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Maasai Missionary Drowned

A terrible thing happened earlier this week. One of the two Society of African Mission missionaries that was scheduled to open the new Maasai mission at Malambo with Fr. Arkado of Olbalbal drowned. The 35 year old SMA priest was attending a six month renewal program near Dar es Salaam. The program is being sponsored jointly by the Spiritans and SMA’s. Adam, the drowned priest, was due to join Arkado at Malambo in June.

Adam went swimming with with a Congolese Spiritan at a beach near the sisters convent where the course is being held. Both strong swimmers, they swam a good distance from the shore. The Congolese Spiritan began to tire and got into trouble. Adam came to his aid and managed to help him reach a point nearer the shore where the Congolese could touch bottom. Just then a huge wave appeared, separating them and taking Adam away. What happened next is unclear but Adam was not seen again till his body was washed up on shore some distance down the beach. The Congolese managed to reach shore and cry for help. With his very limited Swahili, he tried to make some fisherman understand that his “brother” was taken by the water and needed help. The fisherman refused to help till they would be paid $100 that the Congolese Spiritan didn’t have. I think that the refusal of the fishermen was due mostly to their not fully understanding the situation. Tanzanians are usually very friendly and helpful especially in difficult situations. He called the renewal center on his cell phone but they arrived to late to help.

Fr. Arkado flew to Poland yesterday with the ashes of Adam. The funeral is due to take place this Wednesday in Adam’s home town in Poland. Fr. Arkado has been with me here at Olbalbal for four years. He will now open a new Maasai mission at Malambo some two yours North of us here at Olbalbal. Sadly, Adam will not be joining him there.

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