Tanzanian Funeral

Our good friend, Seni, lost his father on Tuesday of this week.  Tim was at the hospital with Seni when his father passed away.  He was a precious man who lived to be over 95 years old, almost unheard of in Tanzania.  Seni’s parents and his wife’s parents all live with him; there is no government assistance for the elderly and no nursing homes.  A good Tanzanian would never shirk their responsibility to their parents or relatives by taking advantage of those options even if they were available.

Isaak Seni was ready to go to heaven.  When his family visited him the day before he died, he told them all “Goodbye” and that he was going to see Jesus.  When they brought his wife to the hospital to visit him the morning he died he thanked her for many wonderful years of married life and then bid her “Goodbye” as well. He told her, “I am going to see Jesus, I won’t see you again here”.  He died a few hours later from complications from surgery.

They had an outdoor service for him early Friday afternoon at Seni’s home. There was a large crowd of people there to celebrate the life of this man.  Few tears and much rejoicing that their loved one was in heaven with Jesus.  After the service here in Mwanza the body was to be transported over 140 kilometers away (about a three hour drive on mostly dirt roads). 

Our STL vehicle was transformed into a hearse to carry the casket and body to it’s final resting place in a small village on the family farm. Tim spent the night there last night and slept in the STL car which became his hotel room once the casket was removed.  They were to have a funeral service there today for those in the village who knew and loved Isaak Seni, he had a large family and many live in that village. 

Tim will return today sometime after the funeral service there in the village. 

Isaak Seni was a poor Tanzania farmer who, with his wife, raised nine children.  He had only a few years of formal schooling and never did anything that could be considered extraordinary in his life. He had never been further than a few hours drive from his home and village.   He was a simple, humble man who loved his family and loved God.  The amount of people who came to the funeral and who visited the family to pay their respects gave testimony that he was well loved and respected by all who were blessed to know him.

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