Mtu ni Watu

“A person is people” captures the essence of the human relationships in East Africa. No one lives a solitary life. All are dependent on one another and only in community is a person fully human.

This is the African proverb on the first page of our Kiswahili language book. The school here has the language school, a secondary (high) school and a Lutheran seminary. Our classroom looks out to the Uluguru Mountains. It is an inspiring view. The soccer field of the school is also in our view.

We witnessed a great example of this proverb. The secondary students were taking their end of term exams the first week we were here. Last week, they were waiting to receive their scores, so they didn’t have classes. They were cleaning up the campus because they will leave for a month break this week. We observed that the students were in groups and would do a chore together. Often you would hear the students singing as they worked. At the beginning of the week, the soccer field was over grown from all the rain that has fallen here. The guys had a hard time playing soccer when their chores were done. So a group of guys got together with hand grass cutters to cut the grass. As a group, they were able to get the job done in a short period of time. This was done in community.

I believe the Bible also encourages us to live in community.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4-5

I love being here in Africa where there is a sense of true community. I have much to learn from them.

One thought on “community

  1. Dear Ones,
    I love reading your letters. Here is a thought: Africa’s strength is in community. It is also Africa’s weakness, as there is a tendency to do nothing if the community isn’t “all in.” There is also the tendency to let the chief do all the thinking.

    In America our strength (and our weakness) is in our individuality. We can move forward without worrying about what others think. We can hold on to our wealth. We don’t feel obligated to share it with every “cousin” on the planet. But we suffer with feelings of isolation. As you say, the Bible provides the balance that we need.


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