With a car full of just about everyone, we headed to Iyoli one last time before leaving, but this time it was for a party.

We packed the car full of rice and vegetables from the market and invited the kids from the story telling club, the water committee, the teachers, officials from the surrounding area, and the village chief.

In a cornfield at the back of a clay house, we started to make preparations for the party; two goats were slaughtered and butchered, rice was sifted and cleaned, cabbage and garlic was sliced, and green bananas were peeled in preparation for matoke.

Late in the afternoon, Moshi and his wife welcomed the guests. He introduced everyone and then talked about how he and I had met. He spoke of my mother and how she had tragically died in the ocean. Everyone stood up and took a moment of silence, and then—more than ten years after her death—in a party in a remote village, I felt her presence. 

It was a perfect way to remember.

The storytelling kids gave a performance of all they had been working on, a song they had written, and, of course, a dance. 

I said thanks, and gave everyone a heartfelt goodbye, telling them I hoped to return soon with drillers. But at this point, I still had no idea how long that was going to take, so it really was just a hope. On the way back to the hotel, I told Moshi that most of the time, I have no idea what was going on, and he said, “Lara, I must be honest and truthful with you, neither do I.”

We dropped Baraka, Evelyn, and Habiba off back in Kondoa, and then Moshi went home, and I returned to my tiny little room, exhausted but content.