Tanzania Link

St. Martin's is linked with the Parish of Bugwema in the Diocese of Mara.

The Diocese of Mara is in the north-west of Tanzania, next to the border with Kenya and the eastern side of Lake Victoria. Tanzania is about four times the size of the UK, but has only about half the population.

It is one of the ten poorest countries on earth, and consists of the mainland of the former Tanganyika and two islands, Zanzibar and Memba. Africa's highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, is in Tanzania, as is the Serengeti game reserve and the Ngorongoro Crater. The country has a coastline on the Indian Ocean.

In the past it has been colonised by Arabs, Germans and the British, but in 1961 it became independent. About half the population are Christian, a third Muslim and the remainder still hold to traditional African beliefs. Most people work on the land, growing food and keeping animals. There are few roads and these are badly affected by the seasonal rains. Sometimes, as happened in 2006, the rains fail to arrive and then real hardship is experienced. The capital of the Mara region is Musoma, where the recently rebuilt cathedral is situated.

In 1986 Bishop David Hope of Wakefield and the then new Bishop of Mara, Gershom Nyaronga, proposed that the two dioceses be twinned, and on July 10th 1988 in Wakefield Cathedral the link covenant was formally signed. Both Bishops pledged themselves to the covenant in front of Bishop Ghais Abdel Malik of Egypt representing the Anglican Communion, and they said "As the friendship of David and Jonathan in days of old bridged the deep divisions within Israel, so may our friendship build bridges across the divides of distance, of culture and of language".

Fast forwarding to the present, Wakefield Diocese now benefits enormously from this firm planting of ideals and nurturing over the past 20 years. The adopted motto of the link 'Bega kwa Bega' translated as 'Shoulder to Shoulder' has been practised and continues to do so with the many conversations, visits and joint projects by the people of both Dioceses continuing to enrich the Link.