Below is printed a letter from Sister Tadea Mpanda, regional Superior of the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer, based in Mtwara, southern Tanzania. Two of our parishioners – Caroline and Adrian Strain – lived in Mtwara some years ago and established a small charity - www.mtwaralinks.com – which raises money for the Sisters’ work in Tanzania. Our parish has been supporting this charity for some years and Sister Tadea’s letter to us reports on how that money is being spent and what she hopes to achieve in the future.
I write to express our deep gratitude to the parishioners of Blessed John Henry Newman parish. This year has been a year of celebration for us as we marked our Jubilee in this the Year of Mercy. The support shown by your parish is evidence of God’s mercy at work.
This year we have been able, with your help, to buy blood analysis machinery for our clinic in Mtwara. The ‘full bloods’ machine allows us to save many people’s lives with an early diagnosis. We have also bought milk rice, beans and many medicines. I understand that a special fund-raising event by one of your parish raised nearly TSH5 million and for this we are especially grateful. This will be used to feed the old and vulnerable.
About 100km from Mtwara is the small hamlet of Kilidu, where the Sisters hold land designated for agriculture with which we plan to feed the many old people and young mothers and children in our care. The villagers of Kilidu are very poor. They have no school, no road and no fresh water other than what they manage to carry from the spring nearly 8km away. Thanks to your support they now have a kindergarten with a teacher whose salary is paid from your donations. We have a large house there, thanks to a generous donor from Leeds, as well as a house for the teacher. Our next project is to raise enough money to drill a bore hole for fresh water. Our experts tell us we will need £20,000 for this project.
From the poor people, we have learned that no-one can receive without giving. The photo of the old man shows him offering bananas, something which many of us find challenging when those with so little show us such kindness.
The photo opposite features an old woman who lives alone. She has no-one to care for her and we are now working to build small communities of carers that care for these old and vulnerable people.
Children in the village now attend kindergarten daily and are learning to read; they study mathematics and are developing drawing skills from books. Our responsibility remains to care for these children and we thank you for
having made this possible and for changing the lives of these people. They now have a teacher and a good preparation for school if the government will agree to build a school for them.
For our Jubilee celebrations, we invited poor people from around Mtwara to the Cathedral to tell them of the word of God, of His love, His mercy and hospitality. Then we gave them rice, beans and soap. We told them to share these with others. We listened carefully to the words of our spiritual director. He emphasised the need for us to perform our duties diligently and to work with those most marginalised in society. Love should be at the core of our lives and with love at our centre we will do God’s merciful work.
Thank you all for your continued kindness and for all that you are doing to support our people and our mission. You are welcome to visit Mtwara and see what great things your kind- ness is achieving for our people. We wish you a peaceful Christmas and a happy New Year.
Sister Tadea Mpanda CSR
If you’d like to support Sister Tadea’s work, please contact Adrian Strain mobile: 07817 388332 email: email@example.com or visit www.mtwaralinks.com. Alternatively contact Mary Gairn in the Parish office.
You can either make a one-off donation or complete a standing order for a regular monthly donation.