Tanzania Missions Report – June 2008
The object of our trip to Tanzania was three fold. First of all to give Jacob opportunity to meet Norbert and his board members. Secondly to see the work first hand and finally to build up the brethren with some solid Bible teaching. However this visit would not only achieve all these things but instill in Moriel a sense of urgency through some of the incidents that happened.
Tanzania is a poor yet beautiful country. We first of all landed in Dar es Salaam a city that is now over 50% Moslem. It’s a really nice city and we later had opportunity to drive round it and look at the beaches, bustling crowds at the huge fish market and government buildings. The modern contrasts sharply with the third world. Out to see we could see modern fishing boats and yet in the shallows we saw men with nets up to their chest in the sea water working at their trade as others have done for thousands of years.
From there we flew to Kilimanjaro airport some 45 minutes by car from our destination Arusha and after a long days travel that began at 4am we gladly checked into our hotel, had a bite to eat and fell into a good nights sleep. The next day though was to be one of the most difficult days in our ministry, one that left Jacob for once struggling for words to explain.
The day started with the usual greetings. A group of about 16 people met us at the hotel and we were told transport was waiting outside. I was busy looking for a couple of mini-buses but was shocked to see that everyone had come in just one vehicle, a double cab Ute or Bakkie as we call them in South Africa. As we climbed inside; all seven of us, the others managed to stand in the rear where normally the hood should be. We must have made a peculiar site driving down those terrible roads to the Moriel Missions Station.
On Arrival, we could see that Norbert had been busy. In front of the office was a new flower bed with the flowers making up the words MORIEL. A maize mill was active across the field and the delegation of followers came with us as we looked at the cattle shed, school room and also the 18 acres or so of maturing Maize wafting in the breeze.
Our first task was to give the school girls a Bible Lesson. The girls looked very smart in their clean purple and white school uniforms and quickly the teachers who teach English, Math’s, Computers, Tailoring and Agriculture; had all the girls in the main school room. There followed a couple of Hymns, sang in a way that only African teens can sing. It put goose bumps down your neck and they sang to their savior with such a passion. Jacob was up next and he gave an excellent lesson on the nature of Salvation. The kids, teachers and pastors were enthralled and made eager notes.
Then came the thing that still has us shocked, angry and to be honest full of mixed emotions. A time was set aside so that the girls could ask questions and talk about their needs. Jacobs’s interpreter asked them BUT there was an eerie silence. At first I thought they were shy. They were asked again and the teachers said “listen these guys are only here for a short time”. One girl, a brave young lady stood up. She said “I have been asked to speak for everyone”.
Well I thought “here goes” It’s going to be computers, Xboxes, books, new uniforms, everything a teenager’s school girl desires. But we were shocked. Did they ask for computers ” “ NO. Did they ask for books ” “ NO. “Please” she said. “Can you do anything to stop the Rapes?”
Very rarely have I seen Jacob go pale. We both looked at the girls, the teachers, the pastors and each other. I remember thinking “Did I hear correctly?” To be frank the rest of the mission trip paled into insignificance. There were questions that needed to be asked.
- Did the teachers and pastors know about this?
- Do they know how many girls have been Raped?
- Have the girls been tested for HIV and STD’s?
- Have they been counseled?
- What has been put in place so this will not happen again?
- What can we do for the future of these young ones put into our charge?
The outcome of these questions has been implemented and is the main conversation between me and Jacob to date. ‚ You see like our Great Shepherd Yeshua, we must be willing to protect and lay down our lives for the sheep. Especially young lambs that have been preyed upon by veracious Wolves. The first thing that happened was that pastors were given a seminar on what it means to be a true pastor and not a wolf in sheep’s clothing or a hireling.
Secondly the lady teachers were instructed to counsel the girls to find out how many had been Raped. They were instructed to get the girls tested and then we would know how many would need medical treatment. This was to happen with confidentiality as the stigma of HIV is still very high in Tanzania. We also instructed the girls that no one is to walk home in groups of less than three. (We have 32 girls) and that those who must go it alone, that they are escorted to their village by an adult.
Medium to long term as the school grows, we must do something. Many years ago when Ebyown was placed on our hearts I knew that its philosophy would be replicated elsewhere. In South Africa Lyn and I have learnt a lot in establishing this work. Still though we struggle with the mindless burocracy and racism found within the South African system and so the work has been slow. However Tanzania is different. We have the favor of the government who have freely given us land and the go ahead to help these young ones. Therefore I envisage an “Ebyown Children’s Village Tanzania” that can be built quickly and a lot more cheaply than its South African counterpart.
What I see is seven Randavaals (round African huts) built on site. Each one sleeping six young ladies and each being overseen by an elder sister in Christ. The seventh Rondaaval will be used for visitors who will work on site with their building or nursing and teaching skills. There needs to be a kitchen set in place and a laundry. Finally some security fencing ‚ to stop strangers wandering in.
This will enable our orphans to live their lives in an environment that is safe, loving and full of hope.
How Can You Help?
Moriel does not like to solicit money or make appeals. However sometimes we have to break this rule when we come across incidents that are tragic and need an immediate response. Such as the Tsunami, the cyclone in Myanmar and now the systematic rape of our kids. Sometimes people just need to know and then God’s Holy Spirit will place a burden upon their hearts to help with expertise and the means to get the job done.
If that person is you then please contact a Moriel office near you or visit our website where there is an easy way to give with your credit cards online.
Let us help these youngsters. Lets us stop the Rapes NOW
Director Moriel Missions