If you haven’t already, check our new web site at: www.roadstolifetanzania.com A big thank you to Mary Ruedinger Shellander for the many hours of hard work she donated to get the site up and running. The web site has an interesting report of what’s happening at St. Peter Parish in Nkololo, Tanzania, Africa.
I am writing this note on an 85’ F., early Tuesday afternoon. I have outside work to do but will wait to get at it until the sun is not directly overhead.
Holy Week is busy, as usual, but we have done it a few times before! However, the week after Easter will be busier yet and more of a challenge as we will be getting ready for what might be the arrival of hundreds of pilgrims to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday with us here at the Diocesan Shrine of Divine Mercy on Sunday 7 April. We expect many to arrive on Sat. the 6th as we begin our prayers, Masses, teaching, etc. at noon on Sat. and go on all night until 6 a.m. when people take a break to get ready for the 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass. They also take a couple hours break before the Sat. night 8:30 p.m. candlelight Rosary procession. The Sunday Mass will conclude the celebration. This will be the third year that we have had the diocesan celebration so we know better how to prepare. What makes it difficult is not knowing how many people will come. I expect to have at least 6 or 7 priests to help with confessions, Masses, preaching and simply being present. We will have a number of sisters here too. People are giving us rice, beans and chickens to prepare for the priests and sisters that will be at my place and in church.
As I have mentioned before, I have been working on “Bustani ya Bikira Maria” “The Virgin Mary’s Garden” for part of the past couple of months. It has winding paths that lead to 5 stations, one for each decade of the Rosary. We have now planted little bush-type plants, some with flowers along both sides of the paths and have circled the whole area with bushes that can grow up very tall so that eventually it will have privacy. We have signs up saying “kimya” (quiet) and “mahali pa kutafakari” (a place for meditation). I love it myself and say prayers there when I can.
We still have no major funding for our major project, Songambele hospital, but due to your generosity, we have been able to keep going at a slow pace. We have finally closed in the 10 ½ foot high and 47 foot wide gable ends of the operating suites building. After Easter we will finally put on the metal roofing. Then as money comes in, we will buy cement and start doing the interior plastering. The major operating theaters will be a challenge as we will be putting tiles on the floors and the walls. The whole building will have tile floors.
We have had better crops than some other areas of the diocese; however, many people will not have enough corn to get them through the year. We have had heavy rains, but also all too long dry spells. Our soil is not fertile enough to hold enough moisture to get us through dry spells. Not like the soil we have back in southwestern Wisconsin. Fortunately, I have a well so we have been able to keep the garden growing well and I haven’t lacked vegetables, leafy greens and salads.
I would be very grateful to receive an email from you. It is fast, cheap and will bring Easter joy to this corner of Africa. Thanks! I am looking forward to your letter. Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org