We started the day joining the ordinands at St . Philip’s Theological College for morning chapel, although Stephen and I didn’t understand very much of what was happening. But it was a simple chapel and the early morning temperature was lovely on the slopes of the hills, before the later heat on the plains below where the village of Matongoro is situated.
A 90 minute drive from the college, although a stop on the way to meet up with the Archbishop of Tanzania and about 7 of his staff team, and then on to the village where we arrived to be greeted by a choir singing outside the church accompanied by African drums.
But the large congregation that had assembled had to wait whilst we were given a 2nd breakfast of chippatis and lamb (we both said a polite no to the meat!). Only then could we join those gathered, and speeches, choirs from various churches singing and more speeches then took at least two hours, during which time the congregation was challenged to grasp change and transformation, and we were thanked numerous times for being there.
Lunch of even more meat, or rice and roast potatoes, was followed by a tour of the group of villages in the parish. It had become clear that the Archbishop was keen for the first CCMP in Mpwapwa Diocese to start in this community because this was where he was born, and we began the tour by going to his primary school. He was shocked by the state of it, but the second primary school we went to see was even worse, children having to sit on dirt floors or stones as they were not enough benches and desks, even with 5 to a bench made for two maximum. Children with no shoes, no school library, very few school books, and insufficient teachers to cover the basic subjects. It makes you weep to see it.
We also saw where water pumps had been installed but not maintained, and so the people were left without access to any clean water, and the dispensary/surgery, where the labour bed was not somewhere you would want your child to start life. The solar panels had broken a couple of years ago, and as a new child doesn’t wait for daylight, if it was dark a kerosene lamp had to be used!
More speeches before we left, but by now it was about 7pm and was going dark, and we had a long and bumpy journey back to the college. Linda, the tutor from England had got us a dongle with internet credit on it, but we failed to get a good enough connection, so the blogs will have to wait until tomorrow when we hope to get online at the Diocesan offices, as we are spending the day with the Archbishop and his staff looking at the way forward in the light of our visit today.
A very positive, fascinating, tiring and emotionally draining day, so I must get to bed and try to get some sleep, although it is a bit too warm and the cicadas are very noisy outside – just to make you all wish you were here. We are not missing the grey wet and cold weather of the UK!
Sorry photos will have to wait due to the lack of Internet – so do plan to be at St. Stephen’s on 30th March when Stephen and I will share about our visit, with photos, and the Archbishop of Tanzania will be there to speak and sign a Memorandum of Understanding between us, the Diocese of Mpwapwa and Tearfund.