Our minister Albert Bogle, shares with us another snapshot of one of the days he spent out in Tanzania with Vine Trust.
As I write this it is Wednesday 6th of June 2018. The weary pilgrims had to make a decision last night. Would they start off at 6am without breakfast or wait until the hotel dining room opens at 7.00am? We all agreed to leave at 6.00am so that we could return before dark. So many accidents occur because of bad lighting on roads in Africa. It is always wise where possible to travel in daylight hours. However when we all met up at 6.00am the hotel had kindly laid on breakfast. So we started out at 6.30am.
Today is the day we travel to the island of Ikuza to see at first hand the work of Jubilee Hope. Ikuza is a small remote island in Lake Victoria with a population of around 2,500. They seldom receive visitors from overseas, however we were assured this fishing community would give us a warm welcome.
When we arrived at Kiziramiaga, the area on the shore across from Ikuza it was thought that the Lake was a bit too choppy, to use small boats, so Jubilee Hope sailed closer to the shore to allow the small boats on the mainland shoreline to ferry us across to Jubilee Hope. Lake Victoria is the world’s second largest lake. It is about the size of Ireland.
We were welcomed on board by Dr Ronald and his team. I was especially pleased to see Dr Alison Lunt from Bristol. I met Alison at the Vine Trust medical conference earlier this year. Alison explained how this was her fourth trip to Tanzania. Having been on a previous trip to the Amazon.
Before long we were anchored just off the shore of Ikuza. Once again we made our way to the island on small landing boats to be greeted by the island officials. We made our way up to an area where hundreds of people were waiting to see a doctor or nurse. I was told the team operate a triage system in order to discover where to direct the patients and to offer medical support if possible without taking them on board the ship.
We had quite a lot of fun with the crowd that gathered. A megaphone appeared and Rev Samuel Limbe introduced the vision team and assured the people we had come to see how in the future the work of Jubilee Hope could be improved for their benefit.
Africans love singing so at this point we invited them to join with me as we sang together the Jubilee Hope song. We did this so that our filmmaker had footage to use to promote the Jubilee Hope song.
On returning to the ship all were impressed by the amazing work that is carried on in these remote islands by the volunteers who come from all over the world to support the service that Jubilee Hope offers to the communities on the Lake. Literally scores of young women could be seen climbing the stair of the ship from one department to the other. Often to get the results of their HIV test that had been carried out on the ship just 30 minutes beforehand.
The service that Jubilee Hope gives is now recognised by the Tanzanian Government to be an integral part of their programme to bring medical services to the islands of Lake Victoria.
As we made our return journey to the hotel we recognised that we were pilgrims witnessing the transformation that occurs when people of good will and exceptional skills work together to bring health and healing into the lives of the forgotten and abandoned.
As for us the enduring memories of our visit to the island and to Jubilee Hope has changed the way we think about the world around us. One pilgrim shared with the others that he now realised how important it was for him to have made the journey in person. By doing so he now realised he had a responsibility to speak up for the poor and neglected of this world.
I guess that is what a pilgrimage does. It causes you to reflect upon what you have seen in order that you can help bring about the changes. The strap line “Connecting people to change lives” is what all of this is about.
Very Rev Albert Bogle, Minister of Sanctuary First