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Maramba Visit – 2014

On 24 August, Claire, Mike & Bridget Hughes and I arrived in Dar es Salaam, M&B via Dubai and C & I via Amsterdam. We met for breakfast at 0730 Monday morning at the Kurasini Centre, where we stayed overnight ready for collection at 0800. We thought this might be nearer 0900 but the Bishop’s jeep suffered a broken axle en route, which we discovered at about 1120. A few beers and a very nice lunch followed and then Clement Shehiza and Rev Francis Shemzigwa arrived to collect us. We set off finally for Maramba at 1415 and at 1545 we were only 10 miles further on, just clearing the Dar traffic jams before heading north! The journey was all on metalled roads for about 220 miles, but the last 40 miles or so was on rough (often very rough!) dirt tracks, and took almost as long as the previous 210 miles! We arrived eventually in Maramba at 2230 to meet Rev Francis’ wife Damiles and family, before heading to Clement’s home for a meal cooked by his wife Ndina. After the meal at about 2330 M&B were taken to the home of Gilbert and Edna Sadala, Clement’s sister, where they would be accommodated for the stay, and Claire & I were taken to stay with Agnes Mtoi and her grandson Thadei again, as we did in 2011. We were all looked after so well, but subject to regular losses of electricity, and water supplies too for M&B! Such mishaps, of course, were totally out of the control of our lovely hosts.

We then had 5 days visiting schools, churches, permaculture projects, a vocational training centre and tailors shops using many of our sewing machines. There is too much to cover in this introductory article on the visit so I will write more in subsequent magazines to expand further, and hopefully give you a real feel for what a Maramba experience entails. But some key aspects were, firstly, vehicle problems. As well as the broken axle we suffered two punctures and a failed starter motor. Indeed it got so bad that we decided Claire’s prejourney prayers were not being heard so she was banned from offering them – and we never had another problem! Secondly, the school visits were wonderful, with the children so joyous in their welcomes. Maramba A, Lugongo, Mhinduro, Churwa, Uhuru, Matemboni and Kauzeni were all inspiring. Thirdly, Churches at Lugongo, Mtapwe and Kigongoi were all being rebuilt to accommodate larger congregations, and we attended a Harvest Festival Service at Matemboni Church. Fourthly, permaculture projects were in evidence, especially at Churwa PS, and Clement had created a special Walter Gould Memorial Garden in Maramba using these techniques. Fifthly, a sisal factory at Kauzeni had a lady as an administration manager – a real step forward in a male dominated society. Finally, sadly, the dedication of St Aidan’s Church did not take place as the Bishop wanted to see more work done first, but a service was held at which 55 candidates were presented for confirmation. The service lasted over 3 hours, with the Bishop’s sermon lasting nearly an hour, but with two breaks for the three choirs to perform! And about 50-60 small children sat quietly on a mat in the front throughout.

Chris Dovey

Chris has given a snapshot of some of the things we got up to on our recent visit to Maramba Deanery in his article. Please do come along and support the Tanza-Near Evening on 1st October to learn more.

Many, many thanks to everyone who gave gifts for the group to take out. Every single gift was gratefully received by our friends. We were particularly moved when we presented the gift from the Team of a new stainless steel chalice and paten for St Aidan’s Church - the congregation couldn’t stop clapping and cheering. All of our gifts, however large or small, are symbols of our friendship and our commitment to our link and it is wonderful to think that they were given and received with great love. Thank you.


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