Tanzania Link with Mungano Parish
Many Europeans visit East Africa every year as tourists, but few meet those Africans who live and work outside the hotels and safari lodges. Eight years ago I experienced the Kilimanjaro circuit in Tanzania (TZ), but never visited anyone’s home. However, in 2011 I was fortunate enough to spend five weeks on placement at Msalato Theological College near Dodoma in the Diocese of Central Tanganyika. There I made many friends among the clergy, and when visiting and staying in their parishes, I was able to see how the majority of people in TZ live.
My visits certainly confirmed the economic statistics. The average per capita income for Tanzanians last year was $483, compared to $37,849 for the United Kingdom. Only 15% of all homes (2% in rural areas) are connected to the national power grid. 4% of households have a direct water supply, but 53% are fortunate enough to be less than one kilometre from a source of drinking water. And yet the peoples’ generosity to me was humbling. One pastor had bought a bag of cement to construct a simple homemade toilet in his shed in honour of my visit.
Mungano Parish is only a few kilometres from Msalato College and the Cape-to-Cairo Highway, but has no access to electricity. The only water for the community in this region classified as “semi-arid” is from muddy homemade wells shared with animals. These have a tendency to collapse on the people constructing them. Clean water has to be carried in. The population live mainly in thatched mud-brick shambas surrounded by land that can only be cultivated during the rainy season (December-March).