Modern missionaries from Manitoba are filled with gratitude because after a decade in Tanzania, they are opening a quality medical clinic for people who otherwise wouldn't get health care.
Having met at Providence College and Theological Seminary, Darryl and Shirley Peters raised their three children in Southern Manitoba before moving to Africa.
"I've known since 12-years-old that Africa was in my heart," says Shirley. "We can't thank God enough for the honour and privilege to live in Tanzania, to be stewards of this land."
The Peters started off selling everything they owned, taking only eight suitcases over to Africa and started what they thought would be a two-bedroom bed and breakfast. It's turned into so much more, including running a lodge and safari, to now a new medical facility called Dashir-Kikwe Outpatient Clinic.
"When we build this health centre we're seeing the coming together of who we are (Dashir is a mix of Darryl and Shirley) and our village Kikwe, to do something really special to help people with medical issues and getting good health care, which is a big deal here in Tanzania."
Within a week the walk-in clinic, phase one of the centre, will be up and running after only nine months of building.
Living By Faith
"I don't know why we're doing this sometimes, it feels crazy because it's a lot," says Darryl, a former school teacher in Winnipeg. "Running a lodge is one thing, but running a health centre is another."
For people who come and stay at the Peters lodge for a vacation, a portion of those proceeds help pay for the medical clinic. The rest come from generous donations. Fifty per cent of the safari and lodge clients come from Manitoba.
"People keep pouring into this. Some give $5,000, $50,000, $100," says Shirley. "A little boy who does a paper route gives all his money that month. Amazing stories that make us weep."
Most of this medical project has shown the Peters that with God, the impossible becomes possible.
"The government officials say that what we're doing should be done in two and a half years. By God's grace and our entire team here, it's been done in nine months," says Shirley.
Darryl admits there have been very hard times when all they had to lean on was faith.
"We had times we thought we had to quit and we were about to shut down. It's unbelievable how a nice donation comes in, several nice donations come in, a lot of beautiful smaller donations come in."
It will cost locals $1.50 for a consultation, making good health care affordable. This also means the clinic will not make a profit, but to the Peters, it's worth it.
"It means that pregnant women don't have to ride for 12 km's on a motorcycle while in labour to go to the nearest hospital. It also means when we get our next phase up, pregnant women will get screened which is not happening right now."
Shirley saw how one woman she knows lost five babies during pregnancy and if she was able to get screened, help could have been provided and they would have arrived healthy and well. That's only one example of the conditions locals faced every day before this health centre opened.
To watch their live announcement and opening on Thursday, click here.