Today is Tuesday, 25 October, 2011. I arrived home in Tanzania safely 3 weeks ago today. The safari was happily uneventful. It is always a relief when I get here with my three 50lb suitcases intact as well as my carry-on bag and computer bag. I had a lot of John Deere parts and other items for our projects. We can get most goods here but some are easier to find in the States, especially parts. My right-hand man, Stefano, along with our Dr. Helena Sindano, were in Dar es Salaam to meet me, along with former students now working in Dar. We spent the weekend visiting with friends at the Tanzania Episcopal Conference Center in Kurasini, Dar es Salaam. On Monday we spent a lot of time in stalled traffic as we tried to find a store that sold hospital equipment. The first store was difficult to get to and even more difficult to find a place in which to park. If you have never traveled outside of the USA, you cannot imagine the downtown traffic–it is indescribable. Thank goodness a friend drove us around.
We did find another store where everything is available for the two operating theaters we will need for our Songambele hospital. We are waiting for a complete list of the items we will need and the total cost, along with the individual item’s cost. I just talked to them by phone and they are going to email a pro-forma invoice again as we did not get the first one. At this moment we have no money whatsoever to go ahead with our work, so we are anxious to get more information so that we can get a grant request written. It is a real problem for me now as I would like to begin building the operation theater, not just because we need it but because I have workers that are running out of work. I still have to pay salaries the end of every month whether we have sufficient work or not. I know that God wants us to build the hospital so He must want us to work harder.
I will get at writing more information for our team back in Wisconsin and helpers elsewhere when I get back from retreat. I am leaving as soon as I finish this letter and will be back for a busy weekend and then next week I will force myself to do some office work. My neighbor, Fr. Paulo Masanja, will travel with me to Ndoleleji parish, where the retreat has already begun. It is about 100 miles away on a gravel, pot-holed, corrugated road.
Monday I needed time to get ready to leave, as the previous 4 days were very busy. Our Bishop, Aloysius Balina, was here for Confirmations for four days. One day at each of our Centers. Happily, we managed to get to all of them in spite of heavy rains Wednesday night. Monday was also my 79th birthday and we celebrated last evening with 15 people at my big table. It was a great evening. I even had a cake that Stefano’s wife brought the day before. Any birthday cake brings back memories of Mom whipping up an angel food cake with a wire spoon in her big, blue enameled bowl. I don’t think that she ever missed making an angel food cake for birthdays. Life is so different now, but it is great to have such pleasant memories of those wonderful days with family.
Must go now and spend some time praying in thanksgiving for all the wonderful things God has done for us and praying for help in difficult days ahead.
Please write emails. It is great to hear from you. I am on Face book but I really don’t use it here.