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Episcopal church shares celebration of Tamasha La Wa Africa with Abilene community

The Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest hosted its second annual Tamasha la wa Africa, the Celebration of Africa, over the weekend. The event featured a variety of traditional African cultural demonstrations to honor and celebrate the African community of Abilene. This year’s theme Pamoja, means “community together” in Swahili.

African countries including Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, were among the African nations represented at this year’s Tamasha la wa Africa. One attendee, Bijoux Mashauri was born in Burundi, and moved to the United States in 2017. She says the church and its efforts to highlight her culture has made her feel welcome, "It is very special, we cannot forget our culture and we have to show people how we used to live there.” Mashauri encourages everyone to pass down their culture and traditions to the next generation.

The weekend event showcased culture such as games and food, as well as traditional ways to carry babies and buckets of water.

David Ekombe is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo and now serves as a secretary and translator at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest. He says the event is a celebration of the many different cultures and traditions represented by Abilene’s African refugees and immigrants, “We are new here in America, so we have to learn how people live. But also people have to know who we are.”

He says the event is important to help the community remember who they are and the countries they come from.