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[...]
“Pole, pole ndiyo mwendo” is a Swahili saying that means, roughly, “Slowly, slowly is the way to go.”
Think of Aesop’s fable with the tortoise and the hare or the classic adage, "Haste makes waste" and you are tracking in the right direction to understand the saying’s meaning. Whichever way you get there, proceeding carefully/cautiously/intentionally is the way to find success. As travel resumes through BKB to our companions in the coming months, this is the attitude that we’ll be adopting.
At its meeting on Feb. 14, the Iringa Committee of the Saint Paul Area Synod reviewed our COVID-19 travel guidance and, and in conversation with leaders in the Iringa Diocese, made an adjustment that will allow us to resume facilitating travel for delegations through BKB. In line with the color-coded guidance of the CDC, we’ve added a "Gray Zone" to reflect the "Unknown" status of COVID-19 in Tanzania. With testing capacity in the country unlikely to increase for the foreseeable future, we are dependent on local expertise and regional trends to assess risk. With neighboring countries in "Orange Zones" and diocese leadership welcoming visitors, we are preparing to host delegations again beginning in May…with some additional contingency planning and risk-mitigation protocols in place.
Travel in the "Gray Zone" is still a higher risk activity according to both the U.S. Department of State and U.S. CDC. Shifting border controls and testing policies add further layers of complexity and uncertainty. As a result, in our revised guidance, to travel through BKB:
Download the latest version of BKB Travel Guidance for more information and the list of questions to be addressed in contingency plans.
Looking ahead to the summer of 2022, we are already at capacity for groups intending to travel between May and mid-July and will start working with them using these new protocols. For groups planning to travel from July 15 onward, we’ll begin receiving and responding to initial inquiries in early April via the BKB Travel Page on the Saint Paul Area Synod website. If you have any pressing questions before then, please direct them to email@example.com.
On behalf of the BKB travel team in Minnesota, Astine & Ryan and the BKB-DIRA team, as well as our friends and companions across the Iringa Diocese, please know that we look forward to welcoming you "home" soon and appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate all of this together.
The Rev. Peter Harrits, Director of Bega Kwa Bega and Assistant to the Bishop