It is the cusp of evening and everything around me is the color of sunset.The air is becoming cool as the afternoon heat recedes, and the sounds of night are only moments away. I am grateful for this pause between day and night, inviting me to reflect on the day and the people in it. As images rise to mind it is the seemingly small and inconsequential that now become significant.
I spent the day with Alphonse, our project coordinator, sitting on the patio in a preliminary planning meeting. We reviewed the status of our water project… what has been done and what still needs to be done… and developed an Agenda for this Friday’s meeting with the Uru East Water Board. We also discussed the current and future roles to be played by this Board, the Uru community, our drilling company and by ICBD for the sustainable management of the borehole.
We were joined periodically by Mama Florentina Masawe, the president of the Water Board and our hostess here in Moshi town. The discussions were thoughtful, with opinions and concerns being expressed sometimes carefully, other times more passionately.
In the midst of one such conversation, Alphonse asked for permission to retrieve a fruit from an overhead tree. I looked up, noticing for the first time what I thought to be several oranges growing high above us. With permission granted, Alphonse raised a nearby rake with one hand and expertly removed two fruits, allowing them to drop one after another into his other waiting hand.
As he offered one of the small fruits to me, I realized with delight that it wasn’t an orange at all, but a tangerine. I peeled it open immediately, pondering the idea that I had sat a number of times on this patio and had failed to notice these tangerines above me. How many other delights had I missed, in my preoccupation with thoughts or tasks at hand? I savored the tangerine, appreciating both the taste and the lesson offered.
In the orange light of sunset, I am reminded of this afternoon’s tangerine taste… of the yellow African finches flitting in the bushes as I ate and talked… and of the tiny grasshopper that made the young house girl Fatuma, smile her beautiful smile. I can ‘hear’ Alphonse’s laugh and see in my mind’s eye, the motion of his hand catching the falling tangerines. And in the hush at close of day, I am happy for the small things, that fill my grateful heart.