About Pandemic Prowling: In this series, Pandemic Prowling, I share stories about my travels across 4 continents (Asia, N. America, S. America, Africa) amidst the outbreak of Covid19.
“I don’t know anyone in Dar Es Salaam,
I don’t know anyone in Tanzania,
I don’t even know anyone in Africa.”
This is what I told a friend of a mentor while talking with him over the phone. It was true, I was all alone out here in Africa which was something that I was used to but was made more difficult being on a foreign continent where I stuck out like a sore thumb. The effects of the pandemic were beginning to have an effect on me as social isolation was an issue everywhere I went.
Tanzania looked great in that regard given there were fairly light restrictions both entering and living in the country. Rightly or wrongly, I showed much less concern over the dangers of the pandemic having had all this potential exposure to the virus but never catching it. Being in Tanzania fueled this lack of concern.
One day while roaming the streets of Dar in a society free of social restrictions, I came across a big billboard that read something to the likes of:
PIWC Dar Es Salaam
I thought to myself that I was not a Christian so had no need to join. But on the other hand I felt I had nothing to lose so why not? Besides, I might make some new friends I thought to myself. So that next Sunday I showed up at that church at the designated time and no one of there… (typical Tanzanian I would learn later)
Once folks started showing up, the pastor was extremely kind and welcoming to have me there. I garnered quite a bit of attention as I looked different then everyone else. “PI” in Dar (which stands for Pentecost International) was very eager to have me as during this era of new normal, internationals like myself was a rarity. But really, walking into that Sunday service was the beginning of my journey in developing a relationship with Christianity.
And that beginning period during those months in Dar where I was exposed to so much selfless hospitality are a priceless memory.
More of those memories to be shared to come…