Sunday, July 4, 2010

"Authentic empowerment comes to you with  God's kiss of knowledge.”

The second group of wives of Methodist pastors and evangelists just turned “Seminar” into “Holy Spirit”. These women came to Maisha na Maji came from some of the churches I have visited over the last few months. We added drying meat to our seminar at my son’s suggestion. I can’t believe how important that was for these beautiful women. John has been making it for months just because we missed having it. Doing research for the “how to dry meat” for the women with the United Nations website, we did not just give them a hand out, we turned the making of it over to them. Each morning they hung it out and covered it with net. Each night we took it in. It was hard for me to help once then let them take over.

I guess teaching kindergarten taught me that they must have ownership to really learn a new skill.

"Authentic empowerment comes to you with God's kiss of knowledge.” We also had to ask the question, "Do we have to have all this illness? Just how can we block the bacteria?"

The last lesson was looking at the pictures of healthy ways of living and seeing if it would be easy to change it or hard to change it to the healthy way. I love it when they say it would be easy to change all the things they are not doing yet; however, I had to wait to hear from John to tell me it was easy to adapt to the new healthier ways to live in their environment. I was so exhausted that I just had to go in the house to lay down and let John finish that last lesson before dinner.

After dinner the women again came to take the dried meat down but this time, they put five pieces in a bag to take home and finish drying at home. As always, when this group likes what they are learning, they praise God in song. I just love it. Joy just comes up from their toes and they move and sing and they harmonize and they take the beef down. I know they will use this wonderful way to get more protein in their families diet and not eat the whole goat when they kill it. They can't wait to tell others this skill. They sang about the meat lasting six months. They sang thanks to God. They sang Father, Father, Father. To hear their happiness you can see it on U tube at

Asleep at nine p.m. at what I thought was for the night, I was a very tired but a really happy camper. In a haze of sleep I heard the harmony again. Not quiet knowing if John was playing a movie, if it was a dream or if I had died and heard the angels. My mind thought it could hear slaves singing "Wade in the Water" in the southern Churches in the U.S. as they were singing a code to protect their Brothers and Sisters on the Under Ground Railroad.

I heard Dr. M.L .King, Jr. with his speeches of "Equality". I heard the pain of women from many countries that many times do not have that equality but long for it. The song I was hearing in my haze was reminiscent of the call and response of songs like the Black Churches from the 50's. There was even a pinch of Michael Jackson and the Jackson five as sung in talent shows by my students when I was a teacher in Pomona, California in the 1970's. One glimpse was of hearing Spirituals sung by the white choirs in white churches as they tried to get that soulful sound but correcting the English as they sang. In my dazed condition, all these images and sounds were swirling around in my head as if God was folding sugar into egg whites. God let me know that the thing I am watching here in Bunda, Tanzania, and the thing I am listening to is much bigger than the pain I am in or the women saying thank you or the Methodist Church and their problems or the little people in the government that are trying to stop the library. God knows that this world and universe is much more important. He is putting together something BIG. Just get on his bus or jump off. At 11:30 p.m., women wrapped in Kangas hummed and wrapped up plans with their old friends and their new friends. I watched them glide pass my window still humming softly and slipping into their clean rooms to sleep this their last night at Maisha na Maji. This time brought me a peace only God can give.


  1. Karen, I can just feel your joy by reading your words. It warms the cockles of my heart. Thank you!

  2. Joy was there for sure. When people have parties and sing all night we are so mad. When it was my girls and they were giving each other a new song for each other's church, It was alright. It was as if my kids were having a sleep over.