It is only natural for donors to wonder how their support is appreciated by those who benefit from their generosity. It is a question that encourages consideration of the special relationship between donor and recipient. “Thank you” is a natural response that fades over the years, and relationships become uncomfortable when there is a perception that the benefit flow is one direction only. I continue to tell people that I receive as much as I give through the joy I receive, but for those who have not experienced this first hand the words ring tinny. From the recipient’s standpoint, if he/she cannot reciprocate, the relationship is equally uncomfortable and even unpleasant. Each must give/receive according to his/her own capacity and capability, in their own way.
I thought of this a few weeks ago when I asked Bishop Tarcisius, of the Iringa Roman Catholic Diocese and head of the Council of Bishops in Tanzania, to say a Mass for my recently departed mother, a devout Catholic. Bishop Tarcisius is one of my closest and strongest partners in bringing educational opportunity to the children of Iringa, so my request was a logical one. But the extent of the response was overwhelming. Bibi (Grandmother) Constance immediately became a person of great attention in the Iringa community, not only for her own personal contributions, but as a symbol of the entire Global Outreach family.
The Bishop first planned a Mass at the student chapel on the grounds of the Kichangani Student Centre. He assigned several of his priests to work with the Global Outreach staff to invite a representative group of students from our schools, our close personal friends in the Iringa community, the senior parish choir to provide music, and members of the religious community.
He then communicated with his major seminary to conduct their own commemoration on the day that we were already planning to visit the school (Mafinga Seminary is one of the best performing secondary schools in the Iringa Region) to review the Global Outreach program there. On that day the entire seminary attended Mass and a follow on dinner was attended by the teachers and officials of the school-seminary.
All in all, about 500 Tanzanians, of whom exactly one (Miraji Vanginothi) had ever met my mother, attended services for her. True my mother had been most generous to Global Outreach over the years. True the Bishop and I have become fast friends over the years. But this heartfelt outpouring of gratitude and consideration was a true demonstration of the Tanzanian ethos. They were saying “Thank You” in the way that is most meaningful to them.
I hope you view the pictures below and interpret them as “Thank You’s” to all of you who have supported the work of Global Outreach over the years.
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