Today we drove to Iyoli with Moshi, his wife and 2 children, Sajidah and Samia, Habiba, the sister of the girl who works at the hotel, Evelyn and Baraka, Issa and me.  We packed the car full of rice and veggies from the market we were going to have later that day for our big party.  We invited all the kids from the story telling club at the school, the water committee, the teachers, officials from the surrounding area, the village chief and people from the village.

I bought 2 goats from one of the neighbours in the village that were slaughtered at the back of the house (sorry vegetarians). The women were cleaning the rice and cutting bananas, cabbage and garlic on the side of the house which was pretty much in a cornfield.  This is where I really got to know woman of Iyoli and I spent the afternoon taking pictures, dancing and singing.

Late in the afternoon everyone started to arrive and fill the space.  It was raining so the tarps were up to keep us dry.  Everyone said a few words, including me in my broken swahili and Moshi told the story of how we first met, that I had come with my family, Zoe and Loc, after my mom had tragically died in the pacific ocean. Everyone stood up in silence for her (they do that for those who have passed on). I felt her presence in that moment and thought about how messed up I was during that time (even now sometimes) and here we are 12 years later, in a remote village eating goat and thinking of her.  It’s a perfect way to remember.

On the way home we stopped in the Kalemba, the neighbouring village, to visit Moshi’s sister.  We walked in pitch blackness to her home off the road and sat, the kids laughing and the adults chatting with only a small flashlight. On the way home issa, the driver, stopped suddenly and backed the car up.  I wasn’t sure what happened but it turned out that we ran over a black mamba snake.  He saw it looking at us from the highway and had no choice but to hit it head on.  If I had the brain power I might try to think of what it meant in a deeper way but maybe it was just plain old bad luck for the snake.

I told Moshi on the way home that most of the time I have no idea what is going on and and he said “Lara, I must be honest and truthful with you, either do I.”

We arrived back in Kondoa and said goodbye to Baraka’s mother and grandmother.  We dropped Evelyn and Habiba off and then went to Ngassi’s house (Moshi’s friend) for dinner.  Now I am back in my hotel room and exhausted but content.

We are leaving to meet Jafari in Dodoma tomorrow to get the results of the water survey and I am sad to be leaving Evelyn, Habiba and Baraka.

Lala Salama rafiki yangu (Goodnight my friends)