Focus 2007

Moshi - GBR15-11-2007

Project: Thornleigh-Tanzania
Date of foundation: 21 July - 11 August 2007
Place: Moshi, Tanzania
Province: GBR - AFE

On Saturday 21 July, after several months of fund raising and preparation, ten students and three teachers from Thornleigh Salesian College in Bolton, England, flew from Manchester airport to begin three weeks of work and community living based near the Salesian house of studies in Moshi,Tanzania.

The preparations had included a visit to East Africa by Fr Martin Coyle SDB and Fr Andrew Waller SDB, who satisfied themselves that the students would be safe and that there would be suitable opportunities for useful work. Fr Brian Jerstice SDB, then teaching in Moshi, also met the group during a visit to his family in Bolton.

From Nairobi airport, the group travelled by Impala coach across the Kenya-Tanzania border. The journey, which took seven hours, brought home the many differences they could expect between life in Europe and life in Africa. Fr Jerstice welcomed the group to Moshi, at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, and showed them the house which had been renovated specially for them by a local religious order (Apostolic Life Community of Priests in the Work of the Spirit). 

Before long they were starting work. Two of the students went to St Joseph’s hospital, run by the Sisters of Our Lady of Kilimanjaro. Both were hoping to make a career in medicine and they were given plenty of experience, making beds, administering medication through intravenous tubes, and witnessing surgical operations.

Four students went to the Moshi Airport Primary School. After a day of observation they were teaching English to classes of children, and answering countless questions while joining in games in the playground.

The remaining four students were at the Bendel Memorial Secondary School, teaching Chemistry, Biology, Maths, Physics and English to class sizes of 35-40 pupils who ranged in age from 12-17. This again was a challenging task for the students, gaining the trust of the pupils who were not much younger than themselves.

In both the schools and the hospital the students were expected to learn fast - the motto was ‘Today you watch, tomorrow you do’. Everywhere they were impressed by the friendliness and gratitude of those, young and old, with whom they were working, especially those who had very few possessions. As one said, ‘It’s made us all much more grateful for everything that we have and want for a little less.’

As a result of their fund raising in Britain, the students were able to leave donations of 1750GBP to each of the schools, 1000GBP to the hospital and 1000GBP to a Salesian project for street children in Nairobi.

You can read the personal account of one of the students in the Autumn 2007 edition of ‘Don Bosco Today’, which is available on the web: