Current Newsletter - May 2006
News letter #11
Amefufuka, amefufuka, kweli, kweli
He is risen, he is risen, indeed, indeed.
These are the words breathed forth in the Easter Celebration. For the third year in a row we went to the Easter Service at a Maasai church about four hours from Dodoma near the town of Morogoro. Our friend, Herb Hafermann, is an American Lutheran pastor who has evangelized the Maasai for more than forty years. He baptized 33 new members this Easter. The music and service were moving as you will be able to see on the accompanying video and pictures. We took with us Ruth Shock, an Anglican priest from Liverpool, England, who spent a three month sabbatical teaching Church History and John’s Book of Revelation to the students at Msalato. We also took Erasto Molel, a second-year Maasai student from northernTanzania. Maasai love to meet members of other clans and they welcomed him with open arms, keeping him with them for nearly a week. Erasto related to me that the Maasai near Morogoro have an accent!
The next day we moved on to Dar-es-Salaam, where Ruth departed for a short trip to Zanzibar. Martin was looking for some microbiological media and equipment but because Easter Monday is a holiday here he found little to do. Tuesday was a fairly successful day going from shop to shop to see what was available. Readily available medical supplies are just not on the Tanzanian horizon. The supply links in the US are phenomenal by comparison.
Our next objective was to visit two small hospitals in the Moshi region. These hospitals are supported by the Lutheran church. The Lutherans claim to provide 18% of the health care in Tanzania and they are especially strong in the Northeast around Kilimanjaro. This area was colonized by the Germans beginning as early as the 1850’s. These hospitals seemed to be doing quite well. They refer to another larger Lutheran regional hospital, KCMC-Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center in Moshi where they have one of the three medical schools in Tanzania.
Our other objective was to celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary. This we did by staying at a nice hotel and visitingArusha National Park. This park is a little off the beaten path as tourists go on to the Serengeti in the west or elsewhere. However, it is remarkable for scenery as it is on the slopes of Mount Meru, the other high peak next Kilimanjaro. There were lots of giraffes and Cape buffalo. There were no impala or wildebeests and therefore no big cats. However, we did see the black and white colobus monkey, bush buck, and water buck. The guide was good at identifying birds at an incredible distance. In the afternoon we took a nature walk and got quite close to some giraffes. Sandra, crossing a log, took a dive into a shallow mud hole. There was quite a splash. She popped right back up for fear of snakes and dried out rather quickly. Something to remember our 34th by!
We drove back to Morogoro on the next day. On the way we went through one of the hardest rains we have ever experienced. The good news it that many parts of Tanzania have gotten rain and their crops are doing well. The bad news is that, that hasn’t been the case in the immediate region of Msalato.
Back home the food distribution program is continuing. I have included a short film clip of one of the distributions. In the last news letter Martin inadvertently used spell check for Dodoma and came up with Doom. Excuse that please, but unfortunately the lack of rain spells famine for this part of Tanzania and it seems a fitting name.
On April 30th, we went to Chilonwa with one of the students from the college. This town is about 45 kilometers fromDodoma. Sandra preached on doubting Thomas and was well received. We were presented with a special treat. A famous dance troup, yes famous, they have traveled to Europe, came and sang and danced in the service. Mr. Mchoya is their leader, a recent convert to Christianity (eight years ago). He is noted for helping people in this area. After the service, they put on the full regalia and sang and danced some more. They specialize in the authentic tribal dances of the Wagogo tribe. I had a front row seat to capture this on video and it is worth it to view the short clip. Sorry I could not send more but the upload speeds from here are very slow. It was simply phenomenal to be with them.
On another topic, in mid-April Bishop Neil Alexander and Reverend Charlie Roper went to East Atlanta for the blessing of the closing of the container at Medshare. Their blessing and financing by the Atlanta Diocese will be appreciated by the Diocese of Central Tanganyika. As you may know this organization collects medical supplies and equipment in a huge warehouse and sends containers to developing countries. Medical supplies are for the two hospitals and one health clinic in the diocese. Also Msalato Theological College has, through the efforts of Rev. Paul Elliot, been given over twelve hundred volumes of theological books. These fill sixty boxes on the container. Paul is living next door to us and hopes to see those books unloaded before he leaves Msalato at the end of June. Many friends in Columbus helped fill out the container with gifts of clothing and other material goods for the people here. Martin is working with the clearing agent in Dar-es-Salaam to get the container through customs. Please pray that there are not any crippling delays in the process.
We are also looking forward to the arrival of Sherry and Tom Wade and Ann Burr, dear friends from our parish of St. Thomas. They will be with us from June 20-26, helping us celebrate Msalato’s graduation day on Sunday, June 25.
Yours in Christ,
Sandra and Martin McCann