Mit unserem letzten Blogbeitrag haben wir ja etwas losgetreten. Wir hatten über Neuigkeiten von der Liemba, vormals Goetzen, berichtet und eher beiläufig die Bemühungen von Luise und Chris Horsfall von der Lakeshore Lodge um die alte Kirando Mission der White Fathers am Tanganjikasee erwähnt.
Seitdem werden wir fortwährend gefragt, was es denn genau damit auf sich hat, worum es sich konkret handeln würde. Lange bitten mußte man uns nicht, schließlich hat es uns selbst interessiert. Und auch wenn die Geschichte der Kirando Mission nicht direkt mit der alten Dame Liemba verbunden ist, habe ich dennoch den im vorigen Beitrag erwähnten Father Peter van der Pas kontaktiert und nach mehr Hintergrundinformationen gefragt. In der Zwischenzeit habe ich diese nebst diversen Fotos erhalten und darf sie an dieser Stelle in Auszügen veröffentlichen.
Doch wo beginnen? Am Besten mit Father Peter’s Darstellung zur Historie der White Fathers:
The Society of the White Fathers, or Missionaries of Africa, that started Kirando mission, had been founded in 1868 in North-Africa in the second half of the 19th century by Cardinal Charles Lavigerie. His initial ideas were to evangelize or Christianize North Africa, but later on in 1878 he was also entrusted with the vast area of Equatorial Africa, south of the Sahara.
Dann fährt Father Peter mit historischen Darstellungen zur Region Tanganjika fort:
On September 27, 1880, part of that large area, the area east and west of Lake Tanganyika had by papal decree been proclaimed a Pro-Vicariate. Six years after that, in 1886, the same Pro-Vicariate was divided again into two, each part becoming a Vicariate: one being the Vicariate of Upper-Congo, west of Lake Tanganyika, and the other one the Vicariate of Tanganyika, east of the lake. That is the area that concerns us here in the context of Kirando Mission near Kipili in which the ruins of the old church and mission buildings are situated.
Dann erzählt Father Peter vom ersten Bischof des Vikariats am Tanganjikasee und seinem Nachfolger Bischof Léonce Bridoux:
In October 1887, father Jean-Baptiste Charbonnier was elected to be the first Bishop of the Vicariate of Tanganyika. His vicariate ran all the way from Burundi (Uzige) in the north, down along the eastside of Lake Tanganyika, and again all the way down south to lake Bangweolo and lake Nyassa in today’s Zambia/Malawi. … During the few months following his consecration as bishop he suffered frequent malaria-attacks and he died in Karema on March 16th, 1888, aged forty six. In that short period of time, however, he had been planning to expand his missionary endeavors and start new missions in Ufipa, on the lake’s shores as well as on the high plateau. … In October 1889, bishop Léonce Bridoux had replaced the deceased bishop Charbonnier. He would to continue and expand further into Ufipa country.
In ten years‘ time five missionaries died, including the two bishops Charbonnier and Bridoux. Up to this point in history the missionaries had been considered intruders and were expelled from many different posts by Arabs or by local chiefs alike, sometimes even brutally as in Ufipa. They now found themselves being reduced to the sole mission of Karema on the east side of the lake, towards the north. Whereas initially they had found Karema the least suitable place to have a mission post because of its remoteness and its sparse population, they now – ironically – felt secure in its peace and its relative isolation.
Mit dem Jahr 1894 und Bischof Lechaptois geht es dann weiter:
In 1894, Bishop Lechaptois, who had succeeded Bridoux, was to make new efforts to return to the Kirando plain and this time with success. They returned to their former inland post of Masoro, but after a short time terrible floods ruined the fields of the mission and those of their dependents. The buildings were surrounded by an unhealthy swamp and they decided to leave for Jiweni-Kamba, a rounded hill of fifteen to twenty meters high towards the south of the Kirando plain, overlooking the plain itself, the lake and the islands offshore. It was situated west of today’s village of Katongolo and north of Kipili bay.
Fathers Boddaert, Sigiez and brother Gustave built a father’s house, a sisters‘ house and a dispensary. Later a larger church was to replace the provisional chapel. A beautiful site indeed it was. Due to the diminishing powers of the Arabs and the increasing German influence, the security of the missionaries of Kirando was from then on virtually assured. The White Fathers were to live and work on that beautiful location for the next 45 years. The ruins that are found there testify to the beautiful place it must have been at the time.
Die Erzählung schließt mit folgenden Worten:
The missionaries decided to get down from the hill to build their new mission in Itete (Kirando), in the plain where the parish still is today. The ruins of the church, the fathers‘ and the sisters‘ house, built by brother Gustave, as well as the graves of some of the missionaries, can still be seen today on the Jiweni-Kamba hill overlooking Lake Tanganyika.
Diesmal ist der Beitrag etwas länger geworden. Aber eins ist damit sicher jedem klar geworden. Der Tanganjikasee hat neben der Liemba, vormals Goetzen, eine weitere Attraktion ganz in der Nähe der Lakeshore Lodge zu bieten: Die alte Kirando Mission der White Fathers. Mein herzlicher Dank gilt Father Peter.