Tanzania update: Maggie visits; a medical center for Kizara

Maggie reports from Tanazania

When we first met Sakina, she was sitting in her home, a tiny, primitive structure made of sticks and mud, with one small window. She was sitting in the dark on a piece of slate, curious but wary, as her family looked on. Sakina's mother explained to us that she is 20yrs old and has been paralyzed and mute since the age of 2yrs, when she contracted the measles. She smiled shyly as Bp. Baji spoke to her in Swahili, then reacted with excitement as we gave her a mosquito net to protect her from malaria.

Sakina spends her days in a hut no longer. Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, Jubilee partnered with diocesan staff to bring her into the light. We provided a wheelchair, mattress and bedpan. The diocese provided bed linens and some new clothes. As you can see, Sakina is happy to be out in the sunshine with her family.

--The Rev. Maggie Geller

A village medical center for Kizara

Following a recent journey to our sister Anglican Diocese of Tanga in Tanzania, a group led by Brother Curtis Almquist, Superior of the Monastery of Saint John the Evangelist in Cambridge, has raised $15,780 to support the completion of a village dispensary/primary health care center in the village of Kizara.

Construction began several years ago with funds provided from a Japanese donor. However, construction stopped when the government of Tanzania was unable to provide matching funds, and has resumed in fits and starts as the villagers were able to save small amounts of money from among themselves; the building is less than half completed.

Pledges came from Grace Episcopal Parish in North Attleboro, All Saints Parish in Brookline, and the families and friends of the SSJE mission group. The grant to the village of Kizara will be administered by the Anglican Diocese of Tanga and funds will be transferred through the Jubilee Ministry of our own diocese.

At present, the Kizara villagers must travel 6-8 hours on foot to reach the closest medical facility to obtain primary health care services. Those with chronic diseases, requiring constant medication, must obtain their medicines from a traveling health care worker who visits Kizara only intermittently; but when her supplies run out they must go without or make the long journey to the nearest facility. Upon completion, the new dispensary will be staffed and supplied by the government of Tanzania.

This much needed facility will provide basic medical services to 9,000 people within a 3 Kilometer radius of Kizara. The dispensary will also allow the people of Kizara to participate more fully in the HIV/AIDS counseling, testing and treatment program funded by our Jubilee Ministry.

The members of the group who traveled to Tanga were Br Curtis, SSJE, Br. Timothy Solverson, SSJE, Dr. Colin Johnstone (All Saints Church, Brookline and Jubilee Ministry), Dr. Robert Lambe (Grace Church, North Attleboro), Mike and Peggy Stevens (Friends of St. John), James Meeks (California), Dianne Moss (St Michael's Church, Dallas, Texas) and Elisabeth Keller (Jubilee Ministry co-chair).

--Colin Johnstone