Mwamapalala Musings


Sr Anne Cahill shares some updares from the OLA mission in Mwamapalala, located in northern Tanzania.


File image of Mwamapalala courtesy of David O'Connell.

Greetings from a very green Mwamapalala!

We thank God that this rainy season is an excellent one so far. Last night we enjoyed the first fruits of Sr. Colette's maize farm. The maize was very, very tender and just delicious to taste.  Sr. Monica's 'paddy fields' have sufficient water for rice plants to prosper and most of them have taken root, so all we need now is more rain and more rain!  All the farmers are optimistic and predict that the rains will continue to favour farming.

'Speaking in tongues'

This month our community increased to six members – five nationalities! Lilian, a young lady from Kenya, joined us on 30 December and Mary O'Driscoll, who dedicates ten weeks of every year here, arrived on 13 January. On Sr. Monica's instigation, one evening last week each member gave out her decade of the Rosary in her own language! We had two saying: ‘Se do bheatha A Mhuire’ and the other four were in a Nigerian, Ghanaian, Ivory Coast and Kenyan language. It sure was an example of speaking in tongues!

Children's Party

We had our ‘Sherehe ya Watoto’ - Children's Party – on Sunday 31 December. It was a great success as usual. It poured rain at 3.00am. I awoke and said: 'Oh Lord, I know we prayed for rain but this is our children's day!  Now we want sunshine!' The sun obliged and the clouds gave way to blue skies. Because of the rain the dinner was a little late, it isn't easy to get charcoal and sticks to light with rain pelting down all around you. But the lady and her helpers succeeded.  While waiting for the food Sr. Cecilia and Sr. Monica, helped by Sr. Colette and Lilian, entertained the children with Musical Chairs etc.  In all we reckoned we served about 670 dinners and little parcels. Thank God the children were able to sit on the ground and enjoy what for them was a sumptuous dinner.    


Children from Mwamapalala and surrounds play musical chairs ahead of the Christmas dinner.


Inspiring encounter

Mary (O'Driscoll) and I go for a walk most days. Last week we met a man herding cows, which provide milk for students who aren't well. As we greeted him we shook hands. He stretched out his stumps of hands. I thought he had had leprosy which had dried up. I asked him and he said no, he had been attacked by a ‘fisi’ (hyena) when he was herding goats. He was twelve years of age then. Luckily he got help. An American Maryknoll Priest, working in Mwamapalala Parish at the time, brought him to the city of Arusha. A doctor performed surgery on both of his arms. He had a stump for his right thumb joined to a stump of his four fingers and one stump for his left hand. When we said 'Pole' (sorry) he said he could do many things even write. Mary and I marvelled at his positive outlook.

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Mary O'Driscoll (left) and Sr Anne Cahill.


New school year

The 2018 school year has got underway. We have sixty three in Form 1 and they are still one class of varied ability. This applies particularly in English.  We hope we will have two Form 1 classes this coming week as over sixty is a lot while trying to teach English as a third language.  All subjects are taught through the medium of English.  Despite the challenge we survive and try to entertain as well as teach them the basics of English!

Thanking you all for your part in providing for the education as well as parties for so many children.

May you be blessed throughout this Lenten season and always.

Sr. Anne  Cahill, O.L.A.



Children from Mwamapalala and surrounds with some gifts from their 'goodie bags'.



Some of the 670 attendees enjoying the Christmas dinner.



Lilian along with Srs Cecilia, Monica and Colette lead the children in games ahead of the Christmas dinner.