Return to Tanzania delayed to March 2020

Hi everyone,

I am sorry to share that I’m not returning to St. Philips in Tanzania this month. I developed four (4) skin abscesses in August due to an infection. They were all removed by a surgeon – one required general anesthesia. The wounds would not be 100% healed in time for my return to Tanzania. So, I decided to stay home in the states to allow the wounds to heal completely, where I knew I had great medical care available.

At this time, my primary care doctor is really glad to see the wounds are healing and in good condition. He also assured me they were unrelated to my trips to Tanzania.

I plan to return to St. Philips to continue my work in March 2020. I will be in touch beforehand so you can follow our progress at St. Philips.

Godspeed,

Peter

Pete is home!

Hi everyone,

Pete’s friend and website admin Holly here. Pete is home in RI, safe and sound. Please give him a couple days to rest before texts and emails. We appreciate your prayers and support!

Best,

Holly

Last Post from Tanzania

On Tuesday 5/28 Wendy, Sebi, and I hired a driver and van to go to Uganda. The van had lots of room for us and had air conditioning. We left early on Tuesday, traveled about 12 hours, and stayed at a nice, clean hotel. We ended up just south of Lake Victoria. There was not much hot water but it was good enough. On the way I noticed that everything was so green. Sebi, a professor, explained that they had gotten more rain than usual during the rainy season.

The next day, we got to see Lake Victoria quite a few times on our travel north.

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We had breakfast at a little place just off the road. We got friendly with the waitress and joked with her. I taught her a new word – SUPA! On the way out, she told us to please stop on the way back. We continued our travel to the school where Sebi’s wife is a nurse. The school sits on a hill with a very nice view. About 500 students attend the school from age 12 through 16/17. The little that we saw of it was quite nice. We had planned to stop and spend the night on the way back.

Our next stop was the Equator. We stayed there a little while and took some pictures. We continued our travel in Uganda. We stopped and saw St. Paul’s Cathedral located in Kampala. That night, we traveled to Namugongo, the site of the Martyrs Museum in the far end of Kampala. We got a good night’s sleep and went straight to the museum the next day. While waiting, we saw people having their hands sprayed and temperatures check. We figured this was happening because there was a break out of Ebola in Congo, a country boarding Uganda. I was quite pleased to see Uganda being proactive in an effort to keep people from catching the deadly disease.

At the museum, we had our own private tour guide who is also a seminarian student. He was very knowledgeable about the martyrs and was easy to understand. The Martyrs were a group of 45 Christians that we brutally killed between 1886 and 1897 because the chief did not like the Christians thinking they were coming to take their land. Inside the museum, no pictures are permitted. People would walk hundreds of miles from Kenya, Tanzania, Congo and other countries to pay homage to these people. The figures were so lifelike and made of clay and cement. This event is not commercialized so there were no pamphlets or books sold on the grounds about the Martyrs. This was a very moving depiction of true Christians dying for what they believed in. Nearby, people waited in long lines to get water from the stream, where the tribesmen washed up and cleaned their weapons after the killings. We were there two days before the actual event took place and it was filling up fast.

We then started our return trip to Kongwa and had to go through Kampala again. I was fascinated by all the motorcycle taxis called Bodaboda. There are no lanes on the road, no traffic police, and no traffic lights. The joke is, there are stop signs but they are not obeyed. So it is simply every vehicle for its self. You can not be timid and get through this city. It is not for the fainthearted.

Continuing on, we stopped at Sebi’s wife’s school for tea. We were going to stay overnight, but that would have meant our driver would have to drive over twenty (20) hours on Sunday. After a shortened visit, we went back on the road. Again, everything was so green, it was really beautiful. We spent the night at the same hotel as we did on the first night of our trip. We stopped a few times. We bought fruit to take back to St. Philips.

On another stop, we saw how they dried rice in the sun, before taking it to the mill. They had traps spread out on the ground, I would estimate over an acre of space was covered. They would spread the rice out and after it dried they would bag it and take it to the mill to have the shells removed. Believe me there was a lot of work here.

Our next stop, we visited with some long-horned cows. Of course, I wanted touch their horns and I was able to!

We got back to St. Philips at about 8pm, and Hawa had a nice dinner ready for us. We said a prayer thanking the Lord for a safe journey.

It is now Sunday afternoon, and I am going outside with a dozen tennis balls and jump ropes to watch the children play. On Monday, my last day of work, I will have someone to interpret a final good bye to Amos and Goodluck, the two men I’ve been working with. On Tuesday morning, I will start my 34 hour journey home.

Thank you for following me and my adventure. See you all soon.

Godspeed,

Peter

More Productivity

We finished putting in the window in the Building Workshop. Now, there is better light and ventilation in the shop. We also put in a loft so we can keep the different rolls of screening, wire mesh, and long pieces of gutter up there. We also hung up the ten hoes and 5 or 6 different rolls of wire on the wall.

I met with Agripa and showed him the new look of the Building Workshop. He liked it because now you could see what you are looking for and it was organized. We talked about making another recycling run. I also suggested to get the students involved by having them bring any metal they may have or find on campus and leave it outside the workshop fence. He liked the idea and would think about it.

The remaining projects he has given me all require money: 1) paint Westgate, 2) remove and refresh the principal’s outside door, 3) replace all the broken glass in the classroom building, office area, and kitchen, 4) replace broken glass in Wendy’s room. In all there are about 35 panes of glass to replace. Agripa was going to look into these and get back to me.

We took Agripa’s door off and put up some corrugated roofing to close the entrance way. While making and replacing a few parts of the door, I found a can of varnish to apply to the door when ready. The vertical pieces of wood had shrunken and allowed water inside when it rained. We found some wood and cut it to size to place over the seams. Then followed that up with 3 coats of varnish. I liked fact that the wood we used to cover the seams was lighter and showed up very nicely when the door was finished. The tough part was putting the door back into position. I think we may have moved the door jamb just a bit when securing the corrugated roofing, because it was a real bear getting that door to hang correctly. After awhile, we got it done. Agripa liked the new look of the door and so did a few other people.

On Saturday 5/11, they held a Walk-a-thon for parents of children with disabilities. Wendy teaches this class on empowering parents of children with disabilities, to get their child into the educational system. It is a law in Tanzania that these children be included in the classroom, but it gets more complicated. There were about 300-350 people in attendance. The walk ended at St. James Church, where we saw 3 or 4 skits and heard various groups perform songs written for the occasion.

There was a water leak in a wall on the back side of Mess (dining hall) that we needed to find. Amos found the rotten pipe, but we did not know the source of the water. After walking around, we found the source at the opposite end of the building. There were 4 showers involved, but should we fix them all? I made an executive decision to terminate the water to these showers because, as far as we knew no one used them. As of now we have had no complaints about the showers not operating. It looks like we may have saved a bit of money.

Agripa told me to get ready to replace the broken glass. So, I had the guys measure 32 windows and prepare them for new glass. There were a few more about the campus that I needed to replace at the same time. Agripa was going to go to Dodoma and pick up glass and paint. While we waited, I had Goodluck install four cement steps on four homes.

On Saturday the 18th the sink at Westgate got clogged. I tried a few different ways to clear it, but nothing worked. Believe me, I did not want to try and take this antique apart because it will only go downhill from there. Well, I was right. It ended up that we had to take the drain pipe out because it was buried in cement and it was broken. We got everything dismantled and Mika made a list of parts we needed but there was no money to pay for the parts. So it sits there waiting for the parts.

We got the glass and put in 16 pains in the classroom building in 2 days along with the glass in the office area. Then we put the glass in the kitchen area. We started at 5am because they start at 6:30am and I did not want to be in their way while working. It worked out quite well and my guys went home early because they started early.

I found an old piece of glass in the Building Workshop and I was able to cut 3 panes of glass for the workshop window. I will have the guys put them in next week.

I am leaving for a 5-day trip to Uganda. I have no idea what I will see, but I’m excited to see it!

Godspeed,
Peter

Holy Week in Tanzania

The students did a great job of decorating the chapel. The choir had the same material for their dresses and shirts. The Easter Sunday service was joyful and the music was uplifting. There seminary students wore some festive shirts and dresses, but I’d really expected more. The remainder of the day was quite relaxing.

Monday was the national holiday for celebrating Easter. So at the school on Holy Week there had been no work on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Saturday, Easter Sunday and Monday. Five days — I could not believe it plus there was one national holiday for the next two weeks.

Amos and Goodluck completed the pressure washing of Westgate and they did a SUPA job. They laid on their stomachs on the flat roof and did a great job of removing the black around that end of the building.

Tanzania had a very poor rainy season, very little rain. So, the college is going to be buying 80 sacks of maize (corn) that they will ground up, because the price just continues to rise each day. So we had to hurry and get the two containers emptied and ready to accept the maize. As we emptied the containers, all paper work was to be put in Westgate to be sorted out. The container that was going to be used for the maize had to be swept and we decided to put 3×8 sheets of metal on the entire floor. The reasons for covering the floor was: 1) to keep the insects out and 2) to keep air from entering the container. Once we obtain the maize then we will have to treat it to keep the bugs at bay. So this hurry-up job has turned into hurry-up-and-wait job. We were scheduled to get the 80 sack on Saturday 4/27 and it was finally delivered on Thursday 5/2 – that’s Tanzania time for you!

On Sunday 4/28 we celebrated Janet’s retirement. She first came in 2005 from the UK for a six-month mission and stayed 14 years. They had a very nice service and the chapel was packed. Following the service they had a party. Many people came to say good bye. The kids, which Janet loves, did a couple of songs for her. The party was good with many well-wishers present. Again, the students did a good job of decorating and the kitchen crew did a good job. Janet will be missed by all, but life goes on.

On Monday, I sent Goodluck up to Douglas’ house to do, what I had expected would be a small repair. As usual, it turned out to take two trips to complete the job. At the same time Amos did some welding at the shop. When they both finished, I had to send them down to Janet’s house to unclog her sewer line. Luckily for all, the job did not take too long. On Tuesday, we finished a lot of jobs. First Goodluck finished his job at Douglas’s house and Amos finished his welding job at the shop. Then, they worked together to make two small roof repairs at the workshop. Then we finished up the day by putting in a window in the Building workshop. This was the only shop that did not have a window and it was quite dark. I have included a few pictures but notice they used a chain to cut the bricks on the side walls. Overall, this was a SUPA day because of how much work that was needed to be done got done. Also, we had no emergencies to interrupt our work.

Godspeed,
Peter

Easter Blessing

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Another Easter is upon us!

Remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who willingly suffered and died for our sins! Without this supreme sacrifice where would we be – still in sin. BUT with this sacrifice we are free to no longer live in sin.

From a message written by Father Musa Yamo, “…together let us think of the ways of lifting other fellows who are still living in sin… To stretch generous hands to those who need help and encouragement. We have to pray for the growth of Christianity all over the world… We have to pray for peace and love to prevail. To love one another and not to harm others with what we say, or do and what decisions we make each day. We have to encourage those who are weak and losing their faith to be strong in Jesus Christ.”

Remember, we all sin but we are free to ask for the Lord’s forgiveness.

Enjoy your Easter celebrating the Lord’s love and forgiveness.

Godspeed,

Peter

New Projects

Now the Cow Project is done and my boss, Agripa, thinks it came out “supa!” Our next project is pressure washing and painting Westgate. When I told my boss in NY what I was going to do next, she said good luck, no pun intended, that is a big job.

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Our next project: Paint Westgate.

Goodluck — I just learned his name is one word — was the first one to use the pressure washer. He used it while standing on the ground. Just like anything the more you do it the better you will become. When I asked him to do the next area from the ladder no he wanted me to do it. That is okay; I want him to feel comfortable using the equipment. At the same time I squeezed in a small project for the students mess hall – we made a shelf to hold their water purification system. I will show you pictures next week.

One day, Goodluck and Amos were out for personal reasons, so Mika came up to help because I had no one to power wash Westgate. I showed him the entire operation, from checking the oils and gas before starting. Then I showed him how to use the wand. Another time, I had Amos learn how to use the pressure washer. He did a good job and again with more usage he will get better.

Amos got onto the roof of Westgate and fixed the gutter so we don’t get water dripping on the dining room table and floor. It seems this problem had been going on for a long time. Why was it not fixed or looked at before? I sat on a chair watching him and people asked me why I was sitting and watching Amos work. I told them safety is first — I need to be available and paying attention so I can help him right away if needed. I also told them if he needs anything I can get it for him. They were very satisfied with these two answers and went on their way. While I was posting watch, the principal’s wife Agnita came over to ask if we were going to repair her wash line. Of course I said yes and a big smile came across her face. Once that was finished, Agnita told us it was “supa!”

As usual, an emergency arose in the kitchen. We had to take the main pot in which they make ugazi — ground corn meal which is consumed at every meal — and do some quick welding of a a few small holes. Then I put a used tire on the wheel barrow that they use for the cows and chickens. Then I called it a day. Mika and I finally finished welding new supports on the stairs at Westgate and I want you to see before and after pictures.

Walking around campus, I always seem to attract the children. One little girl wanted to skip rope, like we did last Sunday. I told her we will do that tomorrow. She was quite excited!

I am excited to see what is worn to the Easter service tomorrow. Like in the US, the ladies put on their new outfits and lots of new hats.

Godspeed,
Peter