Habari za siku nyingi (How are matters after many days). This Swahili greeting was often used by our friends and colleagues as they welcomed us back to Tanzania for a third term. It has been a month since our flight landed in Dar es Salaam. It is with joy that we continue our volunteer positions with World Renew.
Our first responsibilities were to assist in hosting the Co-directors of World Renew – Carol BremerBennett and her husband Theo from the USA and Ida Kaastra- Mutoigo from Canada. Our first week consisted of visiting World Renew Tanzania’s partner organizations. The first was Achama in Dar es Salaam and then visits in the Lake Zone area with Sengerema Informal Sector Association, AICT (African Inland Church of Tanzania) Geita and AICT MUD (pronounced “mood”).The Co-Directors had the opportunity to see the work of World Renew in livelihoods training, agricultural programs, village saving and loans programs and in “land rights” that are supported in this area. Phil and I had the added benefit of seeing the progress made in each of the partner’s activities while we were in Canada for the 3 summer months. All of us listened to wonderful testimonies of transformation that are taking place in the villages and in the lives of people reached through the programs. We witnessed the positive differences in the spiritual, physical and emotional health of the people as well as in the health of the villages. We joined in pray and praise to God with our African friends for the blessings that are taking place.
With the planned partner and village visits completed at the end of the first week, we all headed to the town of Moshe at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro to attend the annual World Renew East Africa Team Meeting that took place the second week of the Co-Directors visit to Tanzania. World Renew’s staff from Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania - 28 people in total - came together to encourage, share the work being done in each country, to pray, and to discuss and plan strategy for the year ahead. We learned much as we participated in dialogue and met the World Renew staff from neighbouring countries. We enjoyed a field day in the middle of the weeklong meeting, where we learned about the principles of Conservation Agriculture at work at the World Vegetable Research Center and the ECHO farm, both located an hour’s drive away from Moshe in Arusha. There is much exciting work to do with an emphasis on Conservation Agriculture over the next 5 years with World Renew’s partners in Kenya and Tanzania. A visit with a local farmer who was putting the Conservation Agriculture principles to work on his 1 ½ acres shamba (farm) capped our day out. (4 Photos below by Theo Bremer-Bennett)
The busy schedule of the first two weeks had us dealing with our jetlag quickly. When we finally unpacked our suitcases at our home in Mwanza in mid-September, we were ready to get back into our work routines. Not only did we spend time with the East Africa Team members but the first two weeks helped us to get acquainted with our new Program Consultant in the Lake Zone area. Paul Kaufman, (who replaced Chris Enns this past August) together with his wife Elizabeth and their 4 young boys are temporarily living in the guesthouse on the compound where we live until repairs are completed to their rental home located in another area of Mwanza. We are looking forward to a great working relationship and having Paul and his family as part of the World Renew Tanzania Team.
Jannetta started her work at the Makongoro Health Centre again. There are several staff changes, although the position of Matron – in –charge has not yet been filled. Jannetta was thrilled to see the start of a major building project to renovate and build a new hospital that will include a small surgical theatre, new laboratory and new outpatient department. It is too early to say when these new buildings will be completed but there is a lot of excitement as we witness the improvements to the Health Care Centre
Phil, Paul and World Renew Tanzania Country Director Jim Zylstra have been busy studying resumes and interviewing Tanzanian candidates for the 2 Mwanza based positions with the new Conservation Agriculture Program. We anticipate an exciting and busy time as this new program funded by the Canadian government moves ahead.
Reasons for Praise:
- We are thankful for the good 3 month visit we had in Canada with family, friends, and supporters in Ontario and Alberta.
- We are thankful for safety and health in our travels this past month to Tanzania and within Tanzania.
- We are thankful for positive and productive East African Team Meetings.
- We are thankful for the big strides we are seeing in the results of the work with the Tanzanian Partners.Please pray for wisdom in the hiring of new staff for the new positions.
Please also pray for the following:
- Pray for a good transition to Tanzania and the work of World Renew for Paul, Elizabeth and their boys.
- Pray for peaceful national elections in Tanzania. Elections take place on Sunday, October 25. Pray for the safety and protection of the Tanzanian World Renew Team as we all leave Tanzania to drive to the World Renew offices in Nairobi, Kenya. We will arrive in Kenya a few days before the Tanzanian elections and expect to return to Mwanza after the final election results have been announced (possibly a week).
- Pray for rain in Tanzania. There has been no rain in the Lake zone area (Mwanza) since May. All the agriculture activities in regards to preparing for planting await the beginning of the short rainy season which typically starts in September. The landscape is dry and barren and even the once lush gardens outside our home are showing drought stress.