Monday, July 23, 2012

Day Of Obligation

Twice a month in Kiabakari everybody, regardless of one's creed or belief, celebrates a "day of obligation" when people gather in one place around a sizable tree. This day of obligation is called - a market day (siku ya mnada - in swahili language). The dates on which this day of obligation falls are - each 6th and 23rd day of each month...

People from as far as 20-30 kilometers come by foot, some even from farther away by cars, trucks, lorries, bicycles and motorcycles, to participate in this special day to sell or buy when almost everything is on offer - from simple foodstuffs, through clothes, livestock, games, audio video stuff, food, drinks, earthenware, kitchenware, tools, you name it.

On this day of obligation all other activities practically stop in the area. Even lessons in government schools are different as everybody wants to go the market. In my mission the situation is the same. I never plan any activities on this day apart from daily Mass, unless these days fall on Sundays or feast days. Then it is a choice of conscience for many. Some come to the morning Mass and the  go to the market. Some simply go to the market altogether forgetting who they are. Of course, not everybody goes to the market. Myself, I never go, as when I was younger and was going there out of curiosity, it wasn't very pleasant experience, as I was well known to people and everybody wanted me to buy from them, pulling me here and there, shouting my name. Forget about covert visit!

So, today is the day of obligation in Kiabakari. I celebrated the morning Mass and will stay home, trying to speed up my recovering process. But my volunteers and the housekeeper will go for their own reasons and needs.

We may need to rewrite the Church Commandments here in Kiabakari. Perhaps adding to the First Commandment the annotation that the day of obligation includes a market day as well, on which everyone is supposed to attend the market activities.

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