first started down the road. The stars over the eastern valley were certainly beautiful but not more so than a clear, dark night in Iowa. But then I turned around and almost fell over! Stars to make a doubter believe! The Milky Way was visible in a bright sash across the whole sky. I just wanted to stare but I kept tripping as we walked.
I thought of God encouraging impatient Abraham: “As the stars in the night sky, so shall your descendants be.” When we look at our light-polluted skies, we have no idea how big a promise that was.