In early September, a delegation of diocesan leaders from across the United States visited Ethiopia and Tanzania to get a first-hand look at CRS work. The following is a report by Kent Ferris, director of social action, diocese of Davenport, Iowa.
In rural Same Diocese, Tanzania, Thursday, September 16, 2010:
Our delegation visited with Maasi people near their homes. We learned that they live in a project area and after their warm greeting they spoke to us through a translator:
“My name is William Kimbe. The main problem here is water. We fetch water from very far away and unfortunately, because of a very long drought, all the donkeys have died. And because of that, there is a big, big problem for the women because they have to walk all the way to the small stream and go out very early and this is when they come back (late afternoon/early evening).”
Next we heard William’s elderly mother speak: “My name is Anna Kimbe. Kimbe was my husband’s name. He has explained about the difficulties we are facing about water. It is because they have a small school down there, we can’t go away from this place. The kids have to attend school, that is why we cannot go away. Because of the water shortage, it is difficult to keep the children clean. Sometimes when they go to school, and they are very dirty, they are punished by the teachers. If there is anything I could ask you, it would be water.”
Then Chris West, CRS staff member and co-leader for our trip spoke: “We are coming from the United States and we come from all over the large country. Some of us, like Annie (Anne Avellone, diocese of Albuquerque) come from a climate, much like this, where it is very dry. Others of us come from places that are so wet we don’t know how to get rid of the water. So we can understand how important water is.
“Catholic Relief Services in the United States tries to help Catholics understand the issues people around the world have when they face a water shortage. Each of the people we brought on the trip is a director in a diocese that represent lots of Catholics and part of their job is to take the message back home. As a result, they will take back the message that water is life, and they will ask the Catholics there to participate through CRS so we can continue to fund water projects here and around the world. We work very closely with our partners such as the Same (Tanzania) Diocese and they do incredible work staying connected to you. They are our eyes and ears for you and they can talk to us back in the United States. So we will take the message back and we will also continue to pray. And we are very grateful for your hospitality in welcoming us here today. Asanti!“
Anna Kimbe: “We pray that you stay well in Tanzania and that your people stay and remain healthy.”
William, Anna, and Chris, I’ll remember this afternoon when I’m back home in Iowa. We’ll respond to the request for water and make Global Solidarity real between our villages 8,000 miles apart.
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