First-time visitors from Tanzania accompany Father Paul Fagan

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The first stop in the United States for Sister Anna Nchama and Iluuminata Mashalla, along with Father Paul, was a thrilling view from the 96th floor of the John Hancock Building in Chicago.
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This is the future Operating Suites building at Songambele Health Center. (Submitted photos)

The impossible dream of visiting the United States has come true for Sister Anna Nchama, IHSA (Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa) and Illuminata Mashalla, who were accompanied by Father Paul Fagan who has worked in Tanzania for the past 53 years.  Their arrival in the United States began in Chicago where Fr. Paul’s cousin Bob met them at the airport and then took them to the John Hancock Building for an amazing ride 96 floors straight up. What a great place for them to get their first view of an American City. Fr. Paul who has designed and built more than 50 buildings in his parishes was equally fascinated by this and other extraordinary architectural designs and construction.

American English is a great challenge for these two visitors who had only heard African British school English. They have been asked many questions which Fr. Paul, who speaks Kiswahili and Kisukuma, has helped them understand. A frequent question is “what do you think of America?” and “what do you like about it?” They have been most impressed by the hospitality, the warm welcome that they have received everywhere they have traveled beginning in Chicago, traveling with Fr. Paul on weekend church dates in Wisconsin and even Minnesota where they were invited by a missionary from Tanzania and people who had visited Fr. Paul’s parish. Other impressive things they have noted are the trees, the beautiful lawns and flowers, the roads, rivers and bridges. The list could go on and on.

Fr. Paul, who is home on his annual visit to find partners in his medical projects to continue to save hundreds of lives, will be saying all of the Masses in Holy Family Parish on the weekend Aug. 17 and 18. He will be giving an update on his holistic ministry of saving the whole person, body and soul. Sr. Anna, who celebrated her 25th year as a religious sister, will give a short talk and then everyone will hear from Illumata Mashalla who has been Fr. Paul’s secretary/treasurer/administrator for 20 years.  

The best part is to follow! The two Tanzanians will sing two songs which are used in church, the first in Kiswahili and the second in Kisukuma. The latter is very different in its tone and melody. Their singing gives a sample of the wonderful liturgical celebrations which Fr. Paul has participated in for most of his life. They are looking forward to greeting as many people as possible.

Plans for a video show will be given at a later date.

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