Christmas and Sara’s Baptism (2008)

I went to church like a good Catholic boy on Christmas morning – It started at 8am so I arrived at 7.30 to be sure of a seat. 8am came and went and the church was filled but there was no service, at 8.45 the priest decided to kick things off. There were 15 children being baptised during the service – it seems as though Christmas is when they do a job lot. Sara, the baby named after my Mum was one of the babies being dunked. I stupidly assumed the service would be short due to it being aimed at kids – I eventually left at midday, 4.5 hours later. There was plenty to look at though as the choir leaned more towards tribal dance and music than traditional Christmas song.

One thing which was odd was the rains have kind of failed – it should have rained every day this month and instead it has rained just twice, the last time being two weeks ago. Right at the moment the service started the heavens opened and a massive thunderstorm kicked off.

I had lunch all by myself. Well, there were a couple of guys in my house but I ate alone. The culture here doesnt really place much emphasis on the lunch, like we do in England. I had bangers and mash followed by yoghurt and very nice it was too.

In the afternoon I went to the rehab centre. I had Dairy Milk for the kids and I gave each family 10,000Tshs (around £5) so they could go and get pissed or do whatever. Local homebrew is 15p a litre, so it was plenty.

I then visited some friends and handed out christmas cards, then I went to the pub. I got into a slightly awkward position though cos I went with a few people and bought a round of drinks. I was then prepared to pay for all their drinks through the night (beer is 60p a bottle and soft drinks are 20p, so it hardly breaks the bank) but I found two guys had ordered several drinks and said ‘Tom will pay for it’ which was highly presumptous and annoying so I told them that I wouldn’t get them more. It was a bit of a shame and I don’t know if I was being nobbish or not, although I suspect I wasn’t.

It was a fun day and rather different to my usual Christmas.


With David and his family outside the church. These are the smartest clothes I had!


Sara being baptised


Giving the presents to the rehab centre


The largest and girthiest milipede Ive ever seen


Heading back from the rehab centre with Gideon


Sara’s family in the evening


Sara looking frightened


A snail, funnily enough.

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About Imo & Tom Feilding

I'm in my 30s and work for the University of Bristol, I regularly visit Buigiri Village slapbang in the centre of Tanzania in East Africa. It is a very poor semi-desert area. I spend much of my time and money helping individuals improve their situation and I write about it on here.
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