Echo 2 religion: perspectives from Ulaya Kibaoni

16th November 2017

Acceptance and understanding

Every person we asked said that they accept all beliefs however some were conditional such as UK volunteer Kevin said, “I can tolerate all religions as long as they do not hurt me, my family or any other people”. In contrast to this most people said that although they accepted all other religions, they did not understand them all. For example Tanzanian volunteer Henry commented, “I understand people have different beliefs for different reasons but I do not always understand these reasons.” Although we may not understand other people’s beliefs and what they follow, we can still respect and tolerate this so that everyone can believe in what they like and we can live alongside each other peacefully in the same global community.

Henry (left), In-Country Volunteer, and Kevin (right), UK Volunteer in Ulaya Kibaoni, Kilosa

Peace and tolerance

During our 6 weeks in the village so far, we have noticed a varied mix of religious followers and buildings within the village. Additionally, noticed how there is a lack of conflict within the village based off of religious differences. When asked if these Tanzanian communities set an example for the rest of the world most inhabitants of the village said yes and were proud to show off the tolerance and peacefulness between different religions in one community.

Shida – a homestay mama explained, “There are different tribes living within the village and there is no conflict as everyone shares the different buildings within the community despite their religion.” This is a good example of how everyone can respect each others beliefs within a small community and the importance of this not creating arguments within different groups of people.

Homestay mama Shida in Ulaya Kibaoni, Kilosa.

This unity between religions surprised Kevin who said that the community peace in Ulaya Kabaoni “throws tolerance out of the water”. Mosques and churches are built in proximity and the community get along so well. This shows how Tanzanian communities set a good example for the rest of the world in terms of peace and prosperity between differing beliefs.

Importance of religion and tolerance

The four interviewees agreed that religion is of high importance both in the Ulaya Kabaoni community and in all communities over the world. Henry stated, “People listen more to preachers in election time over polititicians – that shows the power of religious leaders in influencing peoples mindframes.”

 

Meanwhile, our youngest  interviewee Angel is 16 and lives in Ulaya Kibaoni expressed that in the future she would be more open to religion, but not currently. However, she agreed with Henry, saying, “Religion can change peoples behaviour and lifestyles for the better showing the positive outcomes of people having a similar belief.

Angel, 16, homestay dada (sister) in Ulaya Kibaoni, Kilosa.

Shida, also expanded on this view, “Religion means that people help each other out and reduces conflicts within the world.”

 

On the otherhand Kevin disagreed with this argument and explained, “Religion is not important as people can tolerate each other regardless of their religious beliefs. From the experience of living in village,Tanzanian culture embodies unity so everyone gets along – therefore trust and positivity is shown through culture and not religion.”

 

In conclusion, these opinions it shows how religion is a very large part of the world and has a great impact on people’s lives. However when differing beliefs are present, it is still important that everyone respects each others views and religious followings. Tolerance is a large part of respect of one another and allowing others to live the lives that they want in order to live in peace. Tanzanian communities are good examples of this where every person is as important as the next despite what they believe in. This is a mindframe that should be carried out all over the world where constant problems and blaming are arising because of differing religions and views. Echo 2 believes showing communities respecting one another promotes hope for a more promising and sustainable future.

 

Words by Echo 2. Images by Echo 2.

 

 


Youth Economic Empowerment Tanzania