Year Joined MKLM: 2018
Focus: Sustainable Development
Project(s): Business Advisor for Diocese of Musoma
Population Served: Businesses, schools and operations in the Musoma diocese
Goals of Ministry:
Support sustainable growth of income-generating ventures of the Diocese of Musoma through introduction of improved business, marketing and financial practices. Improve efficiency of diocesan systems and structures through introduction of technologies, including data management and computer systems. Support local entrepreneurs in their pursuit of opportunities and innovations. Also support the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa congregation, based in Musoma, with financial and business advice for implementation of improved systems.
My first assignment by the Musoma Diocese was to work with the diocesan book shop Duka La Vitabu. My role was to analyze the business, make recommendations for improvement and then work with the bookshop staff and diocesan leadership to implement business practices and systems to provide for growth and profitability. That included an analysis of the bookshop business and the implementation of a series of recommendations. From this initial experience, the diocese has requested my support in the following initiatives:
- The diocesan conference center and also a shopping center consisting of 57 small shops: Financial analysis is underway along with monthly reporting and an action plan for improvements.
- The diocese’s school system consisting of 20 primary schools and 6 secondary schools. A basic monthly financial reporting structure is being implemented and a plan underway for a diocesan-wide school financial reporting system with ERP software.
- Quickbooks is being implemented in one of the parish schools, as a pilot.
- Financial reporting and tracking is being implemented in two of the primary schools for the IHSA Sisters in Musoma.
Ultimately, the goal is that this work will lead to an improved, sustainable business environment as well as accountability for the diocesan operations. The goal is to enable a stable financial future and provision of the pastoral, health and education services for the population being served. As the operations of the church are principally funded through the contributions of parishioners, the goal is that these initiatives make for more improved management of their hard-earned contributions.
In addition, I help on a weekly basis with activities with the students at St. Justin’s Centre for Children with Disabilities in Musoma. I have also provided technical assistance to implement a solar water pump project for irrigation of the centre’s garden. This will enable water for the garden, pumped from Lake Victoria, for year-round garden production of fruits and vegetables for the students that stay there.
My wife and I first were introduced to Maryknoll around 25 years ago by Maryknoll Father Art Wille, who gave a Sunday Mass church talk at our local parish in Cupertino, California. He served in Musoma, Tanzania, for 60 years (1951—2011). We got to know Fr. Wille quite well and supported his many projects over the years. Fr. Wille’s legacy in the Musoma area is massive and extensive. He built schools, churches and institutions throughout the entire Musoma area.
We learned of Maryknoll Lay Missioners through Maryknoll magazine. My wife and I were Peace Corps volunteer math and science teachers in The Gambia, West Africa, from 1973 to 1975. We often considered returning to Africa to serve others when we were at the point of retirement. In 2018, we applied to Maryknoll, seeking a role where we could do service.
My work experience background is comprised of 35 years in the semiconductor industry in operations, engineering and management in Santa Clara, California. Then I started my own businesses in real estate and construction for 10 more years. Providentially my wife and I were assigned to Musoma. I am with Maryknoll Lay Missioners for one simple reason: to leverage my life and work experience to serve and help others. Then I will go with wherever that takes me. Much of the future is not known as it is not easy and it is certainly challenging. Service to others gives life real meaning.