21 April 2012

Dear Friends,

In my last letter I wrote “Today is Friday, March 02, 2012. I had hoped to write this in the morning but already it is afternoon.” Today it is Saturday April 21, 2012. I had hoped to write this on Thursday but now it is two days later. What happened? Not good news sad to say! I do have good new too, but lets get the bad over with first since it is very much on my mind.

I had booted up my computer Thursday morning and was ready to write when Barnabas, our assistant administrator, asked me if I had started writing and if not, then would I take a minute to go with him. We walked over to the new guest house that we built last year. We stopped on the west side of the house. He bent over and picked up a pair of red handled pliers. I knew that I didn’t have any like that. Then I saw washers, nuts and bolts on the ground. Without looking up I knew what had happened. Our expensive almost new solar panel that was bolted to a piece of metal welded to the top of a pipe 17 feet up in the air was stolen. It was 3 feet from the house but not far enough away. It was a real shock as we have had no problems with panels before that day. What made it even worse is that only a few days before our ambulance had expensive damage when it hit the curbing on a narrow bridge. Two big losses like that really hurt as I was hoping that what little money I had left would last until I could get home and start getting help. It was not to be!

We had a meeting with our workers Thursday to get ideas on how to get our panel back. The result, more or less secretly Barnabas enlisted the help of a man named Musa who used to be a thief and is good at finding stolen property! Then without mentioning Musa he contacted Noni the leader of the local vigilante group that has a lot of eyes and ears. Along with all of that I spent some time in church praying the Divine Mercy chaplet and asking for the grace of trust as in the prayer “Jesus I Trust in You”. Excuse me again, it is 3 p.m. and time to pray the chaplet.

That same Thursday afternoon Stefano called saying that we would not get the expected big truck load of crushed gravel that we had hopes of getting just for the price of the diesel needed to load it at a Chinese road construction camp. The government overseers stopped the loader before it could get the first bucket load in our dump truck. I didn’t write this letter yesterday because I spent time writing a different letter, one to the Tanzania Road Company officials enclosing a copy of a letter that their company had sent me in 2006 praising and thanking me for putting in 57 kilometers of roads. I also enclosed other letters, diagrams and pictures explaining that we had finished putting rocks in the foundation for operating theater suites and that we were ready to pour concrete using crushed rock and that I need all the help I can get right now. I “Trust” that my pleas and prayers will be heard.

As I write we are again having a big rain storm. This is third day in a row to get heavy rains. I have scheduled a Sunday Mass safari tomorrow to Ng’wasinasi Center 10 miles away overlooking the Serengeti Plains. When the weather is bad we have an understanding that I will try to get to Ng’waumatondo outstation half way there. But I probably can’t even get there because of a washout at the Gidamunida River (creek). People cultivated rice paddies reducing the flow of water to the 5 culverts and one small bridge that we built. Now much of the water goes over the road leading up to the 6 foot causeway we built. The washout is so deep that it is almost impassable when it rains. It is bad even when dry. We built a very good road but I have not been able to do maintenance and keep up the education and medical work. Anyway, I tried!

Tomorrow afternoon we will drive to Shinyanga 115 miles to the SW for the funeral on Monday of Fr. Sosthenes Masegese. His brother, Fr. Karoli Lwanga was my associate for 5 ½ years at Old Maswa. Fr. Masegese had a motorcycle accident in October while returning from our Diocesan Retreat. He hurt his foot but did not take care of the wound. Among other problems he was diabetic. The wound got worse and he spent months in the big hospital of Bugando in Mwanza. They amputated a toe, then another one and finally his foot. We have had too many deaths in the Diocese, and not from old age!

Lent, Holy Week and Easter went well and churches were full. Usually after Easter we priests and helpers can take a little break but not anymore here at St. Peter Parish that is the Diocesan Shrine of Divine Mercy. The Feast is celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. After Easter Monday we began preparations for Divine Mercy Sunday. We began the celebration at noon on Saturday with prayers, meditation, Stations of the Cross, 2 Masses and an all night vigil until 6 a.m. or so. Then at 11 a.m. Bishop Nsonganzila from Musoma Diocese presided and preached at the Mass with a 1000 or more people participating in the prayers and wonderful singing by our choir. Four priests were here on Sat. to help with the many confessions and Sunday 6 of us concelebrated at the Bishop’s Mass. I told people the next day that all of the work was worth it if we even saved one soul. I pray that we saved many more than that.

I am attaching a few pictures showing our work on the foundation for our 110×47 foot 11 room operating suites building. Perhaps I’ll find one of Divine Mercy Sunday. The other good news is that we have begun accepting blood donations and gave one blood transfusion this week. That is a first for us and for our Diocese. To reach this stage has been a lot of work and expense. We are doing our best to save lives as well as souls! We have been blessed.

Keep us in your prayers. We need them more that you might realize. I certainly do.

Love and prayers,

Fr. Paul

P.S. My email address is pefagan@gmail.com Please write!


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