Mama Flo and I drove to Kibosho today, to attend a children’s mass. Kibosho is west of Uru and the church we traveled to had been built decades ago by missionaries. Its sanctuary rivals some Chicago churches in size and I marveled at the stain glass windows throughout. While it had all the familiar landmarks of a Catholic church, it was also uniquely African. Most enjoyable was the choir that sang most of the mass, acapella to an African drumbeat, with all their hearts and voices. I marvel wherever I go, at the passion and pride that the children in particular bring to everything they do.
This church also offers a primary school, and this is where Mama Flo attended school in her childhood. She shared some reminiscences with me, as we walked the expansive grounds edged by banana trees. One nun skeptically informed her that she didn’t believe Florentina would pass “Form 6” into Secondary school. In typical Florentina style, she responded, “that’s ok… I want to drive a taxi anyway!” That was a statement meant to shock the Sister, as it was the farthest thing from a typical female job that Flo could think of. It had the desired affect on the Sister.
But Florentina said the conversation also served to secretly motivate her. She was determined to prove this nun wrong and EVERYONE was shocked again when the parish priest showed up to inform the Sister that Florentina had finished FIRST in her required examinations, in all of Kilimanjaro. Florentina was cautioned, though, “Do Not Be Proud, Florentina… but you are going to Secondary School.”
And so, Florentina avoided life as a taxi driver… and the rest is history.