Members of the group who traveled to Tanzania included (front, left to right) Sue Zielinski, Angie Bidlack, Cindy Fitzgerald, Ellen Millott, Lois Hartings, Fr. Mark Hoying, Linda Gerdeman, Judy Sudhoff, Connie Cleemput, Fr. Alfons Minju and (back) Alison Fitzgerald, Amy Unverferth, Sara Nessman, Fr. Henry, Dean Renner, Mike Hoying, Bob Buss, Susan White and Joyce Buss. (Photo submitted)
Members of the group who traveled to Tanzania included (front, left to right) Sue Zielinski, Angie Bidlack, Cindy Fitzgerald, Ellen Millott, Lois Hartings, Fr. Mark Hoying, Linda Gerdeman, Judy Sudhoff, Connie Cleemput, Fr. Alfons Minju and (back) Alison Fitzgerald, Amy Unverferth, Sara Nessman, Fr. Henry, Dean Renner, Mike Hoying, Bob Buss, Susan White and Joyce Buss. (Photo submitted)
KALIDA - During last June, a group of 18 from parishes in northwest and central Ohio, including members of St. Michael's Catholic Church, Kalida, traveled to Tanzania. The group worked at seminaries, schools and orphanages. They also visited hospitals and vocational schools and became aware of the needs of the people of Tanzania. Serving as their guide was Fr. Alfons Ninju.

One of their visits was to St. Gaspars Referral Hospital. It is operated by the Society of the Precious Blood Catholic Missionaries and is situated in the town of Itigi in central Tanzania.
The hospital was extremely overcrowded, often having to place three children in one bed. It also had broken-down equipment, since maintenance issues are a huge problem in Tanzania. No one has the experience to fix things and there is nowhere to get supplies.

The group also visited Amani Girls Secondary School in Manyoni. This is a boarding school that currently houses 270 teenage girls. The girls at the school were excited to learn. These girls come from all different tribes in Tanzania. They are trying to find a better life for themselves. There is no running water at the school. Holes in the concrete serve as their restroom.

After seeing the conditions at the boarding school, members of the group knew what their mission was. The group decided the boarding school needed running water and new restrooms.

The group also spent three days staying at Dodoma at Niyuji Precious Blood Seminary. There are presently 22 seminaries studying theology at the seminary.

A special dedication was held at the well that St. Michael's Catholic Church had donated money to dig. The group was told the seminary would be closed if not for the donations from past mission festivals.

During the evenings at the seminary, the group learned African music and dance.

During their stay, Fr. Mark Hoying observed his 20th anniversary to the priesthood. He was presented with a wooden plaque.

The group also spent a day at the Village of Hope, a complex started in 2002. All the children in the village are HIV-positive and their parents have died from AIDS. During the Mass at the Village, all the children took part by singing, dancing, playing drums and doing the readings.

Members of the group brought suitcases filled with gifts donated by St. Michael's parish. Some of the gifts were saved to give to the children at Christmas.

If a school is within walking distance in Tanzania, a child must have a uniform to attend.

Members of the group also spent a day at Serengeti National Park and had the opportunity to see elephants, lions, camels, zebras, giraffes and wild bears. They also visited Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It is considered one of the world's greatest natural spectacles.

Upon their return from the mission trip, the team decided to raise funds for the bathroom facilities at Amani Girls Secondary School. The cost for this project is approximately $13,000. The group is also working on raising money for uniforms for children in the secondary schools in Tanzania.

story created on Tuesday 10/15/2013 at 10:38:35 am by Nancy Kline
story modified on Tuesday 10/15/2013 at 9:22:16 pm by Kirk Dougal