Fr. Evandro Visits Butiama

Fr. Jim Donohue.

Fr. Andrzej drove to Mwanza to pick up Fr. Evandro, Francesco, and me after we arrived from Dar es Salaam. It is about a four-hour drive from Mwanza to Buhemba, where we were warmly welcomed. Although we are part of the same mission, I do not have an opportunity to see the men in the parishes very often.

Fr. Maciej welcomes us upon our arrival.

After the weekend, Fr. Evandro, Francesco and I drove to Butiama to meet with Fr. Phillip and Br. Mosses. When we arrived, one of the parishioners gave me a chicken to thank me for helping him last year. I let Br. Mosses take care of the chicken!

After Mass, Fr. Phillip began the grand tour that started with a bow and arrow demonstration.

I tried to stay out of range just in case he was not a very good practice shooter!

The tour began with one of the rooms that is used for seminarians and others who are in the parish for temporary stays.

Fr. Evandro in Butiama 6

Sometimes this space is needed, such as at Christmas time when we had four brother candidates and one aspirant staying at the parish over the break. Fr. Phillip has been very generous in opening the parish to community needs such as this.

Our short visit gave Fr. Evandro and Francesco a chance to see the different aspects of the parish. One of the interesting features of the Butiama parish is that Fr. Phillip has tried to make it self-sufficient. To that end, he has several fields that he plants and harvests to produce the feed for various animals that are raised by the parish: chickens, goats, sheep, cows, and pigs.

Although there are people who help with these tasks, much of the work and all of the supervision falls on Fr. Phillip’s shoulders. It is normal in Tanzania for a pastor to also be responsible for the farming and herding that is necessary to keep costs down. Fr. Phillip learned these skills as a boy growing up in the northern region of Tanzania and is as much at home with the animals as with farming or tending the grove of banana trees.

The parish is a large one with many outstations. Fr. Phillip also has Mass every morning at the secondary school in Buturu, where the Resurrection Sisters run a pre-primary school.

Next on the tour is the new rectory which is in the process of being built. One feature that I really like is the big windows that Fr. Phillip has included in the plans for each room.

There are plenty of pigs at the Butiama parish! Andrew is an altar server who assists with them.

Next, Fr. Phillip pointed out the parish church land and boundaries to the three of us.

Fr. Daniel started the banana grove when he was pastor, and Fr. Phillip has carried on with it.

The Butiama parish also has a number of jackfruit trees. They are part of the fig and breadfruit family and are very high in vitamins and minerals. It is sweet and tastes a bit like pineapple.

After lunch, we drove the short distance to Buturu where we met with the Resurrection Sisters.

More to come on

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