I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer. I want to inform you I will not be going to Tanzania this season. I will be having a hernia repaired, and will need the time to recover. I will returning to St Philip’s sometime in February or March of 2023. I’ll keep you informed once I have more details to share. Thank you all!
This is the shed outside of the kitchen where most of the cooking takes place. The smokiness of the cooking shed has always bothered me because so much gets inhaled. When it’s windy, the smoke is pushed right into the kitchen and it is filled with smoke. We hoped to alleviate some of this smoke by modifying the roof.
I am standing between the kitchen and the cooking shed. Goodluck is starting to cut the first hole while Gracewell looks on.
Notice the hat Goodluck is wearing. I gave him my hat because all kinds of soot and ash were coming down as we were banging on the roof.
Here, you can see Goodluck using masonry to cut into the steel roof. Usually, I would use a big old screwdriver, but this is what we have. You see, I learn from them what to use when there is very little to choose from.
Final hole, and just a little snip from the cutters, and the job is complete. Look at the nice blue sky!
Here are the four holes. We will move the two fires back into the shed and we will see what happens.
From the inside, it looks like the smoke is now rising through the holes in the roof. Another successful project!
The next thing we have to do is make four hatches that can be opened from inside the shed. The biggest challenge I see is to make the hatches watertight. Remember they have a very heavy rainy season from December to February.
One day, we had to dig up a water faucet pipe that brought water to a few dorms. We discovered that the pipe had a crack and had to be repaired. I thought it’d be an easy fix – cut the cracked portion out and put a new piece in – NOT! We had no half-inch piping, so I said plastic pipe should go right on and we clamp it down with wire. The next problem was the plastic pipe was too small to slide over the steel pipe.
What happened next was amazing! Gracewell built a small fire near the worksite to heat the steel pipe. Then, Goodluck held the pipe while Gracewell slid the plastic over the steel pipe. Then, they tied a very strong piece of baling string to hold the two pieces together.
Gracewell picked up the fire with his shovel and deposited it right next to the work. The next piece of steel piping to be heated was the supply line buried in the dirt. I held the pipe in the fire by stepping on it. We then connected the pipes the same way.
They poured water on the two unions to cool them down. Then, we tested for leaks and found one small leak. We twisted a wire on it like a tourniquet to tighten the pieces together. The leak stopped and we put it all back together. Now the students have a working outdoor faucet to use. We will return later to put a cement cap over the ground around the faucet.
This showed me how they make do with what they have. It was terrific to see the problem solved in such an unorthodox manner.
I’ve made it back to St. Phillip’s Theological College, here in Kongwa, Tanzania! I had the pleasure of traveling to St. Phillip’s with Wendy Broadbent. Wendy has been working with the college on a program to help empower seminarians to work with village families to advocate for children with disabilities. Arriving at St Philip’s was so heartwarming. Some staff and students came out to welcome us right away. It’s so good to be back after over two years.
Thanks to your many kind donations, I was able to bring so many useful things: 2 cordless drills, 3 tarps, 109 pairs of glasses, 24 rubber stair treads, tennis balls, adjustable wrenches, several C-clamps, a pair of 4″ wooden dice for children’s games, 78 toothbrushes and toothpaste, 24 T-shirts, a solid rubber tire for the wheelbarrow, and patterns for a cradle and a rocking horse. I am especially excited to help them learn to use the patterns.
Now I’ll tell you about getting all these donations here. I had everything in three suitcases as usual, and I was following all the airlines’ rules…but only as far as reaching Amsterdam. The airline representative at baggage check explained that, while they can check and transport an 80-pound suitcase, it’s a different story once I get to Amsterdam. Had I sent the 80-pound suitcase through, the baggage handlers in Amsterdam would have sent it right back to Boston, no questions asked! Fortunately, Wendy was able to take a bunch of the donations in her bags. Thank the Lord!
It is amazing how resourceful these people are! The children make up games with whatever is available. For one game, they draw a big circle in the dirt and put several metal soda caps in the middle. Then, the kids scour the area for the perfect stone. They take turns trying to knock the bottle caps out of the circle. At the end of the game, the one with the most caps wins.
Thank you for continuing to follow my story and the work we’re doing. Please continue reading, praying, and sharing this blog.
I’ve finally gotten word from the Episcopal missions leaders that I can return to doing His work in Tanzania! It will have been a full two years since I was evacuated home in March 2020. I will be resuming my role in maintenance and building improvements at the St. Phillips Theological College in Kongwa, Tanzania. I will be leaving in mid-March and returning in mid-June.
My home church, St. James Church in North Providence, RI, has been sponsoring two students, a husband and wife, for the three years of their seminary education. I feel so honored to be able to attend their graduation in June. I’m honored to represent St. James Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island, and the American Episcopal Church.
On Saturday, March 5 at 5 PM and on Sunday, March 6 at 9:30 AM, Father John, from St James, will offer a special departure blessing at Eucharist. I am inviting you all to this blessing, and I hope to see many of you.Thank you all for your support. I will work hard to keep you informed about my mission work.