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Advent 2023 newsletter


Steve and Loyce Veryser, Tanzania

students build basketball court

All 900 students did their part, as each class did a section of the backfill for the construction of a new basketball court.

During this Advent season, the values of humility and gratitude have been on my heart. We are grateful for your financial support, which has helped us to complete the water project at Kitangiri Secondary and make good progress on the basketball court at Bwiru Boys. If you have ever asked for financial support before, you also know the humility needed to say, “I can’t do this alone.”

Steve hands over water project

Steve officially handing over the Kitangiri water project to the school and district education office.

At Kitangiri Secondary, where Loyce teaches, we managed to complete the water project for 5.72 million Tanzanian Shillings (about $2,300). With the two 5,000-liter reserve tanks and water lines to the two toilet blocks, students now have reliable water supply at the school. Especially water for washing their hands, makes a big difference in maintaining student health, and we’re hopeful it will improve student attendance and, eventually, pass-rates.

The water project was completed just in time for the Form 4 graduation (equivalent of high school seniors) on Oct. 19. They invited Steve to the graduation as a guest of honor and used the opportunity to officially hand over the project to the school and district education office.

Please keep the 207 graduates in prayer as they embark on the next stage in their lives. Many of them hope to continue to serve the community in different ways through their careers.

After investing 3.65 million Tanzanian Shillings (almost $1,500) to build an 18-by-28-meter (60 by 92-foot) foundation, backfill it to level, compact the surface, make new backboards, reinforce and reset the goalposts in cement bases, the Bwiru Boys’ basketball team is back to training on a dirt court.

Filling the foundation to level was a big job, but 900 students, each carrying 10 buckets, made light work of it. Again, it took some humility to pause at this unfinished stage so that the students would have a usable surface while we continue to raise funds (we still need $6,000) for completion of a proper concrete slab.

The hard-packed dirt court surface — smooth, level and protected from runoff water in this heavy rainy season — is actually a big improvement over the loose dirt court they had before. I wonder if we’ll start an ecological clay-court basketball trend😊. Actually though, this project really makes me think of how much I took for granted growing up in the U.S. with basketball courts all over the place. There’s only a handful of full-size cement basketball courts in Mwanza, a city of over 1 million people.

Amani ID for coordinator of deaf festival

Our friend Amani serves as coordinator of an international deaf competition.

In other news, my friend Amani, who taught me Tanzanian Sign Language and for whom I helped cover the costs of attending a GED type program, finished his first year of the bachelor in education program at the University of Dodoma. He has just started his second year.

Amani continues to serve in a number of leadership roles in the Deaf community and was interviewed on live TV recently. You can watch the interview, which is in Swahili and Tanzanian Sign Language, here. 

We wish you all the joy of a very blessed Christmas. Your generosity enables us to continue to serve here. We look forward to continuing to share our experiences in the coming year.

If you would like to support our work financially and help us complete the basketball court, please donate by clicking the button below.

We invite you to walk with us as our “COMPANIONS IN MISSION.” Companions in Mission are friends and generous donors who give financial gifts on a regular (usually monthly) basis. For more information, visit Become a Companion in MissionThank you so much for your generosity! 



Steve Veryser
Based in Mwanza, Tanzania, Steve Veryser is Maryknoll Lay Missioners' area director for Africa and Asia. He also teaches math to deaf students at Bwiru Boys Technical Secondary School. Steve and his wife, Loyce, have been Maryknoll lay missioners since 2018.