Tanzania was a bit of a tumble dryer experience. Hot and humid, lively and intense, and as sometimes happens, with a few perks I’ll treasure going forward.

It’s just over a week since I came back from two weeks of travel in Arusha, Tanzania, on assignment for the World Council of Churches.

Reflecting on my time there, and working through my files, today I want to share a few of the highlights. A simple list, of those small things that may have gone unnoticed, but which somehow have engraved themselves on my memory.

1) In Arusha, people go to church on foot

The Mjini Kati Lutheran Church in Arusha may gather a congregation of more than 1,000 people for Sunday service. But despite welcoming efforts from the parish, people unequivocally go to church on foot.

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Tanzania-bike

Bringing together a congregation of over 1,000 people, the Arusha Mjini Kati Lutheran Church gathers to celebrate Sunday service. © Albin Hillert

Full gallery: Arusha Mjini Kati Lutheran Church, Tanzania

2) A photographer’s phrase in Swahili

It’s simply fantastically useful.

Naweza karibia? – May I come closer?
Asante sana – Thank you.

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Tanzania-agriculture

Elhadi and Hussein prepare the field to grow onions, in Usa River. The Usa River 2 project is supported by the Meru Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania’s Sustainable Livelihood programme, designed to support sustainable agriculture through biogas production and diverse practices, so as to keep the soil in good shape through many decades of work on the land. © Albin Hillert

Full gallery: Arusha, Tanzania, March 2018

3) Everyone can understand a Tanzanian dance

Over the past few years I’ve come to visit more than a few countries in sub-saharan Africa, and throughout, it’s been difficult not to appreciate the energy expressed through music and dance.

As one of the choir leaders phrased it at Christ Church Cathedral on Sunday, “Even if you do not understand Swahili, you can still enjoy a Tanzanian dance.”

I suspect you’ll agree.

Full gallery: Christ Church Cathedral, Arusha, Tanzania