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FMSIs projects

24/04/2014: Tanzania

Taking advantage of a trip to Nairobi from March 2 to 9, Brother Mario Meuti, FMSI Director of Rome, visited the cities of Mwanza and Musoma in Tanzania with the purpose of getting to know a project still under study and two microprojects recently completed by the Foundation.

He started with a visit to the Marist Boys’ Secondary School in the Nyakato Ward of Musoma. Several structures overlap there and are really well integrated with each other: the school, the postulancy, the Marist community, and the Lay Marists Group – a lay Marist fraternity – which is spreading the Brothers’ work beyond the school perimeter, reaching the poorest children of the large ward parish.

The school is only for boys (but the Loreto School, only for girls, is within walking distance) and counts with an adjoining boarding school. It opened last year and currently has only 180 students but is rapidly expanding: in January 2015 it will serve 90 more students, who will be accommodated on the second floor of the dormitory still under construction.

A particular feature of this secondary school is its strong emphasis on science education, which is already evident at the moment (the Science Club gave an excellent demonstration of this during the visit), so the project that the FMSI will try to finance through one of its partners consists in setting up a true biology, chemistry and physics laboratory  so as to reinforce the school in this area.

Besides studying, the students’ daily life includes optional activities, usually sports, largely animated by the group of “postulants”, that is, the young men who are in formation on the way to religious profession.

It was also interesting to meet the Lay Marists Group, consisting of 18 people who are very close to the Marist community . They are committed to an educational activity with the poorest kids in the ward, using the parish facilities. Trying to answer to the shortage of books and of proper spaces for studying, they have created a small library with almost exclusively schoolbooks: the students consult them, read them, take notes, and place them back in the shelf, under the guidance of a young woman in charge. Besides that, each of the nine “branches” of the parish has established soccer teams for boys and netball teams for girls, which has resulted in a lively and well attended tournament. FMSI has financed this initiative  as a microproject. Unfortunately, the final tournament could not be held during the FMSI representative’s visit because of a misunderstanding.

The second microproject was in the village of Kigera Ituma on the shores of Lake Victoria, north of the country, about 18 km from the city of Musoma . All the structures in place there – the clinic, a small school, the homes for lepers and people abandoned by their families, the church, the fields, the mill – are the work of Father Godfrey Biseko , a Franciscan priest who is very well known in the region for his choice to welcome and live with the people nobody wants.Brother Marino Primiceri FMS  also works there, fascinated by Father Biseko, and especially by the idea of being useful for these people, the last in every sense. Other Marist brothers from Mwanza and Masonga also visit the village now and then. Through one of its microprojects, the FMSI has repaired the water pumping system from the lake, set up new water tanks, and redone the kitchen . Brother Marino was not present when Brothers Mario Meuti and Kiko Baeza visited the village in March 10, but his name was on the lips of all those who greeted them and approached them to share their story.

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