Earlier in the week we were told that we would be going to one of the villages near by for Sunday mass, so this morning we all woke up and put on our nicest outfits and had breakfast. The unpaved roads on the way to the village made for an interesting and bumpy ride! As we drove through the village, we came to a very large group of people that were heading to mass. Laine turned to us in the truck and informed us that this morning we would be attending a wedding! We were all delighted and some of us girls even got tears in our eyes (girls will be girls!). This is the first time that a group of Stritch students were able to witness a Tanzanian wedding.
When we got there they all greeted us with "Jambo" (hello) and "Karibu" (welcome). The people of this village did have a church but unfortunately it fell to the ground. Until they are able to build a new one, they met outside in a nice area underneath a big tree. While we were there we found out that there were FIVE couples being married today. Father Tim explained to us that 4 of the couples were already considered married in the community but their marriages were being blessed by the church. After the ceremony, the women brought out the drums and started to play traditional tribal music. They were singing and dancing around and we decided it looked like a lot of fun so of course we had to join in! There had to be about 300 people there, all gathered in a circle around us watching us dance around like fools. It was awesome because everyone was able to let loose and not care about looking stupid. I was out of my comfort zone but I'm so happy I joined in because that was the most fun I've ever had! The amount of kindness they showed us was overwhelming to me. I think it's safe to say that we were all honored to be a part of such a special day.
After mass we made our way to another village to have lunch with a family who kindly invited us into their home. The family was made up of a husband and wife and their 6 children. The two oldest girls were the only ones who were able to communicate to us in English. The oldest one told us that she is getting ready to take the national test for seniors in high school tomorrow. After chatting for a bit, the 18 of us piled into a very tiny living room. There were not enough seats for all of us so most of us sat on the floor for our meal. They had prepared a lovely meal of rice and beans for us. After our meal, the girls and some of the younger siblings showed us where they go to collect water. On the way to the water, one of the girls told me that sometimes they have to walk as far as 2 hours one way to get water for the day. This takes away from their study time and their time to just be kids! We filled large buckets about halfway full with not-so-clean water and took turns carrying them on the top of our heads like the women here do. We did okay, but usually the buckets are full to the top and the women here don't have to use their hands to hold the buckets in place like we did. I couldn't imagine ever having to do that every day. Back home when I'm thirsty all I have to do is walk to the kitchen and turn on the faucet. I live a very blessed life and take so much for granted back home. The short time that we have been here has already opened my eyes and changed my perspective on so many things. I can't thank God enough for giving me such a great opportunity!