Shining A Light on the Dark Continent

Author Archives: Vicki

Last Trip in Africa

Dave, far right, with members of an orphanage in Addis Ababa on his last trip to Africa.


Dave went on his last trip out of Djibouti to Ethiopia in May 2011. This time he introduced Chaplain Bill O’Sullivan, his replacement at Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, to the Civil Affairs teams he worked with around Ethiopia.

“Happiness is having your replacement on the ground,” Dave said.

Bill quickly learned the ways of the chaplains’ office. Now he needed to see the field work. His introduction to Ethiopia included crazy drivers, flooding rains and intermittent power and internet.

“Africa travels continue to be interesting,” Dave said.

First stop was Sister Donna’s orphanage where they caught up with what was happening with her (see my next post).

On the drive back, they saw a herd of about 12 dead camels on the side of the road. They appeared to have broken legs. Dave and Bill speculated the camels were in the back of a truck that was in an accident and each had broken a leg or two and had to be put down. “A very sad situation,” Dave said. “In fact, there were lots of accidents and dead animals along the road. I don’t remember it being this bad the last few times I traveled to Awasa.”

They next visited Father Dennis, whom Dave met in December in Arba Minch. Originally from Kampala, Uganda, Father Dennis was in Addis Ababa to learn the Ethiopian national language, Amharic.  Dave passed along a few messages through Father Dennis to the religious council in Arba Minch and called it a night.

Chap. Bill O’Sullvan, left, helps unload boxes for the orphanage run by a Jewish doctor and his family in Ethiopia.


The next morning, they dropped off six boxes of clothing for the orphanage run by the only Jewish family in Addis Ababa. From there, they went to the U.S. Embassy to introduce Bill to some of the team’s contacts. Then it was time to fly back to Djibouti.

“I can’t believe my time on the Africa continent is almost complete. What an amazing ride. The people God let me meet, work with, minister to and with, and the unknown lives that have been changed – I couldn’t ask for anything better. If this is my last trip in Africa, at least it was a good one,” Dave said.


A Christian in a Muslim country

  Sometimes we run into someone who leaves a lasting impression. For Dave that person is Toufik Housseine from Moroni, Comoros. Toufik is the director and Dean of the American English Language School. He also is a First Lieutenant in the Comoran Defense Force Toufik attended the Language Institute at Lackland Air Force Base inContinue Reading

A vacation in Montepulciano, Italy

After the conference in Padova, Dave and I rented a car and drove to Montepulciano, Italy in Tuscany. We both loved the name. It is fun to say. We wanted to relax and spend time together after the conference. We chose Montepulciano for the wine. Driving into town was interesting. The GPS took us throughContinue Reading

Chaplains need to focus on values

When engaging with Africans, chaplains need to know the people’s view of them and build their trust, according to Colonel Monwabisi Andrew Jamangile, Brigadier General-Select for the South African National Defense Force Chaplain Service. Jamangile was speaking to the U.S. African Command Chaplains’ Conference in March 2011. Jamangile was speaking as the head of theContinue Reading

A Break in Italy

Usually during a six or seven-month deployment, the military member does not get to see their spouse in the middle of the tour, so when the United State African Command chaplains planned a conference for mid-March in Padova, Italy, Dave jumped on the chance to bring Vicki over. He also got a four-day pass toContinue Reading

Dar es Salaam — A modern, clean city

After spending money on the tanzanite, Dave and Navy Chaplain Captain Jon Cutler explored Dar es Salaam. They particularly wanted to see the churches built when the Europeans occupied the country. They found a Lutheran church and a Roman Catholic Church. Both churches were built between 1897 and 1902. In the Lutheran church, they climbedContinue Reading

Explosion affects travel plans in Tanzania

As Dave prepared to leave Tanga for Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania, he received word that an explosion closed the main airport. An accident at a military ammunition depot, caused the explosion killing 20 people, injuring 145 more and closed the airport. According to news reports, people felt the explosion 12 milesContinue Reading

Why can’t we all just get along?

Dave spoke with a village elder in Mamboleo Village while he was there inspecting the well. The elder said, although the village was 70 percent Muslim and 30 percent Christian, the two groups got along well together. In fact, most of the town attended the funeral of a Christian woman the day Dave was there.Continue Reading