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.
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!
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!