St. Agnes Monastery

St. Agnes Monastery
Benedictine Sisters of St. Agnes | photo found at

Ruvuma Dam

About five years ago, the monastery along with a Swiss investor constructed a hydroelectric dam on the Ruvuma River. Today, the dam powers the entire community of Chipole and some of the surrounding villages. I can’t imagine how different life was here only five years ago. The way I know the world is with electricity. Even when I try to “rough it” in the mountains back home I rely on some sort of power. So I literally cannot imagine how drastically different it would have been.

The dam itself is a sight to see. I have found it so interesting the
things I marvel at here. Back home I would probably pass by Ruvuma Dam without a second glance. However a project as big as this is hard to go unnoticed here. And I actually stop to think about how such things came to be. And then I marvel some more. It’s great.

So Ruvuma Dam has become a special, marvelous spot. This week I visited the dam with Maggie and Claudine (our redhead Italian friend). We went by foot as we were feeling extra adventurous from watching Into the Wild during our Sunday Movie Night. We started right after breakfast in order to beat the heat that has become increasingly hotter the past few weeks. The river is about 8 kilometers from Chipole but the view of AFRICA kept us occupied the entire time. It’s indescribable. We reached the dam around 11:30 ready to dig into the feast we packed for a picnic. But first we scoped out the perfect picnic spot. We climbed down below the dam onto the rocks along the river—close enough to feel the mist from the waterfall. Wow. It may have been the coolest picnic spot I’ve been to (or a close tie with Picnic Point campground in ID). There we enjoyed pb and j’s, fresh fruit, and homemade cookies. It was the perfect day. We all agreed to make it a ritual during our time here. Afterwards we walked down the river for awhile and found what would be a great swimming hole. It was so tempting to jump in but we all remembered Father Domus’ last words to us before we left: “Don’t go in the water. There are crocodiles.” We skipped out on the afternoon swim even though Alexander Supertramp (from Into the Wild) would have done it in spite of the danger.

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