African Village church. A question of priorities!

Church within sight of a Maasai village, School. Photo by Stephen Powell Wildlife Artist

Church within sight of a Maasai village, School

Maasai village, Photo by Stephen Powell Wildlife Artist

Maasai village, School

I came across these images taken in Tanzania in 2012 and the questions in my mind then and now were about the misguided priorities of the builders. The church is maintained in pristine condition for services. Within sight of this church is a school with inadequate water,  rudimentary classrooms in need of repair, over worked staff and almost nonexistent resources. The only thing the school has no shortage of is hundreds of eager students.

Maasai village, School. Photo by Stephen Powell Wildlife Artist

Maasai village School classroom.

Unlike the church our small group of  travelers saw a different need. We all chipped in and arranged for the installation of an additional large water tank, exercise books, pens and pencils and footballs (Every one deserves some fun).

The water enables a meal to be prepared for hungry children. As a result more children will come to school and be able to focus on education rather than their hunger. All of the children now had their own exercise book and pen. May be their first!

Oblivious to the new footballs getting a work out. The impact on this young man of a simple exercise book and pen brought a tear to my eye! Photo by Stephen Powell Wildlife Artist.

Oblivious to the new footballs getting a work out. The impact on this young man of a simple exercise book and pen brought a tear to my eye!

The impact of the water tank would be felt for years but there was an immediate result with the staff, students and surrounding villages. The looks on their faces and their response was overwhelming and warm.

I am an atheist but do recognize the support that a belief in a god can bring. However my impression from my limited knowledge of the bible is that if Jesus  had visited this village he would not have built a church. If he rather than his picture was staring down from the alter of the empty church he would not approve. I can’t see much evidence of him needing or wanting churches let alone cathedrals to pass on his Gods message.

If my atheism turns out to be wrong I’m sure that our groups actions, motivated by a desire to help will not have gone unnoticed!

About Stephen Powell

Stephen has been an active environmentalist working in, field work, public speaking and lobbying at all levels of government. He has spoken at school and community gatherings as well as on radio. His comments on environmental issues have appeared in newspapers and newsletters. His work has attracted a number awards, which include Wildlife Art Society of Australasia & Best Flora or Fauna-Moomba Art Show. His passion shows in his works which are in demand for galleries and as private commissions. Training: Watercolour: ‘The Botanical Art School of Melbourne’ under the internationally acclaimed Jenny Crompton (Phillips) Oil: with the gifted wildlife artist Krystii Melaine. Drawing and field sketching: with Steve Morvell He takes classes and travelled to Mitchell School of Arts to take wildlife art workshops. And the Murrumbidgee School of Creative Arts in Wagga Wagga. McGregor School Uni Southern Queensland Toowoomba. Grafton to be added in 2011.

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