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Chaplains forge lines of communication in Tanzania
Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CTJF-HOA) Navy Chaplain Captain Jon Cutler and Air Force Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel David Terrinoni visited Tanga and Dar es Salaam February 15-20 to establish lines of communication with local religious
TANGA, Tanzania (February 16, 2011)-Navy Captain Jon Cutler high fives children during a visit to Tanga, Tanzania.  A chaplain for Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Cutler visited the city to help establish relationships and lines of communication with Tanzanians. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class John J. Mike)
2 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 2: TANGA, Tanzania (February 16, 2011)-Navy Captain Jon Cutler high fives children during a visit to Tanga, Tanzania. A chaplain for Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Cutler visited the city to help establish relationships and lines of communication with Tanzanians. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class John J. Mike) Download full-resolution version
TANGA, Tanzania (February 16, 2011)-Petty Officer 2nd Class Cheryl Parker holds a Tanzanian child as she gives pictures from a previous visit to the Collegine Sisters of the Holy Family Orphanage. Parker, a hospital corpsman with the Maritime Civil Affairs Team in Tanzania, works with locals to improve living and sanitary conditions in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class John J. Mike)
2 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 2 of 2: TANGA, Tanzania (February 16, 2011)-Petty Officer 2nd Class Cheryl Parker holds a Tanzanian child as she gives pictures from a previous visit to the Collegine Sisters of the Holy Family Orphanage. Parker, a hospital corpsman with the Maritime Civil Affairs Team in Tanzania, works with locals to improve living and sanitary conditions in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class John J. Mike) Download full-resolution version
TANGA, Tanzania (February 16, 2011)-Navy Captain Jon Cutler high fives children during a visit to Tanga, Tanzania.  A chaplain for Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Cutler visited the city to help establish relationships and lines of communication with Tanzanians. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class John J. Mike)
TANGA, Tanzania (February 16, 2011)-Petty Officer 2nd Class Cheryl Parker holds a Tanzanian child as she gives pictures from a previous visit to the Collegine Sisters of the Holy Family Orphanage. Parker, a hospital corpsman with the Maritime Civil Affairs Team in Tanzania, works with locals to improve living and sanitary conditions in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class John J. Mike)
Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CTJF-HOA) Navy Chaplain Captain Jon Cutler and Air Force Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel David Terrinoni visited Tanga and Dar es Salaam February 15-20 to establish lines of communication with local religious leaders.

The chaplains' visit also included a stop at the Collegine Sisters of the Holy Family Orphanage, where they sat for tea with a priest and three of the nuns, and to villages in the outlying area to meet with with Tanzanian youth.

"No matter where you go, children are the same," said Terrinoni, "They are always smiling, engaged and innocent, and I hope our interaction with them helps build a better future."

Orphanage staff members appreciated the chaplain's visit.

"We like it when the U.S. visits because it shows us they care about the children in Tanga and their needs," said Assistant Head Sister Josephine Mtenzi. Sister Mtenzi and four other nuns care for the basic needs of the children-given up or abandoned by parents unable to care for them-by "raising them like a family," a task compounded by the fact almost all the children are HIV-positive, Mtenzi said.

Hospital Corpsman Petty Officer Second Class Cheryl Parker, a member of the Tanzanian Maritime Civil Affairs Team (MCAT), accompanied the chaplains to the orphanage.

"We brought them pictures of our last visit," she said. "I'm pretty sure they will like them."

While the local priest and nuns engaged the chaplains, Parker traded the photographs for Pedro, one of the orphanage's toddlers. "What I really enjoy about this is the human interaction," she said. "It allows us to show our humanitarian side."

Although the primary focus of their trip was to visit Tanzanians, the chaplains took advantage of the opportunity to fulfill the religious needs of the local MCAT members.

"There is religious diversity here, but no synagogues, which make me glad Chaplain Cutler could visit," said Chief Petty Officer Richard Anthonissen, lead chief petty officer, Tanzania's Country Coordination Element.

According to Anthonissen, Cutler was able to serve Anthonissen in a way that only a rabbi can.

"During my last [CTFJ-HOA] tour, there were only Jewish lay-leaders available," said Anthonissen. "While they meet your faith needs, a rabbi is much more - a rabbi is a teacher who makes you think and challenge your assumptions in a good way."

After their orphanage visit, the chaplains accompanied the MCAT to the nearby village of Maboleo, where the team inspected previously excavated well sites

Terrinoni said he hopes to return to Tanzania to build on their latest efforts.

"Whether meeting with our religious counterparts, ministering to service members or visiting these children, our work here creates stability and builds our partner nation capacity," he said. "And, opening a dialogue so we can work with each other in the future makes trips like this invaluable."
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