Below is Albert’s final piece from his time in Tanzania with Vine Trust.
As I write this it is Thursday 7 June. It’s the last day of our trip before we head home on Friday. During the last few days we’ve been on a whirlwind tour of the work of Vine Trust in Tanzania.
Today we are going to visit Kazunzu. This is a remote community on the edge of Lake Victoria, where Vine Trust in partnership with the African Inland Mission Church and the local government. The plan is to build a new community to welcome orphaned children and create a village, I guess a bit like Quarriers Homes here in Scotland. The need for such homes has arisen because of the number of children who have been orphaned due to the AIDs epidemic.
The building of the village has come about through the generosity of Mid Calder Church of Scotland. This congregation wanted to mark the positive aspects of the Reformation, as we approached the 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, back in 2017. In an amazing effort to commemorate the influence of the Reformation in personal responsibility and social care for others, this congregation raised £85,000 in order to help some of the poorest children in Tanzania grow into their full potential.
I’m delighted that the minister Rev John Povey has been part of our group of pilgrims, and John will have the honour of laying the foundation stone for the first building of Hope Village at Kazunzu.
Our first stop is to meet with the District Commissioner, the Right Honourable Emmanuel Kipole, at his office. He has been in post for just under three and a half years and will complete his term of office in eighteen months. Mr Kipole will be attending the opening and has promised the full support of the local government, including the repair and development of the road into the village.
As the road at present is not passable we took a 30 minute sail along the coast and arrived at Kazunzu. We were given a wonderful welcome by the community. Four or five choirs sang and were accompanied by their dancers. The District Commissioner encouraged the local people to support the development, and to ensure that all who came to the village from around the world, were welcomed and respected. Then the Bishop spoke and received a gift from Mid Calder Church. This was a picture of the Princess Royal, who is Patron to the Vine Trust, receiving the cheque from the Kirk Session of £85.000.
The singing and dancing continued as the formalities of the opening of the new village were finalised. This was truly a historic day for this rural community and one that they will not easily forget.
The challenge now is that the Vine Trust will need to inspire volunteers to help raise the money that will be required to finish this very ambitious project. Ten homes to house six children in each home including a Mama for each family. Ten gardens, ten cows, and chickens for each little unit, in order to be sustainable. A community farm, a vocational training school, a medical centre, perhaps some shops and above all a school which will be open to all the children in the district. When finished, the Village of Hope will be a shining example of what it means when the Vine Trust talks about ‘Connecting People To Change Lives’.
So here is our challenge, do you think we could raise a group of Sanctuary First Volunteers to head out to Tanzania sometime next year and help build a home? If interested why not get in touch with us and we can begin to get the ball rolling.
I must say I’m glad to be back home but aware of the responsibility a visit like this places upon those of us who have not only heard with our ears but seen with our eyes the needs of so many disadvantaged people.