Kavale is a small village in rural Tanzania. Located ten miles south of Sikonge and over a mile from the nearest major road, it is relatively isolated from other segments of the Namwezi tribe to which these people belong. Nearly all of the 300 inhabitants are Moravians.
The people of Kavale built their first church 20 years ago, using the traditional materials of sticks, mud and grass. In spite of their efforts to maintain it, the structure collapsed during the rainy season in 2010. Undeterred, the congregation began a new and larger building, this time using more modern components such as burned bricks.
Because of the large size of the congregation and a change in regulations governing public buildings, by the fall of 2012 it was clear that the congregation would need both financial and technical assistance to complete their new church.
Following a late afternoon Sunday service attended by the parish pastor and the entire congregation, representatives from Central Moravian Church in Pennsylvania were asked to join their effort in church construction.
The members at Kavale also expressed interest in participating in the Adopt-a-Village orphan program. Surrounding villages had been included several years earlier, but the paths to Kavale were deemed too dangerous for the orphan caregivers to travel alone. During the last two years, however, authorities have corrected the situation and Mama Kimwaga, who manages the Adopt-a-Village orphan program in Sikonge, agreed to extend the program under the auspices of the neighboring village of Chabutwa.
Over the next several months, daily travel between Chabutwa and Kavale proved to be problematic because of the distances involved. After assessing the situation, Mama Kimwaga decided to make Kavale an independent orphan center. Kavale church elders were asked to choose two women to run the program in the village, and Mama Kimwaga promised to provide them with the necessary instruction and materials.
By the beginning of the rainy season in 2013, the new church had been roofed and was in use each Sunday. Febe and Anastasia, the women chosen by the elders to assist with the orphan program, had already enrolled all the orphans in Kavale and had extended the program to the neighboring villages of Mtale and Mitwigu. By early 2014 the two mamas had added 60 orphans to the program.
Through the partnership established between Moravians in North America and Western Tanzania, the new church has now been completed. Each week Anastasia uses the building for the 35 Sunday school students before the worship service for 80 adults begins. The congregation is planning to plant flowering shrubs at the base of the walls during the current rainy season.
Their new building is a structure of which Moravians on both continents can be justifiably proud. ■
Drs. Bill and Peg Hoffman send periodic reports of the work going on in Tanzania through the Adopt-a-Village program.