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Three years ago, travelers to Iringa didn’t realize they would be the last Saint Paul Area Synod guests for a while. By the end of March 2020, The Lutheran Center was temporarily closed. Later that year, the staff went on half salary, and later still, a number of workers were laid off. The staff that remained agreed to be cross trained for any work that needed to be done. Housekeepers and managers prepared meals together, and washed dishes together. Night watchmen helped the housekeepers turn over rooms when guests vacated them. It was “all hands on deck” to accomplish whatever needed to be done. For many months during the pandemic, the staff endured the slower tourist economy.
Last year, the guests began to return. Local travelers booked rooms, one or two nights at a time. Finally, almost 50 Bega Kwa Bega travelers visited during 2022.
This month, we have 80 BKB travelers visiting Iringa. Many of them are enjoying the hospitality of The Lutheran Center. The staff have been awesome. On the nights that the groups arrive from Dar, the staff stays late to serve a welcoming dinner. They help load luggage onto and off buses. They hustle to fix anything that’s broken. Harrison remembers your breakfast order and preferences, placing the jam and condiments near you before you even have to ask for them.
In my visits this year, I’ve noticed a spirit of camaraderie among the staff. Getting through hard times together, doing whatever needs doing, they work together in cheerful harmony.
Tuti, Addy, Harrison, Frank, Devotha, Leticia, Sophia, Kapaito, Juhudi, and Daudi – Asante sana! Thank you for your splendid hospitality!
Director of Bega Kwa Bega