Sikh Tragedy in Wisconsin Felt in Moshi Tanzania

With letters of condolences sent to our friends in Moshi, Tanzania, I thought you may ask, “what friends,” and how do they relate to us.

Sikh communities throughout the world are, as a matter of their belief system, committed to peace and helping others. One of their connections is to the international Lions Club.

When Mark Klever, a Mosaic Board member, offered to lead a second eye clinic trip to Moshi (his first was a trip to our program in Romania), I was not surprised when he said, “We need to find the Lions Club.” We found them and Mark started communicating with them about the possibility of partnering in Moshi, Tanzania through the Building a Caring Community project.

With everything in place, equipment, materials and the doctors, Mark accepted an invitation to be a guest of the Lions Club of Moshi. We knew they met at the Sikh Club, an unassuming, yet historic building in Moshi, but we were not prepared for the people we would meet that evening. Clearly, while the Club had members from all faiths – Christians, Muslims and Hindu – we did not expect the Club to be ledby the Sikh members. After the formal part of the meeting, we were embraced by all the members, but most impressed by the interest and dedication that the Sikh members demonstrated to the Building a Caring Community project which is aligned with the Lutheran Church in Tanzania.

I, like many Americans, had little information about their belief system, their population in Moshi, or the level of their community involvement. By the time we left, we were impressed and walked away with a donation of new eye glasses and sunglasses. Although those were necessary items to our eye clinic mission, that is not what we remembered of the evening.

What we valued was how integrated the Club was, how strong and rich was their history, and how a minority within the community had risen to lead the Moshi Club … we were impressed. Their friendship continues today and we hope they understand their little community in Moshi, as those around the world, are in our thoughts and prayers.

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