A team of talented volunteers accompanied by some of our Canadian staff members embarked on an incredible adventure to our sites in Tanzania in October 2019, just a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, putting all of our mission trips on pause. Even though more than a year has passed, the children and community that our mission participants met in Tanzania are still feeling the reverberations of their memorable visit.
Before they left for their trip, the Tanzania mission team raised funds and awareness for our work at our Neema and Mbinga sites. Their hard work and dedication raised $15,162.65!
The very first place the mission team landed was in the seaside community of Unonio Beach, where they met a budding tailoring class run by the St. John Paul II Parish. The pastor, Father Matthew, started a sewing school after seeing the young women in his community struggling with limited education and employment opportunities. The women gave since learned to sew fashion items and uniforms. It has grown to be immensely popular and has set the women on the road to financial independence and security. Through the mission funds the team raised, the school bought fabric, needles, thread, and proper long tables for their growing workshop.
The team’s next stop was the community of Morogoro. They visited several elementary and secondary schools, teaching and playing with the students. All the schools noticeably lacked textbooks and teaching aids, students often sharing only a handful of books for the whole class. The mission team was thrilled to hear that Father Cino, the site director, bought 480 textbooks and 20 teaching aids for the four schools. “As we thank you,” Fr. Cino says, “we also assure you of our prayers for you all.”
After Morogoro, the team reached the remote community of Mkongo, run through the Neema site, where they interacted with the community and learned about the sponsorship program. Sister Mary Grace and her Sisters at once put the funds where they were most urgently needed, purchasing water and food. Four schools received a three-month supply of rice and beans to ensure that 700 students did not go without a hot daily meal during the leanest months before harvest time. “The Canadian mission team’s visit to Neema site brought good tidings,” writes Sr. Mary Grace. “The concern, love and the donations that followed after the visit is appreciated.”
Two schools in Neema – Chandarua and Mitoronji, were overjoyed to each receive a 5000-litre water tank for drinking water and handwashing, crucially timed as the need for hand hygiene spiked due to the pandemic. Chandarua School also installed a solar-powered water pump, putting an end to the days that small children had to laboriously pump their own water. Mitoronji School renovated its latrines, making them much more sanitary and safer for the students.
Thank you to everyone who has expressed interest in future mission trips. Our international travel has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Chalice has suspended all international travel for the time being, including our mission trips. We cannot reasonably plan for mission trips until the pandemic has passed, international travel restrictions are lifted, and travel would not expose our Chalice family (in Canada and abroad) to an unreasonable level of risk. In the spring of 2022, we will reassess and decide if there is any change in our position and determine if we are able to start planning for our missions once again. At that point, our previously scheduled missions to India and Ukraine will be a priority.