The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
This month marks the fourth birthday of Friends of Huruma. This BKB affiliate partners with the Huruma Centre in Iringa to provide a safe and secure home where children who live there can thrive, learn, and grow. A lot has happened in four years:
The list could go on, but one thing remains true: nothing in the past four years would have happened without collaboration. Collaboration means working together. Collaboration means praying with and for one another. Collaboration means dreaming together and mobilizing community to solve problems and accomplish important goals. Collaboration is where the Holy Spirit joins us and sparks action that gets things done.
The well project that took place at the Huruma Centre in 2020 illustrates the power of collaboration. After the existing well at the Centre failed, leaders, staff, and children there got along for many months with municipal water provided by the City of Iringa. But the cost of water was unsustainable, adding close to $5,000 US to the Centre’s annual expenses. In the fall of 2019, it became clear that a solution was required. Enter St. Paul Partners, another affiliate of Bega Kwa Bega.
St. Paul Partners (SPP) has drilled more than 100 wells and developed water distribution systems in the Iringa region of southwest Tanzania. They became a welcome partner in addressing the water needs at the Huruma Centre. SPP leaders in the U.S. and staff in Iringa worked together to analyze present and future water needs, identify the type of well and depth to be drilled, and develop a complete plan for augmenting the water distribution system at the Centre. Then SPP executed the plan with great skill.
Planning the project is one thing, but funding it is another. While SPP was planning and working, fundraising for the well project began. Here also, collaboration was essential. Three donor partners provided gifts to seed a matching fund. Once word went out, within a few months, 25 partner households and partner congregations not only from the Saint Paul Area Synod but also from across the country gave generously and the match was met! SPP also provided support and their funding partner H2O for Life stepped up to play a critical part in raising funds. A grant from the Foundation of Christ the King Lutheran Church, New Brighton, provided the final piece of essential funding.
The well project was completed and the dedication took place in November 2020, one year from the time the project began. Everyone who planned, advised, or gave played important roles, from Centre Director, Pastor Joyce Ngandango, to leaders and staff of St. Paul Partners, to every single organization and person who made a financial commitment. It is hard to estimate how many people were involved as collaborators, but the number must be many hundreds.
The first and the final collaborator, of course, was the Holy Spirit. All the energy, all the skill and knowledge, all the passion and generosity came from the Spirit. And now, the gratitude goes to the Spirit, and to all who collaborated to get the well project done.
Friends of Huruma has always relied on collaboration. BKB affiliate Millions of Trees has provided trees to help the Centre. Shoulder to Shoulder, the medical care BKB affiliate, has provided essential health care for the children and staff. Partners in the Evangelical Church in Berlin, Germany, continue to provide essential support for operations and scholarships. The Iringa Diocese provides faithful support and essential guidance. The Saint Paul Area Synod provides a solid foundation for this work. And hundreds of generous people in households and churches across the globe continue to give so that the children of the Huruma Centre have a safe and secure home, and a good future.
The Rev. Chris Smith
Coordinator of Friends of Huruma