This is our Gift
This is our Gift
This is our Gift
by Kenneth Sullivan

Three years ago in July of 1997 I retired with residence in Tanzania. I had thought about that question which is usually asked of one retiring: What work do you intend to do now that you're retired? Well, actually after a short time considering this question I came up with the idea that retirement is the time to try to do those things which one desired or liked to do but never had much time to do before. So as a result I choose to work with our sick who suffer with Aids and also to visit the sick in the hospital in Musoma.

In the beginning I decided to work with AIDS patients two days a week - now it's up to three days a week because of the numbers. From the time that I worked at the Mwisenge parish I got to know a teacher in the government primary school in Musoma town. His name is Lukas Juma Gabrieli. Juma, in his time off at the school, had been visiting AIDS patients at home. His main work with them was counseling and helping parents and others who cared for the patients. I got to know him when he would come to request help in his work from Fr. Joe Rienhart when he was pastor of Mwisenge.

I joined Juma in his visits to the AIDS patients at home. Since November of 1997 I have visited and have tried to help many patients at home. There is only one who has survived until today and she is still with us today because of the care and love which her mother gives her. This is our gift to the AIDS patients who live in small houses and many times have no one to care for them or even to try to be interested in them. I always try to remember that they are the poorest of the poor.

Two days a week I go to the hospital in Musoma and again to visit the sick. I enjoy this for it again gives me a chance to help in whatever way I can. When I first started going there I was very discouraged with the conditions which I found there. But over these years I have come to the conclusion that the work of the nurses and doctors is very good despite the shortages of medicine and other needs they require to run the hospital.

These days have been the happiest of my days in Musoma since 1957. One of the reasons being when the rains come I don't have to worry about getting on a piki piki and trying to navigate in the mud to get to an outstation. All I do now is get in the truck and I can get to where I want to go without too much trouble.

Find out more about Maryknoll's AIDS ministries in Africa

Ken's Biography            Ken's Reflections

Maryknollers in Musoma, Tanzania

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& Brothers Africa Region