Hello, my name is Brother Gasper and I am a member of the Benedictine Monks based in Sumbawanga in western Tanzania. We are dedicated to community development in our local area and work hard to create a better future for those less well off. We would love to have volunteers from different backgrounds to volunteer with us so that we can share our experience and skills and learn from each other.
We have already accommodated many volunteers over the years, and we love to have people from all around the world to bring their experience and motivation to help with our work. You do not need to be Catholic or any religion to stay with us. The most important thing for us is that you feel comfortable during your stay with us, you don't have to follow our routine. We like to work with people who are committed to making a difference.
We have established an NGO with the objective of bringing relief to all people through promoting appropriate Technologies in rural areas; socio-economic capacity building; enhancing women's dignity; fighting against HIV/AIDS and other epidemics; and taking part in environmental conservation activities in Tanzania.
The projects and establishments that we run are:
- Secondary School
- Teachers Training College
- School holiday camp
at The Abbey:
- Primary School
- Vocation Training Centre
- Poultry project
- Tree Plantation projects
- Gardening and Agriculture
- Watering (plumping) projects
- Health Centre
We warmly welcome you to come and experience a small part of the life of the Brothers here in Tanzania.
Help with Eco Projects
Help with Computers/ Internet
You will be living and eating with the monks in their accommodation. It is a great chance to see first hand what it is like to live the life of a Catholic monk in Tanzania. You are welcome to join us for prayer and mass, even if you have never been in a church before. We are friendly and like to enjoy life and meet new people. At the abbey you can meet novice monks who are in training to take their vows. And we have a campsite in Kipili on the shore of Lake Tanganyika where we go for retreat where you can visit and experience the tranquility of the idyllic location.
At this time, these are the most important projects that we are focusing on:
- Water project: Improving the quality of the existing water in our community as well as in the surrounding villages, and finding and exploiting an alternative source of water, as water is very scarce here, especially in the villages.
- Energy source: As our community is 65km from the nearest town, we have to provide our own energy. At the moment, we are relying mainly on hydroelectricity, but this is not reliable, particularly in the dry season. Lately, we have been focusing our attention on solar power; however, we have recently begun to explore the possibilities of biogas. As this is a very recent development, we are still finding our feet, and would greatly appreciate any help and input on this from volunteers with experience in this area.
However, there are many other areas that we would like help and advice in, including:
- Agriculture: we have a lot of extremely fertile land but we lack the knowledge of how to exploit it to give the best possible crop yields and to increase crop variety so that we can provide nutritious food to the monks in our community, patients and relatives in our hospital, and the poor people in the surrounding villages.
- Teaching: we need volunteers to teach in all our schools, as well as our summer camp and our Vocational Training Centre. We particularly need people to teach English and Mathematics, and help with teacher training.
- Environmental improvement: we wish to create a clean, safe, healthy and aesthetic environment for ourselves and our surrounding communities and help instill a respect for the environment. This may involve tree planting and selective tree-felling, growing flowers and other aesthetically pleasing plants, recycling, protecting water sources from contamination, etc.
- Fund-raising: We receive some donations from generous benefactors and we also generate some income from school fees and selling our produce. However, we always have new projects in mind to improve the life of our community and neighbours. We would therefore warmly welcome the participation of any volunteers with fund-raising experience, who can help us find the means to finance these projects.
- Internet, computer systems and marketing: We are working on promoting our work and services for the poor, thus we would appreciate if someone can help us with designing our website, help us with attracting more volunteers and with creating more international connections and partnerships with NGOs.
The list above is not exhaustive. We can benefit from working with volunteers with skills and knowledge in many other fields, so if you have experience or knowledge in an area not listed above, please contact us to discuss this as your help and input could prove to be very valuable.
We would ask that you work for 5 days a week, then the remaining days are yours to do as you please. In your free time we would love to be your guide and show you the local area so you can make the most of your experience here.
If you need any other further information or have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact me. We look forward to welcoming you to Tanzania!
Swahili (Kiswahili): Fluent
Meals and accommodation will be provided free of charge. We have a house for receiving volunteers in the town of Sumbawanga, but we can also accommodate volunteers in our Abbey as well as sites in Mbeya and in Kipili on Lake Tanganyika.
Private room. Mosquito net on bed. At Sumbawanga the showers and toilets are shared. At the Abbey and Kipili there are en suite showers and toilets. We have internet access in Sumbawanga town and Kipili, but not in the Abbey. You can always go to town, if you need to use the internet.
Sumbawanga is well connected to the other major cities in Tanzania. There is an Ariport in Mbeya that is a 4-5 hour coach journey away. Dar es Salaam is 16-18 hours by coach direct. We have a house in Mbeya that we can receive you at if you are not able to make it all the way to Sumbawanga. Please don't hesitate to ask for advice on travel.
In your time off we will arrange to take you to the village of Kipili Lake Tanganyika by car for no cost. There we have a campsite and lodge with rooms that you can stay in over night. The area is beautiful and quiet, and you are able to swim in the lake if you would like and eat fresh fish caught from the lake. There is also a sandy beach in the nearby village of Kirando that is popular with locals.
There are many attractions in areas around Sumbwanga such as Mbizi Forest Reserve, Lake Rukwa and further north Katavi National Park.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week