Traveling with Maddy and Quinn today was like following an elderly married couple. They’re both very direct and have hard opinions on the way things should be done. Having been to this village before, Maddy was definitely the leader, but Quinn did his fair share of talking to people and entertaining the many kids that followed behind at all times. Their first stop was a porch where Maddy had agreed to return to get her hair braided. The process took about 15 minutes, and it was a great opportunity to get to know the many villagers sitting around in fascination.
This was a very exciting day for Maddy. When she was in Tanzania is July, she befriended a man named Juma, a highly-respected Muslim leader in the village. I would have paid money just to see this process take place. What do a white girl from the valley and an Imam have in common? Almost nothing, expect for a desire to learn more about each other. She had been looking for him all week, and after the hair braiding had taken place, he came walking along the road. Maddy got so excited I think she scared half the village, but he was just as delighted to see her.
Their chemistry was amazing. He led us to his house, where they sat on a mat in the shade for an hour and a half, telling each other about their religions, sharing stories from their holy books, and discussing topics like the Holy Spirit, trying to please God, and who Jesus was. It was the first time I’ve seen a conversation taking place where it didn’t even feel like there was a translator present. It flowed naturally and seamlessly. It continued on as he took us to his Mosque, holding Maddy’s hand the entire way. It was a beautiful collision of culture, and I was so thankful to have witnessed it.