Taking on Tanzania

Jesuit Missions volunteers Rebecca and Matthew, are half way through their six months placement in Tanzania. They are teaching at St Ignatius Jesuit school in the capital Dodoma. This is the poorest and least developed area of Tanzania, with a severe lack of health care facilities and an ever-increasing population. Both volunteers have taken a step into the unknown and chosen to put their faith into action to live and work in one of the most marginalised communities.

The new year brought with it the rainy season as a relief from the heat and humidity which they had been experiencing. It also brought a new year at school and a new teaching timetable, which for Rebecca was English, Religion and personal development. They also had an opportunity to visit some local families, which Rebecca talks about as one of her highlights of the trip so far.

A highlight of mine from the past couple of weeks has been able to go on a home visit. It was a day spent hanging out with, playing games, sharing stories and making chapati with one of the local families, who were friends with past community members. It was also my first real experience as to what a typical house is like in this area. The family of ten share four rooms; one living room, and three bedrooms. In the outside grounds of the house, they have a kitchen area (a small space where their pots, pans and dishes are stored, as well as pieces of wood which are used for cooking). Outdoors is also where their water supply, squatty toilet and bathing facilities are located.

On arrival, we were warmly greeted by the family with lots of hugs, handshakes and the phrase “karibu” (welcome) was repeated several times. Despite the language barrier, it was lovely being able to hang out in one another’s company. In that one day, the family shared with us so much generosity, hospitality and love. Seeing them so happy to share what they had made me think of what could happen if more people were willing to share in the same way this beautiful family had done with us: without holding back.

This message resonates well with Pope Francis’ call to Love your neighbour. As we enter into Lent this week show love to all your neighbours and join the Ignatian solidarity Valentine’s day campaign of #migrantswelcome here.

Showing love is also about living simply and appreciating the moments that happen around you. Rebecca describes her experiences of living simply within her community in Tanzania.

My experiences so far have shown me that living simply is not boring or mundane but rather fun and fulfilling. It’s about finding joy in the little things such as making bread from scratch for the first time or being able to hold conversations with people in Swahili. It’s not having the urge to go on the internet every day but instead using that time go on walks, to read and to listen to music. It’s about holding conversations with people and learning new things from them. It’s watching our chickens roam around the grounds whilst I’m hand-washing my clothes.

Living simply is about being content in the moment.

Read their one month update here.

Do you want to volunteer overseas with Jesuit Missions? We have an exciting new volunteer scheme being launched this summer giving you the opportunity to volunteer alongside local volunteers in either Malawi or Zimbabwe as part of a long-term development programme. Register your interest today.

Posted on 12th February 2018