Tanzanian Church

You do not know beauty until you’ve heard an entire church of Tanzanians singing. The children shame us with their rhythm, warm us with their smiles. We are welcome visitors. I understand next to nothing, but enjoy almost everything. As we sing we don’t dance so much as sway, the congregation swirling like a gentle summer breeze.

I know I will forget this. The details will fade, the corners darken, vignetting. Eventually the memory will be black save for a soft glow on the horizon.

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One Response

  1. You’re absolutely right– a rare and peculiar beauty resides in Africa’s voices.

    I do remember my first time hearing an African choir as their voices, some dark as the earth beneath their feet, others shrill and bright, intermingled with the smoke from the neighboring village’s evening fire and wafted over to my home. My eyes opened wide with a “what’s that!?” look and my feet started moving toward the door. With a torch in hand I found my way as close as I could get to this seemingly impromptu choir without being noticed to hear their songs in Shangaan. The songs seemed ancient to me– the people, aglow in the firelight, seemed like they had been standing there, swaying and clapping, for centuries, like they had stated long ago and never stopped.

    You may forget the melodies and rhythms, but not the feeling. This is such a treasured memory to possess. How wonderful Joel.

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