I was asked to attend a service in the Cathedral in the morning. Normally every weekday there are prayers, but for the last Friday of the month there is a short communion service. The service was lively and I followed some parts, as it was in Swahili. I was asked near the end to introduce myself, I did my best in Swahili but I also spoke in English, as nearly the entire congregation spoke English.
Arthur, Cannon Francis, the Vicar of the Cathedral and I all grabbed some lunch at the hostel. There were Mandazi, Chapati, eggs and many other bread products. I also had a cup of coffee, the water was heated up in a microwave… Arthur had to quickly go somewhere so I got myself ready for the day and waited for him at the office. I was greeted & greater many different people. I also had a really good conversation with David, who is a young man who just finished his military service.
Arthur was frustrated as we were waiting for others, so he showed me round all the offices and introduced me to various people – but most of the offices were deserted as the people were out in the villages. The Church here does so much for the community, in places replacing in the west what the government would do. They build schools, small boarding training colleges, agriculture advice, health care and much more. The people who use their facilities & services don’t have to be an Anglican, but just live in the diocese of Mara.
After a car changed and some more waiting we set off; Arthur, myself, Cannon Francis and two other men. We drove to Bunda, which is the other large two in Mara, which took over an hour. We collected Joseph, who is the head teacher at a secondary school. After another 15 mins drive, we arrived at the site. There is already a Bible college there, but the church is building a girls boarding school and a Boys Brigade training college. There we met some more officials, including Reverend Helen, who is an Australian lady who has lived n Tanzanian for 30 yrs and is now applying for citizenship. We had a tour of the site, which had several part finished buildings. I was amazed to find 3 months ago the land had not even been cleared for building. The builders worked really hard, even through the midday heat, and they were paid just over £3 for the full day…
We waited around for about 2 hours for a lady from the department of education, this really frustrated Arthur. Finally she arrived and she was shown round the site and asked what they needed to do to be approved for opening. She was also given a small gift, unfortunately that’s life here. We were just leaving when the Bishop arrived. Our car was turned around and we all greater him. After initial greetings he greeted Cannon Francis, myself and the lady from the education dept again. He has an amazing presence and changed the atmosphere entirely.
We drove back to Bunda for a 4 O’clock ‘lunch’, which was some lovely fish & rice. After lunch we drove to Bunda Girls Brigade, which Rev Helen helps to run. The site was amazing, so simple, clean and well constructed. I hope SWIWSCO new building is something like this. The girls are boarders and are taught sowing. I spoke to some of the girls who were cooking and was surprised that several of them were taking my picture on their phones.
We made the journey back to Musoma. I was going to stay at the hostel tonight, so I said my goodbyes and went to buy some Mandazi and fruit. On the way I bumped in the children’s choir, who were practicing outside, and John – who is assistant director of the youth department. After I introduced myself to the children, he very proudly took me to their offices and showed me their brilliant filing system and plans to build a centre for the children. The children are vulnerable children in the area, that are given extra tuition for free on a Saturday morning and some of them are also in the choir. We then looked at the site for the centre. The building began in 2010/11 but only some of the walls are constructed as money has been difficult to find, they need 52,000,000 ts to finished everything (£20,600/$32,200). The site will include classrooms, offices, IT room, library and a canteen.
I am amazed at the work that the church is carrying out. They are doing so much good for their community, but its sad that they have to do this while the government keep large sums of money raised through a flourishing tourism industry. The people of Musoma have been so welcoming and friendly to me, I couldn’t have imagined o would get this kind of reception, when all I’m doing is visiting.