Parishioners Maureen and Bill Jones were full of surprise when they found 20 Zebu cattle helping to mow the grounds of the Issenye Secondary School during their recent visit to Tanzania.
The Jones’, from Battyeford’s Christ the King, dropped into the school which is situated in Tanzania’s Serengeti District to see the progress of Issenye School that they started work on in 1989.
They discovered that the cattle not only helped to keep the exterior looking smart and tidy, but that they also provide milk, and eventually beef, for the school’s 475 boarders.
Thanks to a “contented looking bull”, the cattle are self-producing, hopefully providing the school with sustenance for years to come.
Bill claims, “They may be the most productive members of the school!”
Issenye Secondary School, which opened in 1990, is currently owned and run by the Diocese of Mara, which has close links to the Wakefield and Huddersfield Episcopal Areas, and it produces some of the best academic results in Tanzania’s Mara region at secondary level.
Bill Jones says, “We were there [in 1989] as the first expression of the diocesan link - I was at that time employed as Bishop's Adviser but had previously worked in Tanzania.
“The initial funding was from the villagers of Issenye who taxed themselves so that their young people could get an education.
“Later support came from churches and schools across Wakefield Diocese.”
Bill and Maureen Jones lived in Issenye themselves for seven years, making the remote village on the edge of the Serengeti Plain their home for a while.
He mentions, “The cow herd has been gradually built up - an active bull and a willing cow is all you need!
“The cows are good at multi-tasking.”
Indeed, not only are they producing milk and beef for the school, but their waste goes into an underground tank and creates bio-gas for the school kitchens and any surplus cattle created by the small herd can be sold to add to the school’s income.
To find out more about the links with Tanzania, please visit the Diocese’s Overseas Links page: http://www.westyorkshiredales.anglican.org/overseas-links
To find out more about Bill and Maureen’s time in Tanzania, his book School for the Serengeti – The Story of Issenye can be bought from himself and is available at £8.99. His other book Mara! - Africa bridges the gap between Church and Life, is available from the same source. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of either books, please email: bill.jones.75 [at] btinternet.com