Return from Makaungu
By: Sr. Rosalinda Gonzales, MMM
Sr. Rosalinda Gonzales, a Medical doctor and the only Filipina member of the Medical Missionaries of Mary tells us of her journey back to Tanzania, Africa after a very special visit at home.
Returning to the mission after my recent holiday in the Philippines was like leaving one home for another. The loneliness of separation from my family and friends was replaced with the joy of reunion with my Religious Community. It is God’s grace I must say.
The journey back to Tanzania was a pleasant one even though there had been a four hours delay in Dubai due to poor weather conditions when I changed Airlines. The connecting flight from Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) to Tanzania waited, hence I did not miss a flight. I arrived safely at the Kilimanjaro Airport in Moshi where Sr. Mary, MMM waited patiently for me.
It was an hour’s drive from the airport to the MMM Convent in Arusha where I stayed for a week to rest and get acclimatized. There is a five-hour time difference between Tanzania and the Philippines. The weather was cold but no chilly. The flowers were in bloom and the fields green. Mount Meru, the second tallest mountain of the country was already visible with its snow-capped peak. In due time I had gotten over the jet-lag.
Giraffes, Zebras, Ostriches
As one of the major town, Arusha has fairly good roads. A new high was which connects it the capital city of Dodoma is under construction. The completed part was more than an hour’s drive; the road leaving Arusha is an animals like giraffes, zebras, ostriches, and different fowl roam freely. With one road improvements this has become rare nowadays except in parks.
In general, the highways are dirt roads which are in bad shape again during the rainy season. A radio announcement mentioned that lorries and buses were stranded in several places all over the country, especially toward Babati where we were bound. For the faint-hearted, that was appalling news but for a seasoned missionary like Sr. Mary, with whom I was traveling, it only served as reminder to bring along a hoe, a shovel and a big rope to help the car out of trouble during the journey.
So with a prayer in our hearts we set out before 8:00 A.M. with our veteran Tanzanian driver. It was not raining that day, thank God. Forecast of the road condition were gathered along the way from he drivers who had negotiated the distance so far. Several areas we passed were practically submerged in the water and the main road not recognizable. Our four-wheel drive car managed to get through. After several pot holes and suppressed screams our four-wheel drive car managed to go through and make it to the MMM Convent in Dareda, Babati, without our using the emergency implements.
Short Rest and On Again
The car of Makiungu Hospital came an hour after we arrived. After lunch and a few minutes rest, I was ready to travel farther on. Sr. Mary was left in Dareda. My new companion was Sr. Shirley, MMM, House Superior of Makiungu Convent who came to meet me. The road, while not so good, was sandy rather than muddy this time, hence, was much better than the ones I had traveled on so far. So it was a relief.
Dropping in Along the Way
I started to appreciate the beautiful scenery again. We passed by Mr. Hanang and dropped for a quick visit to our Sisters at Nangwa MMM Convent and to deliver some letters and messages too. The Convent has no Radiotel installed yet hence they are not in communication with the other MMM Convents daily.
As we came close to Singida Region, where we have these mountains of rocks of different sizes and shapes. I could imagine a frog in one, a sleeping bulldog in another, a mother and a child, and some scenes from the Old Testament. These and the on-and-off conversation shortened the otherwise long journey.
Home at Last
Just when it had gone completely dark, we arrived home. At our chapel before the Lord I recounted his blessings and thanked Him for everything.