Serving God's People in Africa since 1868

Give the gift of clean water for children in Tanzania

As I write this letter to you, many of us throughout the U.S. and around the world will be celebrating St. Valentine’s Day. Close friends and loved ones send cards and flowers to one another — expressing love or deep friendship. School children may even exchange “Valentines.” Cartoonist Charles Schulz portrayed such an exchange in his comic strip, “Peanuts.” In one scenario when Charlie Brown gives a Valentine to a little red-haired girl, he feels the heartache that most of us have felt at one time or another and realizes that love given is not always love returned. The quote at the top of this page reminds us that while love is something many of us may long for, there are some things that are even more vital to life. One of them is water.


“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”

W. H. Auden (1907-1973)

As I write this letter to you, many of us throughout the U.S. and around the world will be celebrating St. Valentine’s Day. Close friends and loved ones send cards and flowers to one another — expressing love or deep friendship. School children may even exchange “Valentines.” Cartoonist Charles Schulz portrayed such an exchange in his comic strip, “Peanuts.” In one scenario when Charlie Brown gives a Valentine to a little red-haired girl, he feels the heartache that most of us have felt at one time or another and realizes that love given is not always love returned. The quote at the top of this page reminds us that while love is something many of us may long for, there are some things that are even more vital to life. One of them is water.

Some of the school children in Bagamoyo.

Recently, I received a letter from Sr. Mary Joseph Kanyua — a missionary working in the Bagamoyo District in the coastal region of Tanzania in East Africa. There, Sr. Mary Joseph is in charge of Holy Family School. The Sisters built a school for poor families living in the community — since there were no educational opportunities for the children.

“Our school is seven kilometers off the Bagamoyo road,” Sr. Mary Joseph writes. “It was started in January 2016. We did not come to the area to start a school, but when the villagers came to us, we could not refuse them. So we built a grass thatched hut to serve as a classroom. In January 2017, we started constructing classrooms. Two rooms have been built and are being used. But even though we have huts, we have no water. We are hoping that you can help us change that.”

Women fetching water from a shallow well.

“Our region lacks sources of clean water. As a result, people must walk long distances in search of water for drinking, washing, and other domestic needs as well as to get water for their animals. Needless to say, this is very dangerous for women and children.”

“Because we don’t have a source of clean water, we have to purchase three thousand liters of water (nearly 800 gallons) every three weeks to use in preparing meals for the children. The shallow well we use is a long journey from here and does not provide enough water for everyone in the community as well as the animals. We are hoping that you can help us.”

“This region of Africa has two rainy seasons per year,” Sr. Mary Joseph continues. “The long and heavy rains fall from March through May. The short rains come in November and December. Our hope is to construct an underground containment tank for storing rainwater that falls during the rainy seasons. To do this, we will need to purchase iron rods, cement, gutters (to catch the rain), pipes, faucets, water pumps, lumber, and other materials. I pray that you can help us!”

A child giving water to livestock.

As I read Sr. Mary Joseph’s letter, I could not help but think how often we take some of life’s basic necessities — such as clean water — for granted. As poet W. H. Auden reminds us, it is something we truly cannot live without. I am also hoping that you will  join me in taking just a few steps to conserve the water that we have. For example, repairing or replacing a leaky faucet, as well as taking shorter showers (instead of filling an entire bathtub), are just a couple of ways we can help conserve one of our greatest resources.

I am also hoping that you will send a donation to help the children at Sr. Mary Joseph’s mission in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, get the clean water they desperately need. While our goal is to raise at least $28,000 for this project — and other water projects of the Missionaries of Africa throughout East Africa, please know that whatever amount you send will help keep our missionaries working with those most in need. For this, I cannot thank you enough.

 

Your Missionary Friend,

Denis P. Pringle
Director of Development