Saturday, November 6, 2010

Iringa Fall Festival

Today I attended the 12th annual Iringa Fall Festival at Roseville Lutheran Church. This was an occasion for members of the St. Paul Area Synod of the ELCA and Iringa Diocese, Tanzania, to review and celebrate their partnernship.

This partnership involves not only matters of faith and fellowship but also programs in such fields as education, agriculture, and health. Various other synods and congregations across the USA are involved in such programs, with partners across Africa and other parts of the world.

Early in the program today, we heard a recorded message from Bishop Owdenburg Mdegela of Iringa. He recounted the many benefits of the partnership and thanked everyone involved and looked forward to an even brighter future. We also watched a video documentary of the life and work of the late Rev. Dr. Benjamin Ngede, a powerful testimony to a truly remarkable life.

The event drew many participants.There were several guests from Iringa, whom I was delighted to meet. They came from Tungamalenga and Kihesa. I met many people who know me, from hearing me speak in their churches or other venues, or from reading my Africans and Americans book. Some had heard, from Professor Per Anderson of Concordia College, that I was taking LCCT students to Iringa next year.

One of the speakers, Rev. Don Fultz, standing with his wife Eunice in the photo on the left, surprised me by introducing me to the audience, declaring that I wrote a wonderful book. He brandished a copy, urging everyone to read it. At the end of the Festival, I was accosted by people looking for the book. Fortunately, I had some copies.

There were about a dozen speakers, on such topics as Tumaini University, Radio Furaha, Saccos, the volunteer experience, the Agricultural Institute, the Endowment Fund, and Ilula Hospital. There was even a photo contest, and booths with information about these programs as well as Tanzanian items for sale. I saw people wearing Tanzania's kitenge outfits.

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