Roger and Kitty Schiltz – Seattle Chapter
Roger and Kitty Schiltz, partners in mission as in life, share stories of their time in Tanzania.
Roger: When we go to Tanzania for two or three months, we take books with us as part of our spiritual journey.
Two years ago, reading two Orbis books by Franciscan sister Ilia Delio—The Unbearable Wholeness of Being and The Emergent Christ—and being with the people in Tanzania, we remembered that we are stardust and co-creators with our God in this beautiful cosmos. This year we brought with us two books by Richard Rohr OSF: Eager to Love and Hope against Darkness: The Transforming Vision of Saint Francis in an Age of Anxiety. And we learn that God is love and God is in our DNA and in everything.
We hope these pictures of our time this year in Chipole, along with the readings, will give an idea of our journey.
Kitty and Sr. Tuzinde, in the 10-acre Field of Dreams, are elated by seeing trees 5, 10, and 20 feet tall after years of fires. Sunflowers grow between the trees.
To prevent fires and to compost the soil, Roger cultivates the ten acres by hoe each year.
Children call Sr. Tuzinde Mama Miti —mother of trees. She is pulling the earth toward love and sustainability.
Roger feels like he is sitting on top of the world in the Field of Dreams.
We do have a little fun out here in this spiritual dreamland where God’s DNA is in everything. St. Francis would say, looking up at the stars and at all the creatures, “If these are the creatures, what must the creator be like?”
Kitty: While staying at St. Agnes Abbey in Chipole, Tanzania, this year, I decided to spend time with the youngest orphans. Since the older orphans were at school and pre-school, five of the youngest spent their mornings waiting for their older siblings to come home and play with them.
Mama feeding uji to Rosie. Joni is watching.
These young ones were just waiting for me to come each morning. They would be sitting on the floor, not yet walking. I came at porridge time when they were enjoying a cup of warm uji.
What do you do with five little children who can’t talk or walk yet? By the time I had their diapers changed, they were wet again, so I did not concentrate on dry babies. I wore old clothes and changed when I went home.
Lighty and the soccer ball.
I found an old soccer ball, and we learned to roll it to one another; but mostly I sang songs and held them on my lap. It became so natural to be with them each morning. Most of them were lively, and I picked them up and made them giggle. When I sang they would smile and move to the rhythm of the songs—except for one of them.
Kitty singing to Joni, Rosie, Lighty, and Omega. Antony has crawled off somehwere.
My challenge was to get that one to smile. Lighty was her name, shortened from Lightness. One of the first things I noticed about her was that she was not at all like her name.
She did not smile and she was chubby, not interested in moving or walking even though she was two years old. The ball was the one thing she really liked, so we played ball. Lighty began to smile and respond to the rhythm of the songs, to attempt to go after the ball. Finally, when I urged her to hold my hands and try to walk, she smiled up at me and tried. I felt joyful; now I miss the babies and wonder how they’re doing.
Kitty and Lighty and ball. Joni and Antony in background.