DAH 2020: Meet Mtipe Koggani
by Mtipe Koggani, Deaconess Anne House Intern
My name is Mtipe Dickson Koggani, I am originally from Tanzania, which is one of the East African countries. I have written a book entitled, “Discover Your Innate Ability,” which was published in Kiswahili language in 2018. I came to the United States in August of 2018 and since then I have been worshipping at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Webster Groves. After enrolling in Eden Theological Seminary’s Master of Theological Studies program, I had the privilege of serving my fellow seminarians and the school as Co-President of the Student Body Cabinet 2019/2020. Receiving Alumni status from Eden Theological Seminary is a true blessing. Currently, I am in the process of ordination in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. Working with fellow members of Deaconess Anne House and Christ Church Cathedral is a joy that I love to share.
Serving in the Church
I was born and raised in a Christian family, both of my parents were Anglican, they raised us in a Christian and a prayerful life. When I was nine years and some months old (I most of time say 10 years old), I started serving in the Church. Since then I have been serving different leadership position in different denominational and non-denominational ministries.
My life in the United States as a young, Episcopalian, and black African
As an international student from Africa, almost everything was new to me. The food was different, the language was different, the way of living was different, and the way of teaching was also very different. Everything was Greek to me! In other words, I was entirely in a new world.
People around me were using American English, while Tanzania (like other commonwealth countries) was using British English. Also, back in Tanzania students are assigned readings after class/lecture but here it was vice-versa. I remember a week before the first day of class, one of professors assigned us some readings. I did not know that we were supposed to read them before class because that is not how we do in Tanzania. Therefore, I went to class without reading them. I so was shocked when the professor asked us, “What did you learn from the readings I gave you last week?” I was like, “OMG! Were we supposed to read them before this class?” I had to learn how to dance to the tune.
I remember during the orientation week I took unsweet cold tea, believing that it was Coke. This is because in my country we never have a cold tea, I could not finish drinking it. Again, I was surprised to see people around the table eating uncooked vegetables, but later I realized that it was salad.
Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Webster Groves has been supporting me since the day I arrived at Eden. In one way or another I have also been supported by other friends of different races and backgrounds. To me this has been an interpretation of God’s love - the love that does not look at the differences we may have (I am completely aware that other international students entering seminary before and after me were experiencing the same things). This was a wonder and surprise that I welcomed and piqued my interest to discover more. I am so happy to be part of the Episcopal Church. I am also happy for this opportunity to work with Deaconess Anne House for the next one year. I am so excited for what I learn and do at my placement site.