GOWRIE - A Gowrie couple will be leaving early next week to help fulfill a mission in Africa.
Bruce and Terry Towne, of Gowrie, will leave Tuesday with eight other individuals to travel to the village of Njombe as part of a mission trip with the Western Iowa Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Njombe, a village of approximately 4,000 people, is located within the Southern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, the companion synod of the Western Iowa Synod.
-Messenger photo by Emilie Nelson
Terry Towne, of Gowrie, looks over two suitcases filled with medical kits and personal items that will be distributed in Tanzania where she and husband Bruce Towne will spend three weeks traveling on a mission trip with the Western Iowa Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The group will leave Tuesday.
For Bruce Towne, a veterinarian with a solo practice in Gowrie, the trip will be his second in two years. He traveled with the synod group to Tanzania in 2010. He will spend much of his time working with village farmers at the Center for Agricultural Development, teaching Tanzanian farmers new techniques to raise crops and livestock.
"We'll be helping to set up a kind of answer farm for the Tanzania farmers," Bruce Towne said. "Their agriculture and farming is about what Iowa's was in the early 1900s: lots of manual labor on the farms."
Terry Towne, owner of a bookkeeping and tax service business in Gowrie and director of the Southwest Webster Ambulance Service, will share her bookkeeping knowledge with staff at the Center for Agricultural Development and work with medical staff at a hospital, spend time with an ambulance service, work in an orphanage and help rebuild a dormitory at the Ilembula Girls School.
"They do a great job of helping you to be able to work with your areas of interest," Terry Towne said.
The Townes will take two suitcases filled with medical supplies and personal items that will be distributed to the hospital and village residents. Thirty-six kits for home care of wounds, which include antibiotics, bandages, rubber gloves, scissors, tape and sterilization items, were provided with the help of the Southwest Webster Ambulance Gowrie Jaycees.
"Some of our crew members and their children helped assemble the kits for us," Terry Towne said. "They will be given to the hospital to be distributed to patients after they have been treated. The patient's wounds are taken care of at the hospital, but so often they don't have anything to continue to treat them at home. These kits will allow them to continue care at home."
The process of preparing for the trip has taken about a year, Terry Towne said, from starting an application and getting a letter of recommendation to attending informational meetings and going through a series of necessary vaccinations. A grant from their home congregation, Zion Lutheran Church in Gowrie, helped fund the trip. The congregation has actively supported the community and church in Tanzania, helping to raise funds for well-drilling efforts, the girls school, and purchasing washers and dryers for the hospital.
"We're definitely excited," Terry Towne said. "We had the chance to meet some of the people from Tanzania when they visited Iowa last year and once you have met them, you stay in contact and they really do become your friends for life."