We cannot, unlike other countries, send rockets to the moon, but we can send rockets of love and hope to all our fellow men wherever they may.
Tanzania's President Julius Nyerere
Kitty and I are returning to Tanzania. We will be with the Benedictine Sisters of St. Agnes Convent in Chipole. There about 250 sisters living self-sufficiently at the convent. Some are teachers, some cook, some are butchers, some are nurses. One is a doctor, another a dentist. Some are in animal husbandry. All are working to love God in their world and through their work and prayer. Their charism is pray and work and that's what they do, changing from their dark blue work habits to snow white habits as they fill the chapel at prayer time.
There are 250 boarding children in the all girls primary school (grades 1-7) and 250-300 girls in the high school boarding school. There is a trade school and a small clinic and pharmacy on the grounds. The sisters have brought between 50 and 60 orphans to live with them as well. The children bring life to the community and a lot of work. The orphans are new-born to 12 years old. The sisters, Kitty and I will be with the orphans during Christmas vacation, filling their day as most of them will have school vacation. We are starting a library on the grounds, bringing 300 pounds of children's books from the US and buying Kiswahili books from Kenya. It isn't the books we bring, they are only a tool. For us , we are all called by our God to be missionaries. Jesus' mission is the mission of all Christians. When we take that courageous step that our Baptism calls for and jump into fresh water, sharing our brokenness we are missionaries. We become connected, and we are not alone. It is an adventure. Its one's unique, individual leap into chaos pirouetting high into the future and landing on the laps of the expected goodness of God's people.
We will spend a short time visiting friends and encouraging the students we are sponsoring in secondary school in Musoma. We've known these kids since 4th grade. This is a big deal for us and them. This year Cleophas will graduate from high school in November and next year 4 girls will graduate. These students are some of the Aids orphans we were with for 3 1/2 years while we lived in Musoma as Maryknoll Lay Missioners.
Tanzania is a peaceful country! You feel the peacefulness when meeting your first Tanzanian. The country is poor with high unemployment and vast ethnic and religious diversity and with neighboring countries in war and conflict. Yet Tanzania remains peaceful since independence over 40 years ago. Whoever heard of a peaceful country in Africa? If you would ask Tanzanians about their country, they would say," we are poor, there are no jobs, education is too expensive, but we have peace." Peace is a primary value. Peace is integrated in Tanzanians personality. Since independence Tanzania has created a national identity of peacefulness. It is an essential national value. Julius Nyerere, known as Mwalimu (teacher), exemplifies how Tanzania started out in creating a peaceful nation at the time at independence in his "Candle on Kilimanjaro" speech," We the people of Tanganyika would like to light a candle and put it on top of Mount Kilimanjaro which would shine beyond our borders giving hope where there was despair, love where there was hate and dignity where before there was humiliation." Hopefully, as Tanzanian's enter the global economy, they will follow President Nyerere's example and be peacemakers, retaining peace and the promotion of peace as a national core value and showing us that peace can be actuated in all of us.
We plan to write to you from Tanzania as time, electricity and internet access are available. We carry you with us in our hearts and prayers, a part of the adventure. Love, Roger and Kitty If you would like to see pictures from our last visit to Chipole and the orphans click on link below.