Monday, August 04, 2008

global food aid

there's been a lot of talk in the media about a global food crisis. and certainly finances in the united states are not doing so well for many of us as well. so maybe we can see how things can be a whole lot worse in other countries where their economy and food supply is not as stable as ours.

when baldman and i visited tanzania 2 years ago (wow! has it been 2 years already!), we spent a few days in tanzania's capital, dodoma. we were generously housed by a friend of a friend. dickson chilongani was then a dean of a theological college on the outskirts of dodoma and his and his family's generosity to us at the time was so amazing.

even then we saw the devastating effects that no rain and a tentative economy could have on people. while we were in tanzania we saw acres and acres of dry and dead maze, and we heard on the news constant reports of dead cattle due to lack of food. dixon shared stories with us of having to raise money to buy food to send home with some of the college students during breaks and holidays. otherwise, he told us, most students would never come back after break.

we have kept sporadically in touch with dickson over the past 2 years. he has since been given a promotion within the anglican church of tanzania and we have heard a few stories about the great work that he is doing in the area. in any event, times have gotten really tough all over tanzania (as in all of africa and other developing nations), and with his new job, dickson has a larger scope of reference than he once had as dean at one college.

baldman and i were moved by the enclosed email and thought that maybe some of our readers might be in a position to help, either through prayers or monetary donations. if anyone is interested in helping financially, feel free to either contact dickson directly at chilonganid(at)hotmail(dot)com about the best way to get him the money, or leave me a comment here and we can coordinate our efforts into one check.

here's the email from dickson.....

Greetings from Bristol

Can you pray with me?

Recently I was transferred from being College Principal to Vicar General. I don’t like the title, but the position itself means ‘Bishop’s Assistant’, NOT ‘Assistant Bishop’. The job is mainly pastoral meaning being in charge of all pastors in the Diocese. In the Diocese of Central Tanganyika, a Vicar is in charge of up to 6 small Churches; an Area Dean oversees about 5 parishes; an Area Coordinator is in charge of up to 50 parishes, and the Vicar General i.e. me, I oversee 200 parishes.

The bishop has told all pastors in the Diocese that all parish, marriage and pastoral issues must come to me, and only if necessary I can forward some of them to him. The outcome of this delegation has been very wearing on my side. In fact, I now compare myself to Moses in Exodus who sat down all day every day solving problems. I am trying to find a way out from this problem.

But the one thing that strikes me, and which pushes me to write this e-mail to you as a friend is that our clergy really seem to live in a totally different planet. They have great commitment to the Lord, and they do wonders in their ministry. But they face difficult issues, the main two and indeed the most serious ones being food shortage and fees for their children especially from secondary school level upwards. I am trying to write to friends of mine to see whether we can support some of these children towards their fees because they are the future of the African Church as well as of our nation.

But I am writing to you as a friend to invite you to PRAY with me with regard to the FOOD CRISIS. Last year I raised 1000 (one thousand) pounds with which we supplied most clergy with sunflower seeds enough for one acre. Sunflower is the most recommended crop in Dodoma area because it tolerates drought and it would provide enough cash for clergy to pay fees for their children and purchase food. But the rainfall for the season that has just ended was not good enough so it failed to grow properly in many areas alongside other food crops like maize.

I am aware that as soon as I return to Dodoma next month, my office will be flooded with clergy with requests for support towards food and I have nothing in my pocket. I have picked 50 pastors from the most severely affected areas and with big families. I am just wondering whether you would kindly join me to first of all pray for them, and if possible raise a small amount of funds to support these families. Four (4) bags of maize 15 (fifteen) pounds each should be enough to sustain a family to the next harvest season, i.e. in May next year. The total cost would therefore be as follows:

50 families x 4 bags of maize each = 200 bags
200 bags x 15 pounds sterling each = 3,000 pounds
Transport approximately 3 three pounds per bag x 200 - 600 pounds

Total 3,600 pounds sterling

Please pray with me, and kindly pass on this information to your friend or your Church. I am glad that we are ONE in Christ, which means we can pray for each other and support one another.

With prayers,

Rev. Dr Dickson Daud Chilongani


Anonymous said...

So, he's trying to raise about $7,000, right? I'll talk with Jim and we'll see what we can do to help.

Love you,

Waldie said...

yes, ultimately, that's what he wants to raise. i'm not expecting to get anything close to that. i was just thinking if folks were able to and wanted to give a few dollars here or there, whatever they felt called to give, then anything would be helpful toward getting closer to his goal.

thanks for giving it some thought.