‘As the link officer of St Martin’s Parish Church, Brighouse I was delighted to be able to spend the afternoon with our link parish in Bugwema. I received a very warm welcome from Rev Rabala and the rest of the congregation. The visit was the perfect opportunity to discuss the similarities and differences between the parishes as well as the difficulties both churches are currently facing. The common difficulty was how to entice younger people to come to services – we sat and shared our current strategies in order to learn from each other. It was great to hear how they use music to appeal to younger people by making their services lively and energetic, whilst they were particularly taken by the idea of after school clubs for the children and also the use of family activities such as Messy Church.
This wasn’t my first visit to Tanzania or Bugwema as I previously visited in 2013. I feel extremely lucky to have had these experiences and also to be able to see the progress that Bugwema have made in the last three years. During my previous visit their their main project was renovating and converting the old church hall into a Sunday School building for the children – I am pleased to announce that due to their hard work and donations from St Martin’s they now have a fully functioning school that holds 48 local children. Parents pay a fee of 1,500 Tanzanian Shillings a month to send their child to school, that’s the equivalent on approximately 50p! This really highlights a very large difference between our cultures.
They have many more projects planned for the future and I ask that you keep them in your prayers so that one day they may buy new instruments for the youth, and also so that one day they may get the well they have been working so hard for for many years. Currently they can walk as far as a 14km round trip for water, however, a well would reduce this to approximately a 1km round trip – showing how the things we take for granted are a luxury and rarity to others.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience with Bugwema. Abigail Acheson
Our diocesan link with Mara began in 1988. There have been many visits in both directions. Many parishes pray for their link church every Sunday. Schools exchange letters and photos and learn about each other. Clergy training is supported, and agricultural projects are funded. This blog, written by different people, will keep us up to date with life in Tanzania, our relationship with one another, and events happening locally to support our links.