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Parishioners pitch in for cistern for sister parish
May 9th, 2016
By Jim Clifford


Think the California drought is bad? At least we don’t have to carry buckets of water on our head for miles. They do in Tanzania where drought is chronic. Now villagers near famed Mount Kilimanjaro are getting help from members of their sister parish, Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Redwood City.


The Peninsula parishioners, who earlier raised funds to put a roof on the sister parish church of St. Francis Xavier, hope to finance a water cistern to store rainwater that flows from that same roof during infrequent downpours.


During Lent about $2,000 was raised for the underground cistern planned for the church in Kiraeni, a village of 5,000 people who live on an average of $1 per day, said Lucinda Dei Rossi of the Sister Parish Committee at Mount Carmel. She placed the total cost of the 150,000 gallon cistern at $18,000. Children at the Mount Carmel School are contributing toward that goal by recycling plastic bottles.


“Our brothers and sisters in Kiraeni still suffer from severe drought,” said Dei Rossi, who is leading the drive dubbed “Buckets of Water for Tanzania.” She said a donation of $3 will buy five buckets of water.


Dei Rossi and other Mount Carmel members visited the sister parish and witnessed how the villagers lug containers of water for miles.


“During periods of drought, the family must spend five or more hours per day to collect water,” she said. “While food and water are scarce, people survive because they share and encourage each other through small Christian communities.”


At a recent gathering of supporters in Redwood City, Dei Rossi showed a video of people in Kiraeni hauling containers of precious water. They included a man straining to pedal a bike loaded down with barrels of water.


While the sister parish group concentrates on water and spiritual solidarity, some Mount Carmel members help Tanzania with medical and education supplies. They belong to T.H.E. Mission, which stands for Tanzania Health & Education Mission. They include Jehane Jones, who has made 10 trips to Tanzania.


“Our goals are the same,” Jones said. “That is to help the people of Tanzania, but our projects are different.” She quickly added that members of both groups are “truly blessed.”


Clifford is a member of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Redwood City.


From May 12, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.






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