Earlier this summer, Sister Jenada Fanetti, SDS, taught English as a Second Language (ESL) to Salvatorian Sisters in Tanzania, East Africa, along with Lay Salvatorian Sue Haertel. Recently, Sr. Jenada shared about her experience with members of her home parish in Mt. Calvary, Wis. Now we’re sharing with you.
The gracious hospitality of my fellow Salvatorian Sisters made us feel at home as soon as we landed on African soil. We spent a few days with our Sisters at Dar es Salaam before leaving on an eight-hour bus ride to Masasi. The Regional House is located in this complex and is where we taught English. Ten Sisters participated in our 4½ hour daily English classes. Three Sisters traveled from the Congo, three were novices in the community, and four came from various missions in Tanzania. All grade school classes are taught in Swahili in Tanzania; high school and advanced education is taught in English. A solid foundation in English is needed for advanced studies. Our North American Province made a commitment to our Tanzanian Sisters to assist them in their mastery of English. For the past eight years, two individuals from our Province travel to Tanzania to teach a group of Sisters. It is amazing the impact this endeavor has had on the Tanzanian Region. Many Sisters are able to communicate in English. Because of the support of many benefactors, 17 Sisters are now continuing their education at various universities or technical schools.
In many of our Sisters’ missions in Tanzania, they raise chickens, a few pigs, goats, and some have three or four cows. Every place has large gardens. It provides food for their use, a little income, and to share with those who are in need of food. The Sisters are deeply compassionate women who assist their people in a variety of ways. They have taught many how to make a garden, care for chickens and manage a basic household. Some of the Sisters provide sewing classes, so mothers can make clothes for their families. Because the Sisters are deeply respected and loved, many people come to seek advice and guidance. As one Sister told me, “We have no money to give, but we have much love to share with all who come to us. We can give them encouragement and support.”
These Sisters are beautiful women who have a deep love for their people and a burning desire to help the many needy children and families. Six years ago and now this summer, I had the privilege to serve in this mission endeavor. The experience has had a profound impact on my life. I feel a strong connection with my fellow Sisters in Tanzania. They have touched my life profoundly by their deep love and compassionate response to the many needy children and families. They have very little themselves and yet are always ready to feed a hungry child or family that comes to their door. The inner peace and joy that radiates from their lives, as they themselves live with very little, reflects the presence of God. I am very proud to be part of this worldwide Salvatorian Congregation!
by Sr. Jenada Fanetti, SDS