The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Eleven — St. Agnes Monastery, Chipole, Tanzania, by Carolyn Cornelius

The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Eleven — St. Agnes Monastery, Chipole, Tanzania, by Carolyn Cornelius

July 11, 2013


The sisters are extraordinary.  We are in Chipole, Tanzania at St. Agnes Monastery.  Yesterday we had a most beautiful picnic at their dam, built by Robert Fuchs and finished in 2005.  Before the electricity was given through generators and was therefore spotty and used very sparingly.  Robert died later that same year the dam was finished and is buried (though a native Swiss man) in their honored cemetery and is loved and remembered dearly by the sisters.  We walked home, about nine kilometers, and as the group naturally spread apart throughout the stroll, Brea and I ended up the lucky ones alongside Sister Jane (pronounced phonetically).  She talked about her childhood a bit, as walking brought back memories for her.  The conversation made her smile from ear-to-ear and very proud.  She said there were no cars in her village and so walking was her only mode-of-transportation.  Those she lived alongside would carry heavy loads on their heads and travel far distances.  Water was five kilometers distance and she would carry a very large bucket of water atop her less-than 5 foot frame.  Sr. Jane now has a choice in how to get from place to place as the monastery owns two vehicles, but often she continues to choose to walk.  Sr. Jane is also a beautiful and powerful singer with the best ululating I’ve heard yet!  Brea and I were trying to follow her in a simple song, “Asante, asante sana,” (thank you, thank you very much) and couldn’t land the right notes to save our lives.  She kept expressing “I love to sing!”  The world is a better place for it.  We also talked about all that she gave up to live a life completely devoted to God and doing His work.  That has been SO evident.  I have never in my life seen a community so selfless and so many women completely devoted to serving.  They serve and love earnestly their Lord, each other, their community and guests.  The nuns wake up at five AM and from dawn to dusk they pray, praise, serve and work.  What a blessing to be amongst them all.


For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see

For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see

The North Star Project: Collaboration between The Middle Ground Journal Student Interns, The College of St. Scholastica, and North Star Academy 8th Grade Global Studies Classes, 2013-2014 School Year Reports.

Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

Having re-tooled and re-designed the collaborative program, we are drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This school year The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world.  We will post their brief dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, 2013-2014 School Year

(c) 2013 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 7, Fall, 2013. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.


Filed under North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

3 responses to “The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Eleven — St. Agnes Monastery, Chipole, Tanzania, by Carolyn Cornelius

  1. Morgan Schmitz

    I think it is really interesting that Robert is buried in their honored cemetery. I think it is cool the respect they showed him for all that he did for them.

  2. Amy North

    I really enjoyed reading this article. I hope to be going to Tanzania this upcoming summer and going to the same monastery – it was great to read a little bit about your time there. This made me look forward to the trip even more.

  3. Maija

    It is always interesting to hear stories of people like Sister Jane. Having Robert buried there after building the dam, and shows just how important that was!

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