Bishop Tarcisius, the recognized leading Catholic prelate in Tanzania and Stan’s significant supporter of the growth of education, was born in a rural village. He told us that his father was a poor man, “never owned a goat”. The Bishop had six siblings. His father, who had no education, encouraged his children in its pursuit. The Bishop attended a missionary school where he was selected at a very young age to serve on the altar, given special mentoring in his studies, and offered a place in seminary in Rome when he graduated from secondary school. He told us that he did not know why they picked him. Given his high degree of warmth and charisma, we could readily suspect the reason. For one who has initiated or facilitated the creation of countless institutions including churches, schools, hospitals, and charities and is accountable for them all, he is a remarkably enthusiastic, easy going, joyful, approachable man of the people. He is, by many counts, a walking inspiration. His expression, pictured below, selected from a multitude of similar ones, belies his love of children.
One of the most visited, local, facilities under his umbrella is a cooking school run by another notably cheerful individual, a nun of the Italian Consolata order, Sister Adolfino Dotta. She works with girls from the attached orphanage as they come of age. People from the area come to purchase their products which include, pork roasts, ravioli, pasta, tomato sauce and a plethora of cookies and cakes. It is a delightful operation to visit and a treat to patronize.
While not officially Tanzanian, Sister has lived in country so long, from 1963, and helped so many that I must include her on the list of leading Tanzanians.
Orphanage for 24 children,part of the Consolata complex
Last week, Alban Lutamabi invited us to spend a weekend at his resort in Mufindi, African tea country. When we arrived at the village , he offered to introduce us to his parents and show us the house in which he grew up. A bright, outgoing couple, they shared that they were 78 yrs old and had raised six children.Two years ago, they lost his father’s mother who died at 105 yrs of age. In recent years , Alban, also pictured, has provided them with running water, electricity and a TV. They seemed quite comfortable and happy in their warmly decorated one room lvg space.
We have realized that Alban is bright and now, after visiting with his parents, we deduced that apple had not fallen far from the trees. Stan has known Alban for a number of years, meeting him initially as a fellow Rotarian at the Iringa chapter. One of Alban’s initial entrepreneurial endeavors was building a resort, appropriately named Hilltop given its setting, near to Ruaha’s national game parks. It is an attractive, comfortable lodge with a striking view, offering daily game runs , based on the same model of many of the in- park facilities, but because of its less expensive location, he is able to meet one of his objectives, creating a place more affordable for Tanzanians as well as tourists. A few years after its opening, a fire swept through destroying most of it; insurance does not exist here so Alban needed to garner his resources to rebuild which, characteristically, he managed to patiently and persistently do.
The lodge he has constructed in Mufindi where we had the pleasure of staying also has a very picturesque venue. It is constructed on Alban’s father’s former farm amidst rolling green hills which are a delight to view from the breakfast table on the deck.
Room in our cabana
Vegetation and fruit trees abound on the property. A few examples:
African palm and herb garden above.
Alban is building another lodge cabana configuration at Mukumi, a national game park; if the cuisine is as delicious as it is at this one, guests are in for a treat.
But Alban is not all business; his other endeavor added a most interesting dimension to our stay. He and a partner have formed an NGO missioned to provide a water tank and 200 fruit tree plantings at local schools. So far, they have completed six campuses. The intention is to employ the water tank to catch pure rain water helping the villagers with the ever present challenge of accruing enough water for daily needs and to teach the students how to plant, reap crops and appreciate their nutritional value.
Above are pictures from one school. Water tank can be seen behind the students carrying the filled buckets on their heads. Schools receive six varieties of plantings including guava, avocado,mango and apple trees.
Children sing us a good bye song at one school sing us a farewell song:
Alban is a man for many seasons.
Angelina Biswalo grew up on a small island with little commercial, political or social infrastructure. She says it was a wonderful childhood to be immersed in nature under a large sky inundated with stars at night and changing colors and facades reflecting season and weather changes during the day. She has no memories of deprivation from living in what most would term extreme poverty.
Her father was a poor, uneducated man who dreamed of education for his children. Angeline’s mother died when she was ten. Shortly after, her father sent her to the main land for government schooling, an impressive decision as she was a girl growing up in a strictly chauvinistic culture. When she graduated from secondary school, she met and married a man who was going to the US to get a PHD. She went with him and pursued her BA in Indiana. Her two sons were born there. When they returned to Tanzania, she birthed a daughter. Angelina’s husband died several years ago. Her sons were able to pursue degrees in The States by virtue of their birthplace. She raised the money for their tuition and successfully fought the barriers placed in front of her daughter’s (and all Tanzanians) acquisition of a US student visa.
Angelina is an educator who is involved in many facets of the community. She is a Rotarian, sits on the Bishop’s Council and on The Global Outreach Board to name a few of her volunteer commitments. Over the years, she has regularly provided domicile to people in need of it, including those coming from abroad or in country to Iringa to perform community service and to children whose family are experiencing crisis.
Last year, Angelina lost a son in a tragic boating accident in Atlanta, GA where he lived. While we know the emotional toll it has had to take on her, to the world she still shows her bright, interested, enthusiastic, involved demeanor. For sure, she has built a family which gives consolation. Her daughter has been working on contract to Johns Hopkins teaching Tanzanian women how to get in touch with their individual strengths to empower their job interviewing skills, and her son is a professor at the University of Dar Salem.
To know Angelina is to think of her as a natural leader.
In 2000 in a national initiative to involve women in government, Monica MBega, working in private industry, was appointed as Minister of Parliament from the Iringa region, a position comparable to a Congressman in the US. She ran for the office in 2005 and was elected by her constituency to continue serving. Simultaneously, she was appointed by the President as Regional Commissioner (re: Governor) of Ruvuma Region and shortly thereafter as Regional Commissioner of Kilamanjaro. Now retired, she continues to use the numerous contacts she has made through her work to promote community growth.
Stan has felt her influence firsthand. She has and continues to introduce him and Global Outreach to a host of high level officials and executives including The Minister of Education, Permanent Secretary of Communications and Technology, the CEOs of many corporations including The President of the National Bank of Tanzania. This week she will take him to meet with the president of TTLC, TZ Internet.
Stan, M of ED, and Monica
Monica gives on all levels. A few months ago, she invited us to her Iringa home where she was visiting from her place in Dar Es Salem. There we met nine delightful young people who are in school or looking for employment; They explained allows them to stay rent free while they are in pursuit of those goals. In Dar Es Salem, Stan has met at her home a number of orphans she has taken in and cares for.
A number of years ago, when we first moved to Florida, Monica and her husband visited us in our home. While regrettably we did not capture the full range of guests, our few pictures seem to capture her engaging warmth.
May she and the others I describe in this post live long and continue to share their remarkable gifts for developing others!!