Lent 2022 newsletter
Kevin and Marilyn McDonough, Tanzania
As we start our fourth year in Musoma, Tanzania, we continue to share our life experience and skills with our colleagues here, as we work and walk with the Tanzanian people. To say we have been transformed and educated by this experience would be an understatement. This was only possible through living and working here these years.
Several of the major initiatives we started three years ago have come to the fore this year, so long days are now the norm with training.
Bringing financial discipline and structure to the diocesan operations and schools began last year with the financial and management auditing of all 30 schools in the Musoma diocese. This was followed by significant improvements in management and operations structure.
We started another major financial reporting change in January 2022, when we began to train all the accountants in diocesan schools and other institutions in procedures and introduced Quickbooks accounting software throughout the diocese. As a result, huge changes in accountability and transparency are afoot. I am currently training about 10 accountants in their respective schools, and more are on the waiting list.
All of the above is really important and impactful for my co-workers here, but I must say that my heart is really with the children of St. Justin’s Centre for Children with Disabilities outside of Musoma. It is a very special place, where a lot of great things and miracles are happening.
St. Justin’s has been working on building a new campus on land of the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa because Lake Victoria’s rising water level is encroaching on the present site on the lake shore. We learn great humility and the few really important things in life at St. Justin’s. The importance of humility is probably the biggest factor in the transformative experience of living here.
Since our last newsletter, we were fortunate to celebrate the Christmas and New Year’s holidays with the St. Justin’s children and the Immaculate Heart Sisters. Yesterday we had a very happy Valentine’s Day celebration at St. Justin’s. Kevin and I were given a bouquet of roses, handmade of ribbons, as a thank you from St. Justin’s Centre.
I invite you once more to walk with us on our journey with another child. Recently Stephano, Sister Margaret and I visited the sisters’ clinic in Rosana, which is north of Musoma near the Kenyan border. There we met with approximately 50 children with disabilities and their parents. Our goal was to determine what kind of help was needed and what we could do.
We met a small, malnourished boy named Kevin, who was almost 1 year old. Kevin was born with a cleft palate that needed repair. His mother told me that she could not breastfeed him because he was unable to suck. His hemoglobin was too low for him to have surgery right away. The doctor prescribed some medication to build up his blood.
Approximately one month later, Kevin was well enough for surgery. The surgery needed to be performed in Dar es Salaam. Sister Grace (a nurse from Rosana), Kevin’s grandmother and Kevin made the long journey by bus from Rosana to Musoma to Dar. Mama stayed home with the other children. It was an arduous journey of over 36 hours each way. Your donations (approximately $300) paid for the bus trips, food and accommodations. The surgery was free.
About 10 days later, they returned to Musoma. The result was miraculous. Kevin looks like a normal child. He now has the opportunity for a good life. This was also important for the people in his Kuria (tribe) village. Some of the people there won’t have surgery because they are afraid they will die. This surgery was a real victory. And your donations made it possible.
As we think about returning home in May, I am looking forward to spending more time with family. However, I know that part of my heart will always be with the Sisters and children in Musoma. We want to thank everyone who supported our mission here. Through your donations we have been able to help with wheelchairs, special beds, a special desk, health insurance, prosthetic legs, uniforms and medical care for a number of special children from poor families. You have changed lives and we are very grateful.
We plan to return to Tanzania from time to time and possibly help the diocese and Sisters with small projects.
Blessings to you all,
Kevin and Marilyn
Please consider making a special Lenten gift to Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ “Walk With Us” campaign, which raises money for the recruitment, training and ongoing support of all of us lay missioners. We can only “walk with” the people here because you are “walking with” us. Thanks to matching gifts, every $100 given to the campaign in effect becomes $150. To donate ONLINE, click the “Walk With Us” button below. Thank you so much for your generosity!