By Sister Pat Miller, CHM
Tanzania seems like a very unlikely place for the Sisters of Humility to serve the people. However, based on our founders’ mission, we ask ourselves collectively and individually whether we are striving to be attentive to the Spirit in the signs of the times, especially the needs of the poor and powerless. Through the years, our goals focused on developing and serving in schools, colleges, hospitals, shelter for the homeless, housing projects and individual assignments throughout the world.
The Sisters of St. Francis (OSF) in Dubuque, Iowa, began a “Sisters Water Project” in 2004 to bring clean water to villagers in Honduras and Tanzania. Since then, 63 wells have been dug and are running in these countries to help the people. More than $500,000 has been raised to bring clear drinking water to the thirsty.
The Sisters of Humility have donated through this OSF Water Project enough money to dig one well per year for seven years in Tanzania. The project is directed by the Salvatorian Fathers there who work with many congregations and donors. The Fathers provide the engineers and directors who develop the wells and educate the people on the principles of sanitation and use of the water. They also provide education on the growing of food appropriate to their climate.
In Tanzania less than 40 percent of the rural population and 70 percent of the urban population have access to purified water. Fifty percent of the people live below poverty level, and life expectancy is 46 years of age. Because of the foresight and planning of the Salvatorian Fathers and many donors such as the Sisters of Humility, a tremendous difference has been made in the lives of so many people.
We are kept informed of the completion of the wells, and pictures are sent to show the progress from beginning to end. The people look so happy to have fresh water and help with agricultural projects. Project staffers come to the U.S. periodically to discuss their projects with donors. The staffers give firsthand experience of helping many people who are truly in need. This is one more way the Sisters of
Humility can follow our mission of meeting the needs of the poor and powerless. For more information on the water project go to www.osfdbq.org.