Ndengisivili is a small, remote village, high in the mountains in South East Iringa Province. It is approximately 40 kilometers from the city of Iringa. The people live in windowless, mud huts with thatched roofs that need to be replaced often due to the heavy rainy season between March and May.
At an altitude of 7,000 feet, malaria is fortunately not a problem, but residents must travel about 3 kilometers down the mountain to reach the nearest river. The inhabitants of Ndengisivili rely on water from a mountain spring and live on the crops and chickens they raise on their own small plots. The crops consist of beans, tomatoes, potatoes and plantains (bananas).
As poor, monetarily, as the people are, they are rich in spirit. This spirit is obvious as they welcome visitors to their village and church with song and dance. Music is an integral part of their lives and culture.
Established in January 2008, Ndengisivili Parish is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania, Iringa Diocese. The congregation is made up of approximately 500 people. Their church service is the same one we use at CtL, but in Swahili, of course. It can last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours and is filled with praise for the Triune God.
CtL’s partnership with Ndengisivili began in 2010. As a partner, we offer them “the three P’s” — Prayer, Presence and Presents — in that order.
Prayer: In the CtL worship service and in the personal life of our members, we offer our prayers for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
Presence: In the fall of 2015, we are making plans for a small group of CtL members to travel to Ndengisivili to bring our “presence” to our Brothers and Sisters in Christ. With God’s help, this will strengthen our partnership and ensure that it continues.
Presents: As many of Ndengisvili parishioners must walk several miles to church service, they have established two preaching points down the mountain that are served by two evangelists. CtL has provided funds that support the “sweat equity” of the Ndengisvili parishioners, and today the preaching points are on their way to completion.
CtL members also give “presents” in the form of student scholarships to send qualifying village students to secondary school.
Education in Tanzania is a steep challenge. The Tanzanian government provides schooling for children through level 6, equivalent to our 6th grade. Most children do not attend school this long, and some never go at all.
Students who do finish level 6 must take a test to qualify for additional schooling. Of those who pass, only a few receive government funding to continue their education. Most qualified students cannot continue to secondary school unless funds are provided by sponsors.
Until 2011, no child from Ndengisivili had ever attended secondary school. That year, CtL members sponsored 11 children to start secondary school. Since then, we have provided 15 scholarships each year.
Each donation of just $380 provides a student with room, board and tuition for an entire school year — and the knowledge that someone cares.
Our support is changing lives in Ndengisivili and will impact the future of the entire village by breaking the cycle of poverty.
You may make an offering any Sunday by writing a check to CtL with “Tanzania Student Scholarship” noted in the memo line.