Wednesday, 6 February 2013

 Swahili congregations Pastor and visitor

Rev Canon Yolande with Pastor from Dodoma

 My daughter Rebecca in the congregation
Sharing the Peace

Music group 'Annointed'

On Sunday 3 February I was invited to speak at St Agnes and St Anne's Gresham Street in the City of London.
It was a great pleasure and privilege to be invited to attend the Eucharist service and share in the Peace with the  the Tanzanian congregation. At the end of the service I had the opportunity to speak to them about SEEDS4Tanzania. It was such fun to  start my talk in Swahili and I  was delighted that they understood what I was trying to say - or were they just being kind! It was a relief,however, to revert back to English and tell them about our projects.  Also at the service was a visiting female pastor from the Dodoma area and now we hope to be able to communicate with each other and perhaps have the opportunity to meet when I am in Tanzania.
The congregation were very gracious in their response to my talk and I was thrilled to be told by the pastor that they would try and fund bags of cement for the building project. What kind and generous people particularly as they are facing a great challenge.  Their lease has expired for which they have been paying £4000 per year. This seems a large sum as they only use the church between 2pm and 4pm  on the first Sunday in the month. The diocese of London have now asked for £25,000 per year to renew the lease.  This huge sum is out of the question for the congregation and after 50 years of using the church they do not know where their future lies.

It has its ups and downs!

Great news the foundations to the two pre-school have been dug and completed. Funds were sent out to buy the cement to complete the foundations  We are waiting to hear about the next stage - the building - and what will be required in financial support. One young woman from Chetimo village who is being funded by SEEDS will start her teacher training this month which will last for a year. Others will be trained in due course. I am so looking forward to our visit in June to assess the work done and have discussions on the way forward. This is all the ups!!
Now a little down! We have been travelling to Tanzania for the past four years using British Airways. A little more expensive than the other services but a direct flight which cuts down the travel time as we still have 10 hours to go once we arrive at Dar es Salaam airport. The biggest bonus of BA is the allocation of charity status with the amount of luggage. We have been allowed three cases of 23Kg per person (69Kg in total) plus a cabin case and handbag/computer case. The luggage allowance has meant that we could take out many items for the orphans and the villagers. Children's clothes, toys, school equipment, laptops and much more.  I was devastated to hear 10 days ago that BA are no longer flying to Dar es Salaam. I booked the tickets for our party of 5 10 months ago, so it was a big shock. Not only can we no longer fly direct which means much longer travelling time with the stop-over, we also have to stay our first night in Dar es Salaam before travelling onto Mpwapwa - of course this incurs extra hotel costs. The most important disappointment is that the luggage allocation is only 30Kg per person, less than half we are used to, with only one piece of cabin luggage.  I have a loft heaving with items to take out and now it is not possible. THAT IS A BIG DOWNER.
We have looked into sending the items out to Tanzania but the cost and the uncertainties at the point of delivery at Dar es Salaam that the items would get through customs without a hefty fee makes it impossible.  We are going to try to overcome the problem by trying to sell many of the items and raise funds to take out and then buy clothing etc for the children in Tanzania.  Onwards and Upwards!!