Friday
May192017

2017/05/18 Day 7 in Tanzania

Day 7 – May 18 – Asha Kerr-Wilson, PWRDF Youth Council Representative

This was our last day in the district of Masasi, and ended with a long drive back to the city of Mtwara as we start to make our way back home to Canada. For the better part of the day, we had the opportunity to meet and share experiences with some of the leaders and implementers of the community health and food security programs from both the diocesan office and some of the villages where projects have been and are being implemented.

PWRDF and Diocese of Masasi staff shared initial thoughts from their perspectives on the challenges and successes of the completed Preventive Health and Food Security project (2011-2016). We heard about the practical challenges of designing, communicating and implementing effective projects, but overwhelmingly the messages we heard from both sides were positive. The importance and value of the relationship between the Diocese of Masasi and PWRDF was expressed on both sides and there was shared sentiment that we look forward to continuing to learn from the challenges faced and work together to help move us forward with the new maternal, newborn and child health project (known as All Mothers and Children Count – 2016-2020). This includes taking into account the way these two projects intersect and overlap in ways that allow for continuity in the work.

After hearing from the organizing leaders, we had a chance to discuss and share the key learnings the delegation and the community workers have gained about these projects. It was really incredible to hear that in many ways we have had very similar learnings, though we have engaged with these projects in very different ways. Both Canadian and Tanzanian participants shared that education that is relevant and contextual for those we interact with in this work, is key to delivering the messages we are sharing, whether that’s about food or health practices for the implementing communities, or understanding the issues and realities of development in Masasi for Canadian Anglicans. Our responses also highlighted the importance of relationships, between the Diocese of Masasi, the community workers, and the villages, between those working in Tanzania and those in Canada, and between PWRDF and Canadian Anglicans.

The hope going forward from all sides was that we can continue to build and nurture these relationships, and that we will all continue to learn and be transformed by the shared learning in the work we do together to build a “truly just, healthy and peaceful world.”

Thursday
May182017

2017/05/17 Day 6 in Tanzania

Day 6 – May 17 – By Chris Pharo, PWRDF Diocesan Representative for Nova Scotia/Prince Edward Island

It was another busy and exciting day visiting PWRDF Project “beneficiaries.” We headed off bright and early to Mkumba village.

Our first visit was to the home of Hassan and Binurue. They were among the first recipients of one of 15 dairy cows distributed under PWRDF’s Preventive Health and Food Security program. The family had been selected to enter the random draw by the village council. This system is very democratic, reduces potential for conflict and also ensures that, at some point, all villagers who want a cow should eventually receive one.

It was amazing to hear Hassan and Binurue describe the huge impact receiving this cow has had on their standard of living. They have already met their commitment to donate their first female calf back to the program. Currently they have a milking dairy cow as well as two calves. The income generated by the sale of milk has allowed them to acquire some dairy goats, make improvements to their home and be able to afford to send their daughter Halima to private school.

We then crossed the road to visit a recipient of a dairy goat. As he is HIV positive, he had been struggling with providing for his family. All HIV positive recipients are self declared. (Goat keepers are both HIV positive and not named in order to protect the dignity of the HIV recipients.) By receiving the dairy goat he now has access to very nutritious milk which has improved his health. He has also been able to sell five offspring of the mother goat to generate some income for his family. As the result of the goat project, he has purchased a solar panel for his home.

We then met with the town villagers, village officials and program officers. It is a tradition for visitors to any Tanzanian village to introduce themselves to officials and be welcomed officially. As this is a village with both Christian and Muslim inhabitants, the village Imam was invited to speak. He expressed gratitude to PWRDF for being inclusive and allowing all villagers to benefit from the program regardless of religion.

Our group then proceeded to the village of Ndomoni where we viewed a deep well that had been installed with PWRDF support. The well provides water to all villagers who used to have to travel up to eight kilometers for water. The well allows villagers to reduce the time they spend fetching water and spend more time on more productive activities such as farming. The traditional meeting with villagers and officials then took place. The meeting concluded with one of our own being given a lesson on how to carry a 50-pound bucket of water on his head!!! He almost got it the first time but still needs some practice.

Seeing the daily realities of rural Tanzania has made me think frequently during the week of the well known piece of scripture from Luke – “from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked…” (Luke 12:48). I think of how fortunate we are in Canada with an abundance of food, water, health care and so on. I think of the many Anglicans I have met over the years as Diocesan Representative who live out their baptismal covenant and support our PWRDF faithfully. In meeting beneficiaries such as Hassan and Binurue, I have seen first hand how that support from home is changing lives here in Tanzania.

Wednesday
May172017

2017/05/15 Day 5 in Tanzania

Day 5 – May 16 – By Leah Marshall, PWRDF Youth Council

We left Masasi early in the morning for Nachingwea where we paid a courtesy visit to the District Executive Director (local government official) who had helped coordinate the Preventive Health and Food Security project since its start. This project, supported by PWRDF and the Canadian government, took place between 2011 and 2016. Today was an opportunity to see some of the results of that project.

Farmer and community leader Joyce Mtauka greets the delegation.

We then drove to the rural village of Ruponda to meet with project beneficiaries and farmers like Joyce Mtauka. Some of our delegation met Joyce during the PWRDF Sharing Bread (Two) food security course at Sorrento, B.C. in 2015. Through the program there, Joyce has been able to expand her production and in so doing, contribute to the food security of her community. Joyce was also involved with training many other farmers on food security and how to continue to benefit the community with their production. The delegation visited Joyce’s farm and after seeing some of her maize and cassava crops, had the opportunity to harvest and cook some fresh cassava. We helped chop the roots off of the short tree-like plant, and then proceeded to peel and wash the pieces. It was sliced into smaller sections and then the starchy plant was put to cook in a pot of water with a pinch of salt, before being served to us to be eaten with honey. Cassava is a high calorie, low nutrition crop, used as a staple throughout central eastern Africa. Joyce uses her cassava plants as a cover crop and gives branches of it for other farmers in her community to grow. Eating cassava was new and an interesting experience!

After returning to the village for an honorary meal shared with the community, we visited the Mwenge dispensary which is powered by solar panels and allows for the delivery of babies at night through this PWRDF provision. We then continued our journey to visit the Chip Agro-vet Input Centre where we were surprised with a welcome of singing and dancing. Bishop James and Reverend Geoffrey had surprised us by not telling us that we would be there for the centre’s official opening. They even asked Maureen (as the President of the PWRDF board) to open the doors officially. The Chip Agro-vet Input Centre, established by the Diocese of Masasi in collaboration with PWRDF and the Canadian government, is providing advisory services on agriculture techniques, agriculture and veterinary inputs, and how they apply. It is also selling the inputs at affordable prices to farmers, thus contributing to food security beyond the life of the PWRDF project.

After a busy day we came to a hotel in Nachingwea to enjoy an evening and night of rest. Tomorrow the delegation looks forward to seeing more of the projects within the diocese and the effects they have had on the communities they involve.

Tuesday
May162017

2017/05/15 Day 4 in Tanzania

Day 4 – May 15 – By Maureen Lawrence, President of PWRDF Board of Directors

Another early morning as we were picked up by the Diocesan cars at 7:30 a.m. to visit three different sites where the Diocese of Masasi works with the support of PWRDF and Global Affairs Canada to support health care and food security.

The motto on the back of the diocesan staff tee shirts reads:

LINDA AFYA YA

MAMA NAMTTO

AFYA YAOFURAHA YAKO

Protect the health of mothers and children

We saw the ever enlarging Mtandi clinic which began as a PWRDF Partners for Life project for HIV/AIDS and has now expanded to include a Maternal, Newborn and Child Health building, a labour room, delivery room, and a Rest House for patients who are unable to travel home for a few days after delivery, a dispensary and an eye clinic. The government of Tanzania would like the Diocese to make the facility into a hospital.

This is a brief overview of a facility for which the Diocese of Masasi should be justifiably pleased and proud. While we were on site there were many mothers and babies in attendance for a well baby clinic.

Back into the fortunately air conditioned vehicles and off to Nanganga for a visit to the dispensary there. It was at that time that we volunteers realized that a dispensary is really like a Nursing Station in Canada’s north! Although there are two major hospitals in the vicinity, they are privately run and much too expensive for many of the villagers. We were welcomed by the village chairperson, members of the village council and the special project committee for monitoring. At this site, which was small and cramped, there are an average of five deliveries a month. As at the clinic in Masasi, there is lots of pre- and postnatal education and all the people whom we met were most appreciative of the care and reiterated their appreciation for the work of the Diocese.

Our other visits were to Food Security programs. At one site we learned how beneficiaries are chosen to receive a pair of goats. People who would like a goat are asked to write a letter to the project committee and village council, 10 are shortlisted, five are chosen and the other five will receive the first offspring of the first five pairs. We met two rather reluctant goats and a very happy owner. The benefits of having goats are improved nutrition from the milk, better gardens using the dung as fertilizer and the goats clear the weeds!

At another community in Nanganga ward we were greeted by a long receiving line of men and women, and then the chief spoke. Representatives from three villages were present and we met folk who have livestock, farmers, project leaders, and community health workers who support pregnant women. We also visited a cow that a woman had received in January and of which she was very proud.

It was 4 p.m. by the time we arrived at the Benedictine convent Nanganga for a late lunch but all agreed it had been a day well spent.

Tuesday
May162017

2017/05/14 Day 3 in Tanzania

Day 3 – May 14 – by David Irving, Bishop of Saskatoon


Bishop Irving was pleased to help celebrate at the service of confirmation in the Masasi Cathedral on Mother’s Day.

Bishop Irving was pleased to help celebrate at the service of confirmation in the Masasi Cathedral on Mother’s Day.When we got to bed Saturday night it was hard to sleep. The joyous welcome we received when we arrived at the cathedral just kept going around in my head. That more than 200 people had waited to greet us with song and dance and very big smiles was overwhelming. Eventually sleep came and so did the rooster at 4 a.m. If you dozed it came again at 5 a.m. just to make sure we were all awake.

After breakfast we travelled to the cathedral for a Confirmation service with 85 young people and a Mother’s Day celebration. The cathedral was full with about 700 people from the city and surrounding area attending. Bishop James Almasi had very kindly invited me to preach and also assist with the Confirmation which I was delighted to accept. We had a wonderful procession with five city parish choirs, our delegation and a number of the diocesan clergy. The choirs sang and danced as we entered and throughout the service. It was wonderful. Although the service was four hours long, It went by very quickly and everyone in our delegation expressed the fact that they would not have wanted to miss it for anything. It was a great celebration and one I will remember for a long time to come.

The Mothers’ Union provided a late lunch, and then we were taken to the first Anglican parish in Masasi, the parish of Utatu Matukufu Mkomaimdo. There we visited three Microcredit projects run by the Mother’s Union of the parish. There is a pig raising project, a home gardening project and a nursery to kindergarten project. The income from these projects goes to assist those in need around the parish and beyond. The parish has an active Mothers’ Union membership of 96 and they meet every Tuesday for fellowship. Their motto is, “We work together and we have fun together.”

We left the parish and were taken to see the Diocesan Mothers’ Union guest house that is under construction. When complete it will have six bedrooms and bathrooms and will be able to cater both to visiting delegations and also to anyone else that would like to stay. It is totally funded by Mothers’ Union members and when finished the income from will be used on outreach projects around the diocese.

The final visit of the day was with a group of 40 diocesan youth from their 33 parishes. We watched a Powerpoint presentation that outlined a variety of activities carried out by the youth. They shared information about their brick making, decorating and agricultural projects. They are also involved in environmental concerns and planting trees in areas that need to be reforested. The main project they are all working on is developing a diocesan youth centre in Masasi. A Q and A followed and they shared their youth slogan: “If you want a good life go back to church.”