MISSION TEAM — On Aug. 1, Bishop Albert Thévenot, M.Afr., arrived in Africa to visit the mission team digging a well in Tanzania. During the special celebration for the completion of the well, Thévenot spoke Swahili to the village while village women danced for the group.

Tanzania mission team brings clean drinking water

By Paula Fournier

PRINCE ALBERT — On June 30, eight young adults and two parents from the Diocese of Prince Albert left Canada for a six-week mission to bring clean drinking water to a community in need by building a windmill-powered well through the Missionaries of the Precious Blood (CPPS) in Tanzania, Africa.

The CPPS Mission Projects is a charitable organization in Canada. In 1967, at the invitation of a local bishop, the congregation travelled from Italy to Manyoni, in the central part of Tanzania, to establish mission stations. The focus of the missions was to provide access to clean drinking water, as well as opportunities for primary and secondary education.

CPPS Water Projects began providing fresh water to remote villages through windmill-powered wells. In other villages, hand pumps and electric pumps were installed.

In 2012, the Prince Albert Pastoral Centre sent invitations to parishes and schools in the diocese to attend information sessions about the upcoming mission to Africa. Approximately 20 high school students and adults initially signed up for the mission to Africa.

Bishop Albert Thévenot, M. Afr, who lived in Africa for 13 years, had always wanted to send people on a mission to the country. After hearing about missionaries travelling to build windmill-powered wells, he contacted Rev. Anthony Canterucci with CPPS Mission Projects.

Past director of Youth Ministry Warren Dungen helped co-ordinate the mission. The final team consisted of two parents and eight young adults. Together the group discussed the overview of the mission, group activities and fundraising events.

Dungen felt it was important to have a well-prepared team that would lay the foundation for their overall mission experience. He hoped that each missionary would allow themselves to be transformed by the Holy Spirit to discover more of God’s plan for their life.

“They went with the intention of ‘giving’ the gift of water and life to a village in Tanzania. It was my expectation that each would return with fresh eyes and hearts fully alive to serve God in a renewed way. I am sure that they will appreciate more and treasure many memories and friendships made.”

On June 30, the missionaries left Saskatoon for Amsterdam and they reached Dar es Saalam, Tanzania, in the early hours of July 1 where Brother Anthony Canterucci, CPPS, founder of the CPPS Water Projects, picked them up.

Canterucci has helped build more than 700 wells and windmills in the area. On July 9, major construction of the windmill began for the 500 children and 300 adults in the village of Nala.

On July 11, the initial drilling to 200 feet was discovered to be insufficient. The drilling unit was forced to dig over three hundred feet. In the meantime, the group mixed cement for the four post foundations of the water storage tank and dug a deep trench using pick axes. Team members described the ground as dry and hard.

One group parent from Christopher Lake, Roxanne Richards, wrote to those in Canada who inquired about who provided money, material and labour, describing how the Tanzanian citizens had considerable input.

“Our group of 10 raised the money and paid for the cost of the well and the windmill. However, the main focus of this organization is education of locals and giving opportunities to control their own destiny. Both men and women from the village come to help mix and haul concrete, helping to take ownership of the project.”

She stressed all workers are local, including the cooks, those who did laundry and housecleaning, drivers, carpenters, welders, painters, masons and administration, both Catholic and Muslim.

The final height for the tower was three storeys, the tallest structure in the village. A winch was used to lift up the motor and heavier parts; a pulley was used to bring up the windmill blades one at a time.

The team waited in anticipation as pipes were connected to the well. As water was pumped to the surface through the power of the windmill, the group was overwhelmed with emotion.

A few days later, the team put their handprints in paint on the cisterns with the words majikwa maisha, meaning water for life. They delivered 100-pound sacks of rice to the Brothers of Charity, a home for mentally and physically disabled men and boys, and played soccer with village children. They visited the Sisters of Charity compound as well, where orphans, the physically and mentally disabled are cared for.

On Aug. 1, Bishop Thévenot arrived to visit the mission team. During the celebration for the completion of the well, Thévenot spoke Swahili to the village while village women danced for the group.

On Aug. 6, the Tanzanian mission team left the compound in Dodoma, heading to Mikumi National Park to go on safari, touring the historical Slavery Museum in Bagamoyo, and enjoying handcrafted Tanzanian items at the Mwenge Carver’s Market, returning to Saskatoon on Aug. 15.

 
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