Goodbye Mamafrica

Our first day in Africa was a Sunday. While we did go to a wonderful LDS service with a beautiful congregation, we were oh so fortunate to be able to go to a Mosque here in Kampala. The only parallel I have for this in Utah is the Hare Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork(insert picture), which is a completely different religious mythology. Hare Krishna is Hindu, Mosque is Muslim. When we arrived, we were brought into a little building off the side of the property where the ladies were given burkas to wear and then we were escorted by our guide, Ziwwa, inside. The whole experience was all sorts of magical but the most poignant part for me was when he taught us about Mamafrica. He was teaching this because the Muslim prayers that they perform are sung with an African tune. There is a little bit of Africa in all of humanity because it is where the first humans came from. And that couldn’t be more true than for Central-Eastern Africa where it is said that the first members of the human family, Homo Sapien, appeared. He said that the little bit of Mamafrica in us called us home like children to a mother. And because Africa is in every human, we are all brothers and sisters of the same human family.

There are many ways I’ve learned this same essential lesson of the shared humanity of all the peoples of Earth. But in that moment it was visceral and present. I was in the heart of Africa. I was returning in comparative luxury because the forefathers of the human family lived and laid down the lives here in these very lands tens of thousands of years ago. I was caught by the Spirit of Africa. Then Ziwwa began singing the 99 verses of the Quran that describe God’s divine attributes. It was powerful and sublime as his rich voice echoed through the decorated walls and domed ceiling of the Mosque. For a moment our respective religious beliefs fell away and we were not Muslims or Christians– but humans. Together. It was beautiful.

I could not have asked for a better beginning to a global journey such that I am on. Even now as I type, driving through the mountains and valleys of Switzerland, I can’t help but reflect on the path I’ve tread. Thank you Mamafrica.

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