Sep 2018 visit by Dirk Juttner
Having lived and worked in Tanzania for three years, and returned to visit the CMM Sisters and the Diocese of Masasi every year for 15 years, I become more and more convinced that what is needed is expertise. The population on my first visit in 1966 was 10 million, and is now 50 million, this number being inflated by refugees from the eight surrounding countries bordering on Tanzania who see the country as being more peaceful and prosperous than their own. With such a rapidly increasing population the government rightfully sees the importance of health and education to maintain this success. This clearly involves providing more hospitals and schools, and the building programme is going well, although sometimes hampered by over ambitious targets and regulations. But as I said above, I feel what is needed is expertise. it would be good to see more resources put into providing tertiary education to train experts such as doctors, nurses, teachers, accountants, and administrators, to mention just a few, in all the professions, to man the institutions and develop the country.
Turning to the state of the Anglican Church, it is wonderful to see the increase in the number of Christians, but one should not underestimate the rapid growth and influence of Islam. The young people in Tanzania make up 63% of the population. Each year 900,000 try to find work, but only 60,000 are successful in finding a job. As all are now keen to have their children well educated, there is real competition for jobs in the workplace.
During my visit to the Sisters and the Diocese of Masasi this year, for just over four weeks, I was able to visit seven of the eleven houses, some of which are hundreds of miles apart and am extremely grateful to the CMM for making the travel arrangements between the houses so efficiently, for providing at least one Sister to care for me on the buses, and cars to take me to their houses.
However, sadly, the Sisters' nursery school building in Maili Sita has come to a halt as the government requirements mean that is has to be more than twice the planned size to conform to their latest model. This is clearly not possible with the amount of money that has been donated for this project. It may take years to complete.
The sixteen girls in the hostel are doing well, with much of their food grown by the girls themselves with the help of the Sisters. They now have quite a number of chickens, some pigs, a cow and a calf, and they have started building rabbit hutches, which they hope to fill soon. This makes them almost self sufficient. - After designing a logo for the hostel a donor made 20 T-shirts for the girls. The girls were thrilled with them and couldn't wait to put them on.
The Sisters' Health Station in Sayuni is now almost complete and operating well. With the new ambulance, patients who cannot be treated there can now be taken to a hospital. The hope is that more Sisters will be trained as nurses and midwives as most patients ask for one of the Sisters to be present while they are treated. There are some Sisters in training, and it is hoped that they will be qualified as nurses and midwives at some time in the future. New vocations are coming forward but not in the numbers of past years.
In the Diocese of Masasi things are going well, and Bishop James, who has a enormous amount of energy, is leading the diocese forward in many ways. The boys’ seminary in Rondo has a new headmaster, who is settling down well. A new computer classroom has just been fully equipped and IT is being taught. The preparations in Rondo for training the ordinands from the five dioceses in the Southern Zone of the country who are coming next year are well in hand.
Basically, progress is being made in all areas, though the multitude of strict regulations and demands of the government are hampering faster progress, especially with regard to building regulations.
It is always a great joy to meet old friends again and see their happy faces. In Africa the people are always smiling, whatever their circumstances. They are so much happier with the little they have, than we are who have too much.
I am so grateful to the Sisters for making my visit this year such a success again, and for all their kindness, and it was good to be able to come back to England with Sr. Debora in response to an invitation from friends in York. - We should be proud of the way in which the Sisters maintain and care for the Health Station, the nursery school, the girls hostel, the water harvesting tanks, the agricultural machinery, 'William's Well', the farm animals, the irrigation systems and all the other facilities that we and our generous supporters have provided. I also greatly admire the dedication of the Sisters, who live a very simple life, with a very basic diet in order to devote as much of their resources as possible to the women and children of Tanzania and Zambia whom they help.
The Sisters are in good spirits, working hard and praying for a better world. May God bless them in doing His will.