“Baba Yetu” ~ The Sound of My Day

This piece is of a different nature than any I have ever published here.

Tanzania is a coastal nation in east Africa just south of the equator with a population that has more than doubled since 1990 to over 50 million people. The nation has experienced 6 extreme droughts in the last 30 years, requiring aide in order to sustain the population, and they are currently experiencing a drought that has lasted since 2011. Aside from impacting the day to day living of all those who it impacts from lack of sustainable work as farmers to severe food shortages and lack of safe drinking water, the droughts have impacted the country’s ability to make electricity, limiting the power grid and other industries that rely upon access to energy to sustain work. In addition to a lack of safe drinking water and water for basic hygiene, a lack of food, and a lack of energy sources, Tanzania’s population (among many African nations with similar concerns) suffers from diseases that are related to lack of nutrition, hygiene, and healthcare:

Malnutrition ~ this is not the “I skipped breakfast and I’m rather peckish” kind of hungry. This is distended stomachs and slow starvation with debilitating pain and illness occurring along with the starvation as a result of a weakened immune system and body. As someone who had the displeasure of feeling my one foot slowly die over the course of several years, I’d like to tell you all that there isn’t a pain medicine strong enough to stop one from feeling the pain from a body that is dying. I think starving to death must be one of the most agonizing and maddening deaths there could possibly be… while in the first world we don’t even like to buy fruits and veggies that aren’t pretty.

Dysentery ~ viral, bacterial, or parasitic inflammation of the digestive system, dysentery is spread through contaminated food and water, which in an area experiencing severe drought that necessitates entire communities using watering holes and “wells” that may be infected and with a population that has not necessarily learned why the hygienic practices we follow everyday are so essential, you can imagine how prevalent this may be. On the low end of the spectrum the disease causes diarrhea with mucus and blood and on the severe end can cause death.

Cholera ~ a bacterial infection of the digestive system caused by drinking contaminated water and resulting in diarrhea and dehydration so severe it is called the “Blue Death” because someone dying of cholera may turn bluish to grey.

Diarrhea ~ we all know how terrible a bad case of diarrhea can be in our cushy first world homes with clean running water, Gatorade, and emergency departments nearby to give us IVs if we get too dehydrated… which the people of Tanzania have none of.

Trachoma ~ one of the world’s oldest diseases, with tomb art depicting trachoma treatment from ancient Nubia, that causes the eyelashes to grow inward to the eye, slowly scraping away the cornea, causing the eyelids to turn outwards, and eventually causing blindness, which has been eliminated in the US and much of the first world by such simple techniques as face washing, using antibiotics in those who are infected, and not sharing living space and water with animals. If you’re interested in hearing how close one organization is on eliminating this disease, check out this amazing Ted Talk from last year in Vancouver.

In addition to drought, disease, lack of energy, and everything that goes with them, many of the girls living in Tanzania, among 44 other countries across the world, still face the practice of female genital mutilation, which is more driven by social expectation than anything else. Girls in the America feel pressured to shave their legs and armpits and girls in Tanzania feel pressured to have a primitive surgery to remove anatomy that would allow them to enjoy sex as an adult. In a society where sex is so openly talked about and celebrated, where calling someone by the wrong pronoun depending on their gender identity is enough to earn a fine in some places, I am galled that the issue of female genital mutilation is not talked about except in hushed tones and with an attitude of “well, it’s not my daughter and it’s not happening here, so…”

This procedure requires a girl to be held down by women who she should feel safest around while her clitoris, labia minora, and labia majora may be removed; the vaginal opening may also be closed or covered leaving just a small hole for menses to exit by sewing skin shut over the opening which will require her to be cut open again before becoming sexually active upon her marriage, cut open and possibly closed shut before and after each child birth. This is not done with anesthetic or pain medicine and is usually performed by a local villager using a knife that is usually not very sharp, is rusty, and is not disinfected. (World Health Organization) For an overview of how to impact change in a social expectation like this that has harmed so many for so long within the span of a single generation, check out this TED Talk from London.

Okay, so this is a lot to digest…

And why am I telling you about all this anyway?

Every day in our first world homes and places of work we have first world problems that for us are huge but we have the luxury of having them because we were blessed to be born in the time and the places we were.

We all have such great privilege in our lives.

All of us.

Sometimes I think it is good for us to be reminded how privileged we are and that it is our responsibility to do what we can for the weak,

the impoverished,

and the oppressed worldwide

BECAUSE WE CAN.

This song is my go to song when I don’t know what or how to pray for the difficulties in my own life. I am reminded of a great many things when it is playing but most importantly I am reminded that we are all one people and that God is big enough to work the greatest good in all of our lives even when we are unable to see the path before us or understand the reason He has allowed things to happen in our world if we will only call on Him and if we will only be faithful to do what we can when we can for others because we can.

If you feel compelled to aid in ministering to the people of Tanzania, which is truly only one of multiple nations experiencing the things I wrote of above, two organizations I can personally vouch for are Pamoja Ministries and Compassion Tanzania. Both are Christian based but they are not simply for spreading the Gospel. Pamoja Ministries works in Tanzania and across East Africa teach and and train people in leading their own communities and changing their own lives through the use of media, literature (translated by PM), and music to educate and empower people. Compassion Tanzania’s focus is in digging and maintaining wells that provide safe drinking water to villages impacted by the drought. Regardless of your religious beliefs, the services they provide are those we can all get behind.

“Baba Yetu”

Mzansi Youth Choir, Sunshine, 2013 ~ This is the recording I have on my phone, although there are many excellent versions available. The one in the Soundcloud above is the same composition but a different recording.

Songwriter: Christopher Tin

Baba yetu, yetu uliye (Our, our Father who are)
Mbinguni yetu, yetu, amina (In heaven, our, our, amen)
Baba yetu, yetu, uliye (Our, our Father, who are)
Jina lako litukuzwe (Let’s glorify your name)

Baba yetu, yetu uliye (Our, our Father who are)
Mbinguni yetu, yetu, amina (In heaven, our, our, amen)
Baba yetu, yetu, uliye (Our, our Father, who are)
Jina lako litukuzwe (Let’s glorify your name)

Utupe leo chakula chetu (Give us today our food)
Tunachohitaji utusamehe (We need you to forgive us)
Makosa yetu, hey (Our errors, hey)
Kama nasi tunavyowasamehe (As we do forgive those)
Waliotukosea, usitutie (Who did us wrong, don’t put us)
Katika majaribu, lakini (Into trials, but)
Utuokoe, na yule, milele na milele (Save us, with him, for ever and ever)

Baba yetu, yetu uliye (Our, our Father who are)
Mbinguni yetu, yetu, amina (In heaven, our, our, amen)
Baba yetu, yetu, uliye (Our, our Father, who are)
Jina lako litukuzwe (Let’s glorify your name)

Baba yetu, yetu uliye (Our, our Father who are)
Mbinguni yetu, yetu, amina (In heaven, our, our, amen)
Baba yetu, yetu, uliye (Our, our Father, who are)
Jina lako litukuzwe (Let’s glorify your name)

Ufalme wako ufike utakalo (Your kingdom come that it be)
Lifanyike duniani kama mbinguni, amina (done on earth as in heaven, amen)

Baba yetu, yetu uliye (Our, our Father who are)
Mbinguni yetu, yetu, amina (In heaven, our, our, amen)
Baba yetu, yetu, uliye (Our, our Father, who are)
Jina lako litukuzwe (Let’s glorify your name)

Baba yetu, yetu uliye (Our, our Father who are)
Mbinguni yetu, yetu, amina (In heaven, our, our, amen)
Baba yetu, yetu, uliye (Our, our Father, who are)
Jina lako litukuzwe (Let’s glorify your name)

Utupe leo chakula chetu (Give us today our food)
Tunachohitaji utusamehe (We need you to forgive us)
Makosa yetu, hey (Our errors, hey)
Kama nasi tunavyowasamehe (As we do forgive those)
Waliotukosea, usitutie (Who did us wrong, don’t put us)
Katika majaribu, lakini (Into trials, but)
Utuokoe na yule msiba milele (Save us from this distress for ever)

Baba yetu, yetu, uliye (Our, our Father, who are)
Jina lako litukuzwe (Let’s glorify your name)

Baba yetu, yetu, uliye (Our, our Father, who are)
Jina lako litukuzwe (Let’s glorify your name)

 

9/10/18

2 thoughts on ““Baba Yetu” ~ The Sound of My Day

  1. We are so blessed. Spoiled Americans? We may be. More American are giving to charities. Listening to this music is amazing… finally out of my head (bedridden most of the day). It’s a big world with lots of problems but joyous songs prevail! I need to get this on my phone. That’s an outstanding idea. Hard post to read, Kit. Really hard. x~k.

    Like

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