I have resolved to writing on this blog twice a week. I resolved this several weeks ago and I still haven’t done anything about it. Let’s see if I can change that. I want to write short little somethings about the lessons I’m learning here in Tanzania and some of the more random things that happen. I don’t intend to be preachy to anyone but myself.
Two days ago I started seeing large trucks pulling into our neighbors house across the road from us. I soon deduced from the stacks of chairs and tents they were bringing that there was going to be a wedding this weekend. Weddings here rock. Weddings anywhere rock but weddings are such a cultural thing that if you have a chance to go to one in a different culture it is highly recommended. So I was excited to see what it would be like here in the richer section of town.
The music started at about 8am. I was sitting down to coffee and a book during breakfast when they were doing a “sound check” which involved blasting a bass heavy song as loud as the speakers could handle it. From nearly a thousand feet away I could feel the vibrations in our tiny dining table.
Come midday they were still “sound checking” and my wife was starting to get annoyed. “These are happy sounds of people in love!” I told her trying to bring things into perspective. I left for errands in town and came back early evening and the wedding had begun. Our quiet little dirt road was transformed into a parking lot with dozens of cars parked haphazardly. A man sat at the gate and motioned for us to come over and I think I heard a “Karibu” over the deafening boom of the speakers. After we parked I went over to say hello, (Greetings are huge in this culture) and one of our team members was already speaking with the man. It turned out he was the man of the house where the wedding was taking place and he genuinely wanted us to come over and join the party. I walked home and told the visiting YWAM team and our interns that they were welcome to go party it up at the wedding. I went and saw Sonja and she gave me the look. The look that said, “I have done everything humanly possible to drown out the noise going on but to no avail.” I laughed and she informed me that the music hadn’t stopped all day.
You have to understand that the music is so loud that we have to slightly raise our voices to hear each other in the same room. It’s loud.
I left again for a facetime date with my broseph (Hi Steven!) and returned to find the party in full swing still. The team told me they went over and danced and were fed and welcomed warmly like they belonged there all along. By this point the local night club on the other side of our house was starting their nightly music. It sounded like a battle of noise between the 2 as Glacier (the nightclub) seemed louder than normal. By now I was done with the music and said so to Sonja, she snarkily responded, “These are happy sounds of people in love!” Indeed.
The wedding died down at around 9:30, a reasonable time. But then Glacier, as if to prove that it had won the battle of the cacophony turned their music up. Now they are probably 1/8-1/4 mile away and it is LOUD in our house and I am done with loud music. Sonja, who has been home all day has been listening to loud Tanzanian music all day is well past done. She was done by lunchtime. Now it’s time for bed and the nightclub seems to be increasing it’s volume. I don’t even know how it’s possible but it sounds like it gets louder every ten minutes or so. 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, 11:00… Still deafening. Sonja puts her earbuds in in an attempt to drown out the din as I lay there thinking about the things you can’t change.
It’s not just loud music. It’s loud music all day. But it’s not just loud music all day, it’s loud music all day in a language and style that is not enjoyable and even grating. They (Tanzanians) love it but after 14 hours even the most patient missionary finds himself thinking about how he can throw a molotov into the local nightclub without hurting anyone but just to shut the music down. Not me of course, but, you know, hypothetically speaking.
It’s the things you can’t change that have the greatest potential to grow you. As I closed all the windows, put the fan on high, and stuffed the window vents with towels to muffle what I could of the chaos I reflected back on other times where there were situations that I couldn’t change. The events that you have no control over often produce the best things in you. It’s just another lesson I find in a foreign land. I am grateful for the lessons and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Except maybe a good nights sleep. =)