The WWK of Tanzania is the equivalent of the Women’s Ministry groups in American churches; once a year they have a national convention and this year it was in Moshi, TZ.
I was privileged to attend along with the other TZ missionary women; there were several women from the Mwanza area that were also able to attend.
It was a three day conference packed full with reports, excellent speakers, prayer and worship, fun and fellowship. This is the one time a year when the women escape the confines of their lives here in Tanzania and have a break from the never-ending responsibilities they have on a daily basis.
Here, they are able to know the joy of coming together with hundreds of other women and receive encouragement, strength, friendship and be told that they are valuable and vital to the Kingdom of God. There is a balance of tears/sorrows and laughter/joy; it is the highlight of the year for these women.
There was, however, a few drawbacks. We were all expected to purchase and wear bright yellow polo shirts to the meetings; I wore mine even though I felt like a very large yellow lemon.
We sat for hours on the platform as honored guests listening to Swahili all day and understanding a portion of what was being said.
The evening service of the last night went well past dark; dark means “the invasion of the mosquitos”. We missionaries knew this would happen so we all came prepared with mosquito repellent; unfortunately, on this particular evening we all left it in our rooms. We were attacked by swarms of mosquitos which made it hard to concentrate.
On the last day all the groups from the various sections of the country present gifts to the Christian Girls School and to the host District where we were meeting; we missionary ladies had purchased several mattresses to present as our gift.
When it came time to make our presentation, we hefted our bright pink mattresses and sang and danced our way across the field in the traditional way and placed our gift with all the others. The Tanzanian ladies were delighted that we took part in this event and that we made the effort to present our offering in the traditional way. It was fun, and, I might say, quite a colorful sight! A group of white women dressed in bright yellow shirts carrying pink mattresses across the field as we sang our Swahili chorus and tried to “keep in step”and move forward at the same time!
The yellow shirt is hanging at the back of the closet now; hopefully never to be seen again!