Service in Tanzania

Our cargo container of technology and medical equipment arrived in Dar es Salaam on schedule in January of this year. Weeks and months passed and the container was not released. Storage and fees were mounting beyond anything we could afford to pay; well over $22,000! We gave up hope and were heartbroken because of the great need and the amazing efforts by so many people to gather, repair and ship these things seemed lost.

Tech4tanzania board members recently heard from those sisters and brothers in Christ. They heard word and saw pictures of thanksgiving and praise to God. We also received requests for more equipment (computers, treadle sewing machines, a commercial laundry washer, woodworking tools, welding gear) and medicine to continue the ministries of learning and healthcare. Still licking our wounds from the months of sadness and despair, we agreed to further explore the needs, opportunities and requirements to send another container in 2017 or at least raise money so the Tanzanians could buy some of the things on the “wish lists”.

We are exploring the logistics to better gather and deliver the requested equipment and we are working on fundraising events. We hope to have the third cookie walk in December and we are exploring ways to connect “laundry love” for people in the Mechanicsburg area and the commercial washer for hospital linens and gowns in Tanzania.

Please watch, wait, pray and ask questions so that you might discern if you have a place of service in any of this. Thank you.
Randy Barr

Computer Classes Begin Next Week

Received from John Mwaipopo
July 12, 2016

ELCT-Lake Tanganyika computer laboratory is ready for use. Next week they are going to start training students about computer applications. The room carries 12 students per class. There will be sessions from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Each day we hope to have 50 students.Lake Tanganyika computer lab 1

Lake Tanganyika July 12 2016 Computer lab 3

This is what cooperation in the service of Christ looks like today in Tanzania. From my point of view, it feels really great. What a blessing God has allowed us to be.

Thanks to all who helped make this vision a reality:
ELCA Division of Global Mission, International Leadership Development
Slate Hill Mennonite Church, Camp Hill, PA
St Paul Lutheran Church, Enola, PA
Tree of Life Lutheran Church, Harrisburg, PA
John Mwaipopo, MS ICT, Tanzania
Bishop Ambele Mwaipopo, Lake Tanganyika Diocese, ELCT
Computer Ministry, Mechanicsburg, PA
The Lower Susquehanna Synod of the ELCA


Itete hospital owes a roll to save the community health. The increase in population and multifarious in health sector does not tall with the available infrastructure, especially in Out-Patient Department (OPD) which has vast increase in number of patients/clients. These patients do not need only medical service but also need categorization and standard care. In order to attain all that there is need to increase and modify available infrastructure, hence the need to construct new OPD/CASUALITY department.
Medical clinic, Obstetrics and gynecology clinic, Pediatrics clinic, General OPD, Emergence department, Medical store and reception, Psychiatric department, Special clinic for NHIF/CHF, Eye unity, Physiotherapy unity, PITC/VCT room, Palliative care room, Dental unity, Resource center (library), Meeting room, Staff and patient toilets, Staff on call resting rooms, Staff tea room and Blood bank.
The project of construction of new OPD building started on September/2015. It was discussed by HMT that the project should start with small fund we have collected while looking for-ward for more fund from internal and external sources. We have received funds a total of Tsh 20,203,976.94/= from our friends in Jesus. Out of it 7,710,511.39/= comes from Mission EineWelt (German) and 12,493,465.55/= comes from our friend in USA – Lower Susquehanna Synod – LSS (ELCA) with these funds we agreed to start with the land scalping and start the constructing of the foundation. The work stated and finished the foundation of two block building.

On 22april/2016 we received fund for the same from our friends in German as follow;
1. From Congregation of Munich west, German – EURO -3000
2. Zakayo congregations (Munich west), German – Euro 4000
3. VEMA (private Insurance Company), German –Euro 1600
It makes a total of Euro 8600, the amount was converted to Tanzania Shilling 20,797,534.65 (see attached bank statement)
With this fund, HMT (Hospital Management Team) discussed and agreed to procure the following materials.
1) Building stones – (for finishing the remaining part of foundation) – 20 trips @ Tsh 170,000/= (Tsh 3,400,000/=)
2) Sand – (for foundation, floor and to makes bricks) – 20 trips @ Tsh 170,000/= (Tsh 3,400,000/=)
3) Cements – 200 bags @ Tsh 16,000/= (Tsh 3,200,000/=)
4) Iron Bar – 40 pc @ Tsh 20,000/= (Tsh 800,000/=)
5) Timbers – 115 pc from hospital forestry – Tsh 442,000/= (labour charge)
6) Labour charge (30%) given Tsh 3,000,000/=
7) Total used up to now – Tsh 14,242,000/=
The work is still in progress
Hospital Management Team (HMT) discussed to manage the construction of OPD with minimal cost using financial value of the resources available. Here is the plan
1. To use available man power available at the hospital to the maximum whenever it is necessary.
2. To use our machine (brick manufacture machine present at the hospital to make building block instead of buying it.
3. To use available hospital forest to make timbers for roofing and other use instead of buying it.
4. To use hospital engineers (employed by the hospital) to cover some of the activities which are within their scope of professional i.e. plumbing, wiring, carpentry work etc.

Some challenges we faced/are facing
1. Electricity poles in within the construction site – we thank God we managed to remove them despite long Government bureaucracy we had to follow and pay for it’s removal.
2. Hydro electrical power wire crosses the construction site with its transformer planted nearby the site – we are about to reallocate to another site
3. Big tree situated in-within the construction site; – we thank God we manage to remove it.

We thank God for your generous Giving. All we can do is to thank God for your love.
(Philippians 4: 16-17) “Not that we are eager for your gift, but we do seek and we are eager for the fruits which increases to your credit.”
God bless you.!!!

Here’s the latest…and best news from Tanzania

Bishop Mwaipopo shows us the Lake Tanganyika Offices and some of the equipment supplied by Tech4Tanzania and the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the ELCA.  It is a happy and hope-filled day.

The Container is in Mbeya!

Thanks be to God and all of God’s helpers along the way. These pictures just in from a cell phone.

container 2016

Beds 2016

boxes 2016

But God Had a Different Plan…

After months of failed negotiations and escalating fees for the container filled with valuable items for Tanzanians throughout south central Tanzania, after endless prayers and supplications, after shouting and threatening, after crying and begging; I finally gave up. Each day brought more requests for more information or new fees or different paperwork. The demands seemed endless and our resources were very limited. I finally gave up. I had expressed my anger and frustration. I finally gave up. I had compared my experience to that of a mother with a still born child – months of hope and expectations, hard work to stay safe and healthy, hours of endless joy in anticipation of life unfolding in unimagined ways but in the moments approaching full term, in the days of heightened expectation; word came that there was no future. Word came that there was no hope. The container was dead in the dry storage yard at Dar es Salaam. It would never move. I gave up.

I gave up my anger. I gave up my dreams. I gave up hope and I began to mourn the death of the child. I announced the death to family and friends. Many offered condolences and tried to bring sense and peace and vision in the midst of my despair. It helped. It was over. I would never do this again. I gave up.

But God had a different plan. There were renewed negotiations, compromises and relief of fees. God had a different plan for the people of Tanzania who need and want these books and this equipment. The Lower Susquehanna Synod of the ELCA and the Konde Diocese of the ELCT joined hands with us in renewed efforts and giving.

I abandoned hope, but God had a different plan. The container left Dar es Salaam today for its journey to Mbeya. It is on its way to have its contents shared like the bread of communion that feeds so many with so little yet made large in love and hope. Shouts of joy and prayers of thanksgiving accompany it on the way. A picture of the bright, well maintained tractor pulling the trailer from the dry storage yard was carried by electrons across the oceans and hope arose in Tanzania and central Pennsylvania all because God had a different plan! God had a different plan. God’s love wins.

Thanks be to God whose goodness and mercy knows no end.

More to come…

Hope rises in Tanzania!

Word has reached us that Pastor John Mwasakilali has been working on behalf of the Konde Diocese to negotiate terms for release of the container we sent in November. The ship company, the Tanzanian government and others have been asked to relieve some of the accrued fees so that the precious cargo can make its way to the people of Tanzania through hospitals, schools Churches and orphanages.

Tech4tanzania has authorized our shipping agent to release our funds on Monday morning. The Lower Susquehanna Synod and the Konde Diocese are considering additional gifts to reach the needed sum to meet the newly negotiated fees.

Please continue to pray for release and further safe travel to Southern Highlands University College, Tumaini University, Mbeya Center. From there, goods will be distributed according to the prearranged plans to help across three dioceses, two hospitals and at least two schools.

Our beloved brother in Christ, John Mwaipopo, will return to Tanzania this coming week after two years of work for his Master’s Degree in Information and Communication Technology Engineering. He returns with plans and opportunities to advance computer understanding for use throughout the education and business sectors of the Tanzanian society.

Pray. Pray. Pray.

Sad News: We Have Abandoned our Container of Relief Goods

Our third, and possibly best, container of books, computers and healthcare equipment arrived safely in Dar es Salaam in January as promised. To date, our import agent has not been able to clear the container. Each day storage, security and tariffs accumulated to the point that we would need more than 20,900 USD or more to release the container and get it to the hospitals, schools, diocese headquarters and orphanage which requested these materials. Many people and organizations worked tirelessly to gather, refurbish and prepare these materials for useful life among our brothers and sisters of faith in Tanzania.

That hope is lost. Let us mourn together and pray that God shows us new ways to be about God’s work in Tanzania. Needs and opportunities to serve are many.

Thanks to all who worked, prayed, shared their precious time, money, wisdom and wit. It is good to work among people of such grace and generosity.

Please stay in touch.

Blessings always.

Randy Barr

Sittin on the dock of the bay….

Not that wonderful, sultry song by Otis Redding, rather, our dilemma more than a month after docking at Dar es Salaam. Our storage and processing fees are approaching $5,000 above and beyond our budget and financial resources! Government red tape, slow communications, unacceptable paper work forms, lack of funds, lack of authority and a commercial import agency that seems unable or unwilling to push our container of much needed mission and relief goods onward to delivery.
Please help as you are able: pray, send money, contact the president of Tanzania. Be creative and faithful. Thanks.

For the Record

The Cookie Walk was a big hit! Several people want to know the facts. Remember, cookies crumble, walk and disappear. Cookie “inventory sheets” go missing. Cookie boxes multiply. Everyone had a cookie grin.

Here is my best accounting:
At least 190 bags, boxes and assorted containers of cookies arrived at Slate Hill Mennonite Church.
At least 651 dozen (1,608) cookies of many varieties were in those containers
218 boxes of cookies were put together before, during and after the walk
154 were gone by noon
64 went to the three major Churches supporting the walk for after sale sales
Of those 64, only 12 remained unpurchased my Sunday afternoon
and those were given to Mission Central for its volunteer appreciation party

Our net donations (after expenses of about $60 for cookie boxes, gloves and display platters) amounts to
which helps us meet our budget goal for shipment, repairs, ground transportation, etc.

Thanks be to God.

Thanks to all who helped make this happen.

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