Occasionally when someone sends a donation to help the poor in our missions, he or she will include a small note with their check. The notes are usually handwritten . . . asking if we will pray for someone in their family — perhaps a sick relative or a friend in need. We pass these notes along to the Missionaries living here — many who are retired — so that they can include these intentions in their prayers and Masses. Often, though, someone will write, “I know it’s not much, but I hope my small gift helps in some way.” That’s when I wish I could speak to that person directly and share the words of Helen Keller — a woman born blind yet gifted with incredible insight. I’ve shared one of herinsights at the top of my letter.
As I have shared with you before, the kindness you extend to our Missionaries and those we serve throughout Africa is what makes our work possible! Your gift, whatever the amount, gives hope to those in need. That is why I am writing to you today.
Not long ago, I received a letter from Sr. Eliza Mwilafi — a Missionary Sister working in Migoli — a village in the Iringa region of Tanzania in East Africa. Migoli is in an extremely remote area of Tanzania. Because of the isolated location, many of the local villagers do not have access to health care. That in itself is a cause of concern. But considering that Tanzania has an emergency health crisis, that makes the need for healthcare even greater.
Tanzania has the third largest population at risk of malaria in Africa. Over 90% of the men, women and children in Tanzania live in areas where malaria is present. This year, between 10 and 12 million people in Tanzania will contract malaria. Additionally, more than 80,000 will die from the disease — most of them children. Sr. Eliza is seeing the crisis first hand. In her letter, she describes where the needs are greatest.
“The majority of people who are living at Migoli village are fishermen who depend on those activities to afford their daily life,” Sr. Eliza writes. “There are also groups of Maasai who raise cattle. In addition, there is an orphanage here and a primary and secondary school. In total, thousands of people rely on the services of our Health Center because the Regional Hospital is too far away for them.”
“The large number of people needing health services creates some substantial challenges for us at the Health Center. We lack equipment and supplies for pregnant women and young mothers with children. We do not have enough medicine for babies and the elderly. There are also a number of people in the area who are living with HIV/AIDS. We do not have enough medicine or medical supplies for them as well. There is so much that we need! I am hoping that you can help us.”
Along with her letter, Sr. Eliza included a list of some of the medicines needed at the Health Center: antibiotics, pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antivirals. Those who are suffering need our help!
In your own community, I am sure that there are those who could use your help as well. You might consider serving as a volunteer at a community clinic. Perhaps you could volunteer to serve meals at a local homeless shelter. Suffering people need our help.
I am also hoping that you will send a donation to help provide medicine, medical equipment and supplies to Sr. Eliza’s mission in Tanzania as well as to support other projects of the Missionaries of Africa throughout East Africa. While our hope is to raise at least $42,000 for this and other missions, please know that any gift you send — whatever the amount — will help us continue our work among the poor and those in need. For whatever you can give, thank you!
Your Missionary Friend,
Denis P. Pringle
Director of Development