Grant Site Update: Hegongo Holy Cross School
We are pleased to report that the building project for the girls’ dormitory at Hegongo Holy Cross School in Tanzania is ongoing and will hopefully be completed soon. All the money from the UTO grant has been spent, and more money has been raised to complete this project. In February 2017, a small group of us made a trip to the Diocese of Tanga, and we were able to visit the school, meet with the engineer, and see the progress.
When we were there, the old building had been stripped to the brick frame. Some of the partitions were in place, and the workers were stuccoing the inside walls. The building has been reconfigured as a dormitory, creating enough space for 60 girls, along with proper bathrooms with plumbing and showers. The wiring had been stripped out and replaced with new wiring that will enable the girls to read and study in the evenings. The windows will all have glass and screens, and there will be ceiling fans for ventilation. I wish you could have been with us to see the faces of the girls when they learned there would be screens in the windows and fans. The smiles on their faces were enough to light up any room.
We were also able to see the progress on the septic system and the creation of the incineration system, which will burn trash at an intense heat so it emits very little smoke, keeping the air cleaner. The area that was cleared to create the septic system also allows for space for the girls to have a kitchen garden.
In addition to visiting the UTO grant site, we were able to spend time with students and leaders at the school. We had some money to take them shopping for things of their choice, and they chose study books for the school so that groups could study together. They are intent on learning and succeeding, and they want that for their fellow students, too. The building project and the interest of people from another part of the world give them hope and energy. It spurs them on to do their best. We were also given a document from Bishop Maimbo and the clergy of the Diocese of Tanga inviting the Diocese of Massachusetts to deepen its relationship with the Diocese of Tanga. There is a bond of trust that has been built up through the many years that we have worked together.
For me personally, the perseverance on the part of the students and teachers at Hegongo Holy Cross High School and the people of the Diocese of Tanga continues to help me in my own life. They use all they have, have a deep commitment to God, manage to find joy in simple things, and are willing to trust in our relationship. Even when it was clear that the UTO grant was not going to cover all the work for this project, they trusted that the work would get done. Blessings come in many ways. Our relationship with Holy Cross School has now expanded to include donations from the Church of the Epiphany in Rumford, Rhode Island, as well as a $1,000 grant from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The parish of St. Andrew’s in New Bedford, Massachusetts, has applied for a $10,000 mission tithe grant, and the parish of All Saints in Brookline, Massachusetts has applied for a $7,000 mission tithe grant. Our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Alan Gates, has promised to make up any money that might still be needed to complete the project.
The voices of God’s holy children have been heard, and the hearts of many have been moved to help. Our relationship with the Diocese of Tanga will continue, and we will see how God might next use us to be instruments of hope.