Father Odin Kapinga
NAME ::: Father Odin Kapinga COUNTRY ::: Tanzania
My name is Father Odin Katinga. Now I’m almost 50 years old. In December I’ll be 50. I started in this district during the minor seminars. In 1990 when the pope John Paul II I was becoming a priest, so I’m now for more than 20 years in the ministry. Now we are in Kindimba Juu. I came here in 2005, so now since six years I’m here. I founded this place. When I came it was just a little outpost. Priests came here only occactionaly. Now I’m resident here, but the area is also quite big still. There are 6500 people that belong to my district. Because of this big number we now also decided to start another district as we can’t give a good service to the people anymore, so we decided to make it into two. There will be a new father there.
As I said I was born in 1961, exactly when this country got independance. So I was born in the heat of independance and I grew up in it. I could relate to it. I started in this kind of atmosphere, where politicians told the people that we need educated people. When the country got independant in my place people were very poor and I grew up in poverty. People couldn’t affort many things. Children could not get to school and medication was difficult if people were sick and food was often an issue. We grew up like this. When I was nine I could go to school and what was important was that the teachers were very dedicated, because it was soon after independance and the teachers were educated during the conlonial times. I think that made them very dedicated.
So my childhood was in poverty, it was not in good condition. One thing that I was lucky with. My father was a working for a german missionary. And one of the priests, Alfred Miller, he payed my school fees, because my father worked there. That was something I have to thank god for. My parents would not have been able to afford it.
What is most important to you?
The most important thing is my life is this vocation, this call from god to become a priest. This is to me a very important thing in my life. I dedicated my life to the service for the people. In the 20 years of being a priest now, I never regreted it once. Because by being a priest and being in service to the people, that give me a lot of satisfaction. I live in this remote perish and there is a lot of poverty here, I can sense life from the roots. In the poverty I can see the roots how it affects people. So when I’m here I can help and make an impact for the people, both spiritually as well as economically for them. I can councel them and give them support. I’m not rich, but what I have I can share – and this gives me a lot. I think I could not live differently.
What has influenced you the most in your life?
The thing that influenced me the most are priests. I think it is the dedication of the missionaries that came here to this place. They deliberated it and this is also why I decided to become a priest. The missionaries did a lot here, especially in the south of Tanzania. Without them life would be much worse than it is now. They build the schools and hospitals, roads, so that peole could move around. This kind of dedication influenced me to the point that I became a priest myself and dedicated my own life to the service for the people.
What has been an important turning point in your life?
Yes, there has been important turning points. When I was a child I lost my mother when I was 14 years. It was a really sad moment in my life, because from there I saw how my father could not take care of us children anymore and how lost he was in this poverty. The death of my mother made me then even more dedicated in my studies. So that I could also help my younger siblings and also my father. My mother was very influential for me and the only way I saw was to dedicate myself even more to my studies. I was the first child in my family and I decided that if god helps I will commit myself to my studies so that I’m at least help the father and my younger siblings. Even today I try to support them and they to some extend rely on me. So I try to share with them as well.
What makes you happy?
Nothing makes me feel more happy than the service as working as a priest and being able to live this vocation and help the people. That is really making me happy. I can see how I reach the people and I can feel how it affects them. Every sunday, when we all come together, I have a chance to say many things to affect them and it gives me a lot of happiness and satisfaction.
What are you personally proud of?
I’m mostly proud of my life and how I am. I’m a priest for the people. That I can reach the people more easily than most people and they can reach me. That makes me proud. Not in the sense of being better than someone, but it gives me satisfaction.
What have been the biggest struggles in your life?
I started my life in a village where poverty was at it’s highest point and I grew up like that. Even when I was fotunate that I could go to school, still it was very hard. Even now as a priest in a remote perish like this, we have a lot of problems, because it is so remote. We have no rela means of transport. I have many ideas that I would like to make possible for the people, but we can’t because of the poverty here. It distincts our suroundings. Because of the poverty we can’t fullfill our ideas. Now as you see, we would like to help the Aids victims, because we also have them here and people are struggling with it. And we would like to help them, but our means are very limited. We would like to help them at least in their struggles, but our hands become short because we can’t help them more, because of the situation.
What would you change in your life, if you could change something?
If I would have the chance, I would try to change my past. At least as I said, we lived in poverty and I would like to help my family to be liberated fom that early. And also to help people here to get out of poverty. I would like to help more farmers by making small projects that could give them freedom. This things could help them in small steps to get out of poverty. If I would have the power I would like to help people to be free from poverty.
What do you wish for your own future?
For the future as a priest I wish that my service will end well and that I manage to give people the cahnce to live well. I hope that I can live well in the future and do my people the service they deserve.