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Soon, I hope to have a photo of the new bus for Bishop Stanway Primary School. A generous donor who has contributed so much already to Bishop Stanway over the past five years, has just purchased a bus. Yes, a whole bus! This will be the first and only bus the school has and we are so very grateful to Karl for his gift. As I write this, the bus is being painted yellow, and, with the name of the school. It will make two runs in the morning and afternoon, ferrying the children from Dodoma town to the school. Currently, they take dangerous Dala Dalas. It will also be a good advertisment for the school.

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Tally wrote an Easter greeting to Moses and this is his reply after spending time in Ikowa Village for Easter:  “Dear Tally and Jessie,  Thank you so much for the Easter greetings.  Your greetings are still so meaningful to us and the people at Ikowa.  I am truly humbled by the prayers of the Christians of St. Mary Magdalene’s for me.  I really miss these friends and I am encouraged by the greetings that we are still boldly united through prayers and thoughts.  Please give them my particular thanks for their love and prayers.  I believe God will give me another time to meet with these friends of St. Mary Magdalene’s.

Please receive many many greetings from the women (and their men) of Ikowa.  These women in Ikowa never stop calling Tally and Jessie in their prayers whenever they meet in the Church and for their project.  I went there on Friday and found lots of women in the church for Good Friday service.  They were so glad to see me and they kept on asking me about you, Jessie and TOM.  Their faces changed suddenly when I mentioned to them that Tom has passed away.  They were all shocked by Tom’s death and could not resist to pour tears for Tom.  They made me cry as well as I was sharing to them the stories of Tom’s death.  These people of Ikowa love you and Jessie so dearly, and Tom had become part of this friendship.  They feel in their hearts that they have lost Tom as whom they know as a friend in the name of Christ Jesus.  We, we thank God for the gift of knowing Tom and we accept what God has done for Tom.

 The women continue very well with their Pigs project.  I spent the whole Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm visiting the pigs and piglets.  There are 27 new groups of women plus the 9 previous ones.  Each group has three pigs.  All together there are now 108 pigs and piglets in Ikowa for 36 groups of women.  Because each group has 5 women, there are 180 women now in the village who are in this project.  All pigs and piglets are healthy, strong and attractively growing big.  The project is growing well, the women are together and for those who started last year they have started enjoying the fruits of the project.  They are selling sosme of their newborns and they use the money for the needs of their families.  Here is a quotation of their message to you in my own translation from Swahili to English: ‘May God bless your good heart, Jessie and Tally.  You have loved us and have empowered us.  We have nothing to pay you back, but our only word to you is thank you and welcome again.’ “

I know the women rejoiced in showing Moses (who for those of you might not know, is the Rev. Cannon Moses Matonya, Dean of the Msalato Theological College) their projects.  Moses is from this village and has extended family there.  We stay at his Mother’s house when we visit.  Nine hours of meeting the women and pigs, I hope he got some, rest and time with his Mother!  Well done Ladies of Ikowa, you do have something to give back, it is your joy and success in this project.  You make us so very proud of you all.  Jessie & Tally

 

After loosing our friend Tom, then Holy Week, Easter was a wonderful day of celebration. Our friend, Moses Matonya spent Easter in his village of Ikowa and promised to send an update on the two pig projects there.

A friend of mine mentioned that someone she knew was negative about the work we are doing, questioning whether it will really do any good. This person is also negative about giving any help to the dissadvanaged. Yes, there are abuses, waste, but that exists in all that man does. Government, churches, education, research. I have met people who blame the victims for their problems, again in some cases that might be true, but as a philosophy it is devoid of empathy. This is what I do know. I have been blessed with being born in circumstances where I never had to face dying of starvation, disease, the worry of not having enough to eat. I have not had to watch those I love die from lack of medical attention, I have not felt the helplessness that no matter what I do, my circumstances will not change.

I have had an amazing life, very fullfilling with meaningful work, joy in relatioships with family and friends. The pure joy has been in transactions of giving where it contributes to the flourishing of each person involved. With KARIMU, we have been very careful in choosing the individuals we work with, the projects – chosen by the people who know what they can do successfully given their circumstances,.

For five years now, I have been working and learning from the people in Tanzania. I have learned that attachment to other people and God are more important to me than attachment to things. When I look at Tanzania, I see scarcity unimaginable in the US, but I also see abundance in their faith in God, in their relationships with each other. I write this to pass along to those of you who have been supporting the projects through your help.   Christ said: “for I was hungry and you gave me food”.   Christ felt the pain of the hungry person, he didn’t blame or question. He saw the situation as it was and acted. You are doing the same and I only wish I could transmit the spritual benefits we receive through our personal contacts there to you. The hands extented in the joy of welcome are extended to you as well, we are the liaison. They difference you are making is profound, thank you. Jessie  (Below is the church I used to attend when I lived in England, went to Easter service there three years ago).

If you have looked at the pictures of Tom that Jessie has posted you may get the feeling that he was larger than life, and he was that!  To see him in his cowboy regalia, Stetson hat, boots, dress jeans and a fancy western belt would put John Wayne to shame.   It is fitting that someone larger than life should have, not one, but three memorial services.

One was held in the chapel at Msalato Theological College this past Friday.  Sandy wrote that it was lovely and dignified.  The Rev. Charles Mwihambi, Academic Dean of the college, preached on the Markan passage of Jesus’ suffering in Gethsemane, and our inability to understand suffering, but also of the need for acceptance of God’s will as Jesus accepted when God did not remove the cup from him.  Charles spoke of how Tom knew each person’s name and their face even before he came last September and how he prayed for each of them.  He spoke of the fun they had had a Makumi Village ~ the laughter and jokes.    At the end of the service Moses said that Tom had written him after his diagnosis that he wished he had more time on earth so he could continue to work for the college.  It was lovely and appropriate that his family requested that in lieu of flowers people could donate to Msalato Theological College.   That would make Tom so happy.  When Sandy wrote of the hymns they sang (“How Great Thou Art,” and “Trust and Obey”) I could “hear” their mellifluous voices singing softly in harmony with no accompaniment ~ no organ or piano.  As Jessie and I walked the dirt path to chapel each morning for service we could hear the students already singing.   Their voices are lilting and beautiful.  Sandy used two prayers from our prayer book, one asking God to comfort those who mourn, especially his sons and grandchildren.  Poor little Amelia wept bitterly (she is 6 or 7) saying she didn’t want to not have a grandfather.  Her maternal grandfather had died the week before.  There are limits on what can be understood. 

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Pinedale, Wyoming will have a service for Tom on the 5th of April and there will be yet another in Atlanta later this month.  So this larger than life man is being sent off to the land of joy and light with tenderness and love.  One of his rancher neighbors said of Tom:  “He was a good, kind and Christ-like man.”  One could hardly ask for a better epitaph for Tom.  May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.  Tally

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