The 2018 travelers answered a few questions before their journey and now they're sharing some thoughts since their departure from Tanzania.

Anna with Pastor Petro
Who did you meet on this journey that you will never forget? Petro. He is a Maasai pastor. I  will never forget him because he tried really hard to make me feel welcome.
What surprised you in Tanzania? Everything, but one thing in particular was how happy everyone was that we came to visit them.
Did the trip live up to your expectations? Yes. It was so interesting to see how everything is so different than how we live.
How did things go with the things you worried about before the trip? I wasn't worried about anything, so I guess it was okay!
Where did you see Jesus in Tanzania? Seeing all the donations of food that went to Huruma Center.
Pastor Wendy & Pastor/Doctor Barnabas
Who did you meet on this journey that you will never forget? So many people! Barnabas, Petro, Pastor Helen.... if I had to pick one, I'd say Dr…

Orientation to BKB

I tagged along with a group visiting from Minnesota this morning to hear General Secretary Nayman Chavalla welcome them with an orientation to Bega Kwa Bega. I've heard it before, but not for a couple years. The story never really gets old to me.

Welcome to the Iringa Diocese and to the Head Office where we have many departments and programs. As General Secretary, I am the administrator for the diocese. Today it's my job to tell you about the partnership and its impact.

This partnership is 30 some years old, one of the oldest of all the ELCT partnerships. Ten years ago, together we evaluated the partnership and developed three areas of focus: prayer, presence or visitation, and projects.

Starting with prayer is very important to our relationship. Every congregation here has a special week to pray for their SPAS partners.

I visited your country three times. I remember coming to your house for dinner [said to the leader of the visiting group] and I remember your animals - a llama an…

Getting here and there

One of the first things to know about a trip to Tanzania is that it takes a long time to get here. Once you're here, it still takes a long time to get from one place to another. That's just the way it goes.

We traveled by air from MSP to Amsterdam, then to Dar es Salaam with a short stop at Kilimanjaro. (We arrive at Kilimanjaro after dark, and stay on the plane while some people get off and others get on the plane, so we've never seen Mount Kilimanjaro.) TSA advises international travelers to arrive at the airport three hours before their flight. Some 24 or more hours later, there we are in Dar. Our transit motel met us with a shuttle/ minivan.

The next morning we took a small plane to Iringa. It seats 12 or so. The flight is 90 minutes, which is a nice improvement over the 12 hour drive cross country previous groups have taken. The downside is we miss seeing the countryside, which changes from the tropical feel around Dar, past sisal plantations, through Mikumi National …

2018 Travelers

Counting down to departure on Monday afternoon, I asked the travelers to tell us a bit about themselves and what they look forward to on the journey.  Here's what they said.

Tell us about yourself.  My name is Wendy Steger. I am a wife and mother of three children. Anna, who is traveling with me, is my youngest. I am one of the pastors at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. I have been at Shepherd of the Valley for 2.5 years, and ordained as pastor almost 1.5 years. My family and I were members at SOTV from 2002 to 2007, before we left to help launch Light of the World Lutheran in Farmington.
What called you to this journey? This kind of journey has been on my bucket list for a very long time. I remember Pastor Bonnie at SOTV preaching about her trip to Tanzania many years ago, and I have been wanting to go “someday” ever since then. When I had an opportunity to travel as a representative of SOTV staff, I was thrilled.
What about this trip excites you?What are you looking forward t…

Tena na tena

Ever since 2002, Shepherd of the Valley travelers have made annual trips to visit our companions in Tanzania. Each time, we are welcomed lavishly and asked to return tena na tena, again and again.

What’s on the itinerary? ·After a long journey and four flights, Pastor Wendy, her daughter Anna, and I will arrive in Iringa and will visit Huruma Center Orphanage and the Iringa Diocese Head Office our first day in town. ·We’ll spend three days in each of our partner congregations: Makifu, Tungamalenga, and Usolanga. ·We’ll spend a day at the school atop a mountain – Lutangilo Secondary School, where new science lab classrooms have just been completed. ·Our trip includes a couple days at Ruaha National Park, to see the beauty of God’s creation in the Great Rift Valley.
We’ll see what’s new since our last visit. ·We’ll visit Mpalapande Primary School, where school is in session for 60 kindergartners. ·We’ll get an update on plans for two water projects in Ikwavila and Mpalapande. ·We’ll see chapel …

What's next? Water!

For the past year and a half, most of the posts here have revolved around the construction of Mpalapande Primary School. Finally, the school is completed, and the first class of sixty students are attending school in their own village, without the hours of walking to the next closest school, some 6-8 kilometers away.

Bwana Yesu Asifiwe!  Praise the Lord Jesus!

So what's next?

Well, now it's time to address some issues of water.

Mpalapande Village receives its water from a pipeline that starts in the hills around Mapogoro, follows the roadside, then continues to Mpalapande and Kitisi. The pipeline has been in place for thirty some years and was designed to provide villagers with water at 16 public spigots.

Over time, individuals have tapped into the pipeline to bring water closer to their own homes. I've been told there are now some 60 places where the public water is connected for private use.  That, of course, has an effect on the amount of water available for those 16 pu…

Ready for classes

December was a busy month for our friends in Mpalapande, as they prepared for the January opening of the new primary school.

They held a planning meeting, with diocese leaders including General Secretary Nayman Chavalla, District Pastor Ambrose Mwakikoti, and with BKB Coordinator April Trout all driving out from Iringa to discuss what still needed to be done.

At the meeting in early December, they listed the things that needed to be done: hire a teacher, get desks, set the opening day.  They decided to start the school with one class of kindergartners, and add another class each year.  The local parish was tasked with finding a teacher, and the folks from Iringa would get estimates for the desks. Shepherd of the Valley sent the funds that were needed.

On Tuesday, December 26, BKB Coordinator April Trout and Mr Frank Mkocha from the Diocese Head Office helped deliver 60 desks and benches for the students, and a teacher's desk and chair. The desks were constructed in Iringa and car…