Christmas Letter 2009
Christmas Letter 2009
Christmas Letter 2009
by John Lange

Buildings might not seem very interesting but the two pictured below kept my nose to the grindstone and my arms raised in prayer this year. The top photo is of our dormitory at the Assumption Sisters High School in Tawa, about 100 miles East of Nairobi. This dormitory holds the 310 girls who attend the school. The Bishop blessed the school on June 19th. The bottom photo is of The Assumption Sisters High School on the northern outskirts of Nairobi. It's a day school for 580 students. The building, as you can see, is not finished, but the Sisters opted to open this school in January 2011. So we are praying harder than ever to get the water and plumbing systems working in the building.

Dormitory at Assumption Girls' High School at Tawa

Despite the financial stress of these buildings, we were able to keep up our ministry to the sick and poor in the Mukuru slums of Nairobi. We pay for about 50 people each month at 5 mission hospitals and three mission dispensaries. Our bills for a month average $5000. Many people get major surgeries. In addition to the hospital bills we pay out about $1500 per month for a truck load of corn flour, vitamin-enriched porridge flour and beans as a food supplement for about 160 families who are in desperate straits. Many are on ARV drugs and TB drugs and you can't take these drugs on an empty stomach. We figure we provide 20,000 meals per month. It's not eating high off the hog, but they are nutritious meals. An additional problem in the slums this year has been water. Nairobi's reservoirs were at their lowest levels in history and some dried up completely because of very poor rains. People in Mukuru slums were lined up, 500 in a line, and often waited for many hours to fill their 5 gallon jerry cans. I purchased many plastic, water-storage tanks for the pipelines that I laid to our several Catholic churches in years past. Thanks to your help, we filled at least 3000 of these jerry cans per day.

We paid school fees for 70 students this year. Most of them attend boarding high schools. Most people in the slums do not have electric lights; so the only way to get a good education is by boarding school. I hid behind my social worker and my committee of Assumption Sisters for protection from the seemingly endless line of people trying to get help with school fees.

The water projects suffered somewhat because of the above involvements, but we finished a nine mile pipeline (mostly steel pipes) in Ijinyu, Tanzania where the Little Sisters of St. Francis have a Novitiate and a girls' boarding high school. I'm especially fond of this project because there are no machines (machines break down a lot here and cost a lot to fix). The water flows by gravity from a creek far up in the mountains.

Runda High school of The Assumption Sisters

There were other things but that accounts for most of our involvements. I again invite you to share in this work. The best way is to write a check in the name of Maryknoll Fathers together with a small note advising that your donation be credited to my Mission Account. Mail these to Maryknoll, N.Y., 10545-0302. For security reasons it's best to write on the back of your check “For deposit only to account of Maryknoll Fathers, M&T Bank Ossining”. For information on how to send by credit card you can email Maryknoll Headquarters at this address (

I continue to remember you in my prayers everyday at the Offertory of my Mass. I wish you a blessed Christmas and New Year.  John J. Lange; Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers; P.O. 43058, Nairobi; Kenya

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