Buhemba Parish Welcomes Fr. Evandro – Part 3

Fr. Jim Donohue.

After the festivities of the morning, Fr. Evandro and Francesco were given a tour of the facilities and various classrooms. First up was a tour of the kitchen where the lunch of rice and beans was being prepared. Mr. Dixon, the school principal, explained the process for preparation for so many young people.

I do not know what to call this, but it is like a large vat to cook the beans for lunch each day. The quantity that is needed each day is huge!

Fr. Evandro Buhemba 3-2

Here, Fr. Maciej is explaining the plan for this student dormitory. There are national examinations for Standard Four and Standard Seven. They are most important for the acceptance and placement of students for secondary school. Realizing how important this is, many schools offer housing for students during these two years so that they can concentrate on their studies.

One of the eye-opening experiences for me is how much work young people do at home. Young girls work in the home, cooking, cleaning, and looking after their younger siblings. Young boys look after the goats, sheep, cows, and chickens that a family might own. I remember something from last year when a pediatrician visited from Poland. She had examined each of the school children and one of the things that she noticed was how much more muscular the children’s upper bodies were compared to children from Europe. This was from carrying heavy things, such as large buckets of water and wood for cooking.

In any case, the plan is for students to board here for those two years of national examinations. This way, they can concentrate totally on their studies.

We then visited each of the classrooms. Believe it or not, I spoke Swahili to introduce the visitors and to encourage the students to welcome them!

The Standard Seven students were working on EXCEL in the computer lab. The computers were donated by the USA Province of the Congregation of the Resurrection.

The students were watching the drone video that was shot earlier in the morning. Of course, all this technology is good, but it is a bit beyond me!!!!!

Many of these students were my altar servers from last year. They each wanted to show me what they knew about EXCEL. I was very impressed and very proud of them. I was also very proud of Fr. Maciej who is able to see how important it is to prepare these young people for the future. They need the knowledge and skills to be able to succeed in the world of today and tomorrow.

It reminded me of an interview that I recently did with Fr. Maciej, where he compared what is happening in the school with the gospel story where the man is living in the tombs. He can see nothing but darkness and death with no future. But Jesus calls him out of the tombs into the light of life. It seemed like he had no future, only death; but now he has a future, new life. We are doing our best to call the young people in our schools to a new future, to new life.

At the final Mass, Fr. Evandro praised all that was being done in the school and encouraged all the young people to work hard, not only for themselves and for their families, but also for their villages and country.

We accomplished a great deal of work. The purpose of the trip was to make sure that all financial, legal, and ownership documentation was in order (as required from our 2023 summer General Chapter, held in Rome). The government of Tanzania made changes to how communities qualify for legal charitable status—as has other countries such as Canada and the United States of America—to guard against money laundering and illegal funding of terrorism. So, we are working to make sure that everything is in order. It is not the most edifying work, but it is necessary for the sake of the mission.

Fr. Evandro Buhemba 3-17
More to come on www.resurrectionists.ca

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