I made a quick Facebook announcement about this the other day, and the word is spreading amongst friends and family, but I wanted to take a moment and give more detail for those interested.
In case there are some who do not yet know, Katie and I have been selected to be Maryknoll Lay Missioners, and we have accepted a 3.5 year placement in Tanzania. The exact location and work we will be doing is yet to be determined, but knowing the country is a big step. And it’s info we are thrilled about, as Tanzania was our top choice. Over the next few months we’ll determine what we will be doing, but it will certainly involve our social work training.
Tanzania is a peaceful country. It is in close proximity to some famously unstable places, but its almost 60 year history is one of peace and stability. But also poverty, and lots of it. It’s one of the UN’s Least Developed Countries and is considered one of the economically poorest countries in the world. If you would like to read more about the country, visit the CIA World Factbook for a basic overview.
MKLM in Tanzania is based in the Lake Victoria region in two cities: Mwanza and Musoma. If you look at the map above, you will see both cities on the map, on the southern and eastern shores of the lake. It will be in one of these two cities that we will work. I believe we’ll have our language training in Musoma, and depending on the work we do, we’ll either stay in that city or relocate to Mwanza (which is the larger of the two cities).
The realization that we’ll actually be living in Tanzania in January 2012 is a bit mind-boggling. As many who are reading this blog likely will know, we’ve long dreamed of living in Africa. We applied to several programs in 2005 with the hope of heading over for a few years starting in 2006, but these plans were derailed by my father’s cancer. We went back to the drawing board to sort out what to do next. Skip ahead several years to 2008, and we began a dialogue with folks at MKLM to lay the groundwork for possibly applying to the program. We did officially apply in fall 2010, and here we are now with a confirmed placement in Tanzania. Rest assured, the process I just described entailed considerably more effort and work than my brief write-up describes.
We’re excited about this for obvious reasons. It’s a dream come true and a prayer answered. We’re excited to be able to answer the call to really delve into some tough stuff and see what we can do to help. We’re ready to test our mettle. We’re also excited because we’ve been to Mwanza on our trip back in 2006. We spent a week in the area we’ll be living (in a small village called Nassa in between Mwanza and Musoma). We still have friends in the area and remember the beauty of both the people and the place. It’s gonna be a hard adjustment- no matter how many amenities we get, it’s gonna be a harder life there. But we’re looking forward to it, and it’s a challenge we are ready to take up.
I’ll be posting further information in the next few days.
Mwanza, TZ, June 2006
Another shot of Mwanza, TZ, June 2006