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
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
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 Ramadan’s 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 don’t 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. It’s
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 tocapture
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
Whatever attempt we make to describe our rôles 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.