A VISIT TO NORTH KOREA, UGANDA, KENYA AND TANZANIA
Dom Ansgar Stüfe
During a journey to China I had the opportunity to visit North Korea for one day. It was only a few weeks after the rhetorical attacks of the government. The country was very peaceful. We were received in a very friendly way. A group of three people accompanied us. We visited the city of Rajin in the Rason province. Abbot Primate Notker has supported a hospital there for 10 years now. The hospital is run by the government, but is called the International Catholic Hospital. An out-patients department is still under construction.
I was visiting the country after a gap of 8 years. A remarkable improvement could be seen. China has built a cement road from the boarder to the city and the traffic has increased. It seems that the dynamic economy of China is infiltrating the country. We will have to see how to keep up the contact.
Our study house in Langata is fully occupied. Unfortunately the needs of our Congregation are so high that we could accommodate only two monks of other Congregations. We plan to construct a library and a meeting hall.
The priory of Tigoni has stabilized. The monastery can sustain itself without help from Europe. Many activities have been taken up again. One of the most encouraging examples is the prayer and retreat Centre in Nanyuki on the foot of Mount Kenya. Mainly young and intellectual people are attracted. We are planning to construct a new church. There seems to be some doubt over the ownership of the land of the monastery. Some claim that it belongs to the archdiocese of Nairobi, which is strongly disputed by Prior Lawrence and the community.
The Abbey of Peramiho purchased this land in the 1980s. The problem is that it is officially a parish of the archdiocese of Nairobi and the land as well as the church belongs to the monastery. However, this was not the argument of the Cardinal. He claimed it had been the property of the archdiocese from the beginning. The International Team should be aware of this.
Our monastery in Tororo is flourishing. The community is very young and sometimes lacks maturity. The community has moved into the new building. The old round houses are used for guest accommodation. It is very popular and has become a major source of income. I still do not understand why the sisters fail to get guests in their guest house.
The government of Uganda was facing a deep crisis. Due to corruption the donor community stopped giving financial help. For three months the government was not able to pay salaries. However, the private economy is doing quite fine.
I visited Peramiho. There is a marked disparity in age and energy between the ex-patriate and the local members of the community. All in all the community is growing slowly. The institutions of hospital, vocational training centre, and major seminar continue well. The Tutzing Sisters are constructing a big centre consisting of a kindergarten, school and orphanage in the nearby city of Songea. In Peramiho they deploy sisters in the hospital and run a secondary school for girls.