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A Land Larger than Life!

Map of Tanzania

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The Distances Are Vast

  • Mpwapwa to Dar-es-Salaam is the equivalent of London to Edinburgh and after El Nio it took 14 hours to drive it.  No wonder we sometimes take to the air with Mission Aviation Fellowship.

The Heat Can Be Unbearable

  • Though we do not have winter and summer it can feel really chilly in June when it drops to around 17C (63F) and by November just before the rains break afternoon temperatures out in the sun can get to 52C (126F).  Needless to say the sun is seen by most as enemy N 1.

The Dust Can Be Intolerable

  • During the five months that not a single drop of water will fall one longs for just a shower and the dust lies thick on every surface making housekeeping impossible especially if a large truck drives past, and motor bike riding very slithery in thick sand.

The Rains Can Be Torrential

  • It may only rain for three or four months a year but when it does the carefully repaired roads turn into seething rivers leaving four foot deep pot holes.  Driving in the dark can be quite hazardous.

The Contrasts Are vast!

   A land known for the highest snow capped peak on the continent, is equally known for its warmth of hospitality and generous self-giving.  No sooner does one set foot in a village boma, than the squawks of the chicken that is destined to become lunch have to be put out of earshot.

   A land known for the Big Five in its beautiful National Parks is equally big for its potholes, which open up into five-foot deep cavernous pits as soon as the rains descend.

   A land known for its magical spice islands of Pemba and Zanzibar is also a land of thirst and hunger, where the majority have nothing to rely upon as they wait to see if this years rains are to bring the first decent harvest in eight years.

   A land known for its song and rhythm is equally known for the beat of the drums announcing Ramadans nightlong feasts, and the strangled crow of the local cock echoing the sound of the Mullahs call at 4.30 in the morning.  Song and rhythm that is also taken up by many Christian choirs as they reach out to those not caught in the call of Islam or traditional religions.

   A land where everything is larger than life, even if most maps try to squeeze it to appear equal in size to the United Kingdom.  Equal up the scales and you can put the whole of the British Isles inside the Selous Game Reserve, the whole of Wales into the Diocese of Mpwapwa.  Take a journey and you dont think of miles, but how long it will take to negotiate that mountain, how long the wait will be to cross that swollen river whose bridge has just been swept away, how many strapping young men it will take to lift the vehicle out of tyre deep mud.

   A land crying out to pull itself out of the mire of being a Highly Indebted Poor Country, officially only richer in the world by comparison to its poorer neighbour Mozambique.  Its a land of contrasts where modern communications come alongside traditional ways of living.

   A land being increasingly torn apart by AIDS ~ a disease sadly affecting almost a third of the youth, including the intelligentsia whose opportunities for travel and communication lead to lifestyles of regret and slow death.

   Such are some of our abiding memories as we come to the end of our second tour, and such are the visions which can only deepen the love, concern and fellowship we have come to enjoy with our fellow workers, neighbours and those with whom we come into daily contact.

   It is a land so large that our commitment to it can only be glimpsed as one tries toCrucifixioncapture the panoramic view of wide open red stained spaces; and yet we are acutely aware that even with the widest of lenses we can only barely hope to start describing the faintest crest of something much larger ~ the view God holds of the finished Tapestry is often quite different to the feeling of the needle piercing through the back as we concentrate on our own small patch!

   Whatever attempt we make to describe our rles as Diocesan Surveyor and Diocesan Medical Officer and the teams that serve to enable the wider work to be established, we know that we can only begin to convey an inkling of the responsibilities we carry throughout the Diocese.


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