James Conard and William Daley at Kowak Parish

Pastoral Activities at Kowak Parish

by James Conard

Father Bill Daley, Father Sabinus Moremi and now a new temporary deacon along with myself are assigned to Kowak Mission in the North Mara part of Musoma Diocese. This was one of the very first Maryknoll missions in Africa and still remains one of the most active.

Kowak Parish includes about 30 villages. It is divided into five centers of five or six villages each. Masses, sacraments, Christian Life take place at these centers each Sunday. On week days Bill and Sabinus also have Masses at individual villages. They along with sixteen catechists, instruct and baptize about 400 catechumens each year.

We have built four new chapels and will continue to add more chapels along with repairs and upgrading of the present chapels. We are extending the parish into the valley north of the Mara River where people of the Bakenye tribe live.

Kowak Health Center is being upgraded. I am bringing a new microscope and shipping two 22 quart sterilizers. Now that four Adoration Sisters from India are administering this 36 bed Health Center, we should be able to upgrade the services and health care.

We hope in time to have a doctor resident and be able to perform some operations. In June 2000, the staff administered 130 blood transfusions mostly to babies. Malaria destroys blood and quickly can kill young babies. Only by blood transfusions can these babies be saved. Of course it is necessary to type and test for HIV all this blood. About 30% of adults are estimated to be HIV positive.

The third part of our ministry at Kowak is Kowak Girls secondary School. It is a school we planned and built. Maryknoll supported this school providing most of the money for its construction. Maryknoll can be proud of this school.