During a short stay in Tanzania just before the beginning of the CANA year, the leaders training programme is an opportunity for a fresh start and fruitful meetings.

 Sister Audrey JOLICOEUR
CANA International

In this English-speaking country in south-east Africa, which currently has a population of more than 59 million, CANA is still a small seed that is growing slowly but surely.

CANA started in Tanzania in 1998. Based in Arusha in the north of this large country, Alex & Caritas LENGEJU have done a great job for the foundation of CANA throughout these years. Thanks a lot for your commitment to develop CANA Tanzania. CANA has gradually developed in three main regions around Dar Es Salaam, Morogoro and Arusha/Moshi.

In this country of the southern hemisphere, the beginning of the CANA year in Tanzania takes place at the end of January. For this reason, it was appropriate that the formation of the fraternity leaders and the national team took place from 8 to 15 December 2021, at a time when changes in the leadership of CANA are being put in place: the responsibility of CANA entrusted to a new couple and the national team being modified. Currently in Tanzania, 111 couples are gathered in 23 fraternities.

Training the leaders

The formation of the leaders took place in Morogoro, a 4-hour drive east of Dar Es Salaam. The three major regions were represented at this training time by 12 couples responsible for fraternities and members of the regional teams. The members of the national team, who are not responsible for a fraternity, had also joined us.

We started our meeting with the former national team in the presence of the couple who are the new leaders of CANA Tanzania. During this time, it was very important to have a good review of the year during the pandemic. Tanzania was not too badly affected, but with the very first wave of the pandemic, the lockdown that was in place caused great fear and totally destabilised the economy. Couples found themselves suddenly facing each other for weeks at a time without being prepared, which is very difficult on a relationship level. In spite of this, the fraternities continued to meet in one way or another to share and be in fellowship.

Before the arrival of the pandemic, we had put in place leadership training. Now we need to start implementing new ways of functioning because the fellowship is growing. In particular, it is necessary to help the young couples who are joining CANA to put themselves at the service of CANA and to call other new couples with the means we have today.

The success of CANA 1,2,3…

The new format of the CANA Week in three weekends – CANA 1,2,3… – is a good response to a need. It was well received in the three major cities of Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Morogoro. So far, the programme has been held 3 times in each city and each time 20-25 couples have participated.

During this time of training, the leaders reflected on how to get other means to evangelise in order to be able to call more couples to the CANA  1,2,3… or to the CANA Week. They had the opportunity to join regional working groups where they decided how to get the means they need to do more, and which require more training time.

We were able to announce that the CANA Retreat will take place during the month of July and to strongly encourage the leaders to call couples to attend the Retreat in order to grow in their life as a couple and to consolidate the CANA Fraternity in a general way.

Change of leaders

Following this training period, the change of leaders was announced and we accompanied the handover between the old and new leaders, including on financial matters. It is a couple from Morogoro, Robert & Margret LYAKURWA who are taking over. They know CANA well as they were the leaders of the Morogoro region for a few years. We already encourage them to start the end of year interviews which were already set up by Father Christophe BLIN but which could not be done because of the pandemic.

Ecclesiastical meetings

During this time in Morogoro, I was also able to meet the local bishop, Mgr Lazarus Vitalis MSIMBE, who has high expectations of CANA. He knows the new leaders very well and together they want to see how to make CANA known and to start working in the parishes. I also met Father Sebastian PALAKUDY, who is responsible for family ministry in the diocese. He knows CANA because he has come to celebrate masses during the CANA weeks. I invited him to live a CANA week as a priest participant so that he could understand from the inside what CANA really is. In the Diocese of Morogoro, the Lord has planted many little seeds!

On my return to Dar Es Salaam, I met the auxiliary bishop in charge of family ministry, Mgr Henry MCHAMUNGUET with whom we had a very good exchange. Again, an appointment was made with the CANA team in Dar Es Salaam so that they could start working together. He would like CANA to develop in the diocese and work directly with the parishes.

Specific meetings

Then I had a special meeting with the CANA team in Dar Es Salaam, where we worked on how to set up the end-of-year interviews because it is the right time: the CANA school year starts on 30 January. We did some practical work, practising so that they could then do the interviews throughout the region. We have set up evangelistic actions for CANA 1,2,3… which are planned in March. Their goal is to have at least 40 couples. The whole team could not participate in this meeting but the questions were relayed so that we could work more widely.

Finally, I had a very good time with the new leaders to make unity and to agree on the way forward: how to work as a national team, how to set up regional teams as well as fraternities that would be more likely to stay together as long as possible! Finally, how to ensure that there are at least 15 couples for the CANA Retreat in July 2022.

A more than fruitful stay

I had very few days in Tanzania, but it was more than fruitful. It is a good time to set up the right way of working together as the number of members in CANA Tanzania is constantly increasing.

May the Lord bless and protect what he has sown.