The Mongers in Tanzania!

We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International and local churches on physical and spiritual development. Find out what's cookin' ... particularly on the fuel-efficient clay stoves Tim works on and Rachel cooks on!

Monday, 27 April 2015

Changing Gears

So now we are in the UK! We arrived on Friday and as well as catching up with Tim's mum and dad (who is thankfully doing remarkably well!) and celebrating Louisa's 9th birthday, we ventured into town to sort out things like car insurance and phones and do a quick school uniform and shoe hunt. Shoes proved a lot easier to buy here in England than in Tanzania!

Not our airport trolley! A sculpture in Toronto Airport.
It is always rather hard changing gears and after the rapid pace of the past few weeks, in which we have preached, presented various talks on the work in Tanzania for different occasions, done two school assemblies, visited with so many kind supporters in rather quick succession, and changed time zones twice... I think I am probably still bringing up the clutch!

It is always a strange thing coming back. Whether in Canada, UK or Tanzania, we are home but we are not home! So much is familiar, yet everything is so different. While enjoying the food we've missed and the luxuries of constant electricity and hot baths, we are hit with the material world of shops and activities which is rather overwhelming and at the same time tempting, while also impossible! Suddenly the time matters and we need to remember sweaters not water bottles. Things feel strangely out of context and where we are really does seem such a world away from where we were!

But it is always wonderful to see family and friends again! To feel like you never even left and are not forgotten! To receive the love and kind welcome from so many! To catch up with people's lives...  the unfortunate thing about writing the blog is that I will talk to someone who knows all about our life (from the blog) but I know nothing about their past 2-3 years.

So we are looking forward to catching up on different things in the UK over the next few months. With Tim's dad going through chemo and radiotherapy every weekday at the moment, we may not get to as many personal visits as we would like to, but we really hope that we will meet with as many friends and supporters as possible at some of the following events! Please do get in touch with us!

Welcome to ...

May 17th - Tadley Community Church
Followed by Potluck Lunch so plan to stay and eat and chat!

June 7th - North Church Basingstoke, Café Church

June 20th - Evening with the Mongers (The Sarum Hill Centre, Basingstoke)
5pm onwards (finishing early to make it easier for those out-of-town!)

July 11th - Emmanuel International Summer Event (11am Trinity Church, Harrow)

July 12th - Trinity Church Harrow

July 19th - Farewell Tadley Community Church

And now a quick look back to Ontario this past week ...

We had a great time in the Toronto area, visiting the Emmanuel International Canada office. We stayed with wonderful hosts, Richard and Pam McGowan in Stouffville. We were treated by their son and lovely family to an amazing visit to Niagara Falls - a first for us all. It was absolutely spectacular in the sunshine with a very strong, cold wind!

Driving through Toronto

With Gary, Michelle, Carys, Breckyn and Tavish

We were able to meet the wonderful EI team there and update them on the work we are doing in Mwanza; we were warmly welcomed by Stouffville Christian School where the girls did an assembly, and we were able to speak at an evening event organised by the EIC office for the Board and friends and supporters.
Girls assembly at SCS

Evening talk at EIC
We were so thrilled to meet up with Laura (our friend from Iringa, now living in Ontario) and the girls were so excited to have a real snow experience with her!

Only from Tanzania ... in the snow in flip flops!
We loved this sign ... but couldn't see how the road was broken!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Next Stop: Stouffville

It has been so great to spend time with family and catch up with friends here in the Vancouver area! It was especially good to see so many at the Open House last week. We are so grateful for the support and love we receive here! Thank you to all who came!

We have enjoying being with The King's Community Church and also back for an assembly at The King's School. I attended the school from grade 4-12 and was later a teacher there for two years and we have since had two teams visit us in Tanzania from the school so there is a lot of history there! As well as visiting friends and old haunts we have made a dent in our shopping list, things like shoes and underwear were rather necessary and then a few more interesting things to take back like Ranch dressing mix!

Back with our Canada Teams

A great surprise at the Open House when EIUK chairman, David Varcoe from London walked in!

A visit to The King's School for an assembly about bees
... with Louisa as our mascot!

With Peter and Don, at Under the Same Sun, showing them the Upendo wa Mama bead necklaces
We enjoyed another day out with my parents in Vancouver, exploring by bus, skytrain and seabus, soaking up the sights of the mountains and city!

On the seabus

Lonsdale Quay
Next week we are leaving Beautiful British Columbia and heading to the Toronto area. We are looking forward to spending time with the folks at Emmanuel International Canada and also visiting Stouffville Christian School.

On Wednesday evening (April 22nd) at 6:30pm, EIC are hosting a dinner which will be followed by us sharing about our work and then a time to stay and chat afterwards. We welcome any who are able to join us!

Emmanuel International Canada
3967 Stouffville Rd (on south side of Stouffville Rd, just East of Kennedy Rd)


Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Mongers in Langley

We are all safe and healthy together in Canada! And it is such a happy relief!

There were times it all looked rather doubtful! For the two days before we flew, the girls and I were terribly sick, making packing up difficult and the thought of travelling horrendous! But thankfully although on empty stomachs and feeling a little wobbly, we were able to go! And thankfully we got stronger and better as we went.

The happy reunion looked doubtful once again as we sat in a car at a standstill in Dar es Salam traffic watching the time pass our check-in time and then our boarding time. We ran through the airport, even barefoot and bag-less from the X-ray machine, to be told the gate was closed and we had missed our flight to Nairobi. I pleaded ... we had far too many connections to contemplate the thought of missing this flight ... and the woman on duty took pity. We put our shoes quickly back on, grabbed our bags and ran straight onto the plane and took off five minutes after sitting down!

And so after 50 hours of travel, 5 planes and 6 airports later, we landed minus one bag, but with a husband/daddy in Vancouver. Happy relief!

After the rather eventful month we have had, we are taking some time now just to rest and have time together as a family with my parents and my sister and her family! And we are enjoying the different foods (a full cooked breakfast, apples and cheesecake) and the luxuries of water and electricity (hot baths, lights in the evening and an amazing machine that actually washes the dishes!) And after our mid-30 temperatures in Mwanza, we are finding it just a little chilly!

But coming up ... we have a great opportunity to meet with our friends and supporters in the area! And we are really looking forward to this time to see many of you!

Monger Open House
What's Cookin' in Tanzania?
Friday, April 10th at 7pm
The Ark, The King's Centre
21783 76B Ave
Langley, B.C.
For directions see the website
We really appreciate all the support and encouragement we have received and are looking forward to this opportunity to thank many of you in person and to share with you more about what we are doing in Tanzania. We want to welcome all our friends in the area and anyone who would just like to find out more about the work in Tanzania. We will have time to mingle and chat, a time of sharing about the work we are doing there and time for questions and feedback from you!
Karibuni Sana! (You are very welcome!)

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Sprouting Cheerful Wonders

We now have just over a week to go! This really has been the longest ever month! We seem to have had rather a lot of bad news, but there are some good things sprouting in the midst of it all. Our seeds are starting to come up which is always a cheerful wonder.

Here are some photos of the canavalia jackbeans and sorgham seeds sprouting in their blanket of mulch. The lablab is continuing to do very well as are the pigeon peas. All good crops with their own wonderful purpose!


Recently, it has been a blur of daily power cuts, computer problems, sickness for the girls, car problems, seriously disgusting termite problems and various project delays. Our guard Thaddeus is travelling next week to search for his sons who are still missing, our other guard is going this weekend to say goodbye to his mum who is dying; our house-help, Lucy has had a three day seminar this week after sickness last week.

But I did finally got a toilet seat that fits ... but I need to figure out how. As I puzzled over it, Louisa said, "we don't need a proper man, mummy. We can do it!" Only I am not so sure!

I went back to the post office with the required money and passport photos that they last week asked me to bring. I went from desk to desk, talking to three different people, before finally being told that there were no boxes available. All were taken. Right.

And in the middle of it all, there was the timely, cheery, wonderful gift of a delicious meal dropped off for us by a kind friend. And there was the cheerful help of a "proper man" who came over to get our car sorted out!
This beautiful new hive arrived this week!
It will have to wait until we come back now to get put in place and occupied!
We've had a music recital, which was lovely - only in Tanzania would all the kids at the recital sit with dirty, bare feet hooked around a piano bench and only in Tanzania would the power go out on the fourth piece (thankfully there was a generator!) We've had endless renditions of songs and dances preparing for the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory school production next week. We've had football club, youth club, mamas groups ... And today I went to the tree nursery and discovered a huge tree had fallen in the strong winds. Yes, right on the nursery enclosure! So with Joseph and Bahati Daudi, we spent the morning repairing the fence, sorting the tree seedlings and preparing compost.

But again, in repairing the ruins, we saw again the small good things shooting up. Seedlings with potential to bear so much fruit. The wonder of our Creator.

Preparing compost

The tree nursery rebuilt
Meanwhile these crazy girls have been a great help mucking in and being patient in the busy-ness!

Love 'em!

And they went out on Mother's Day to tidy up my seriously neglected garden for me!

It's not all about chocolate and flowers! Love 'em again!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

To the Boatyard and the Hospital

One week down and two and half to go! We are missing Tim very much ... but I have to say that I appreciate all he does even more after this week! Doing some of Tim's side of the work has given me a far greater appreciation of him and what he does! And this current multiplication of labour has reinforced my appreciation of the division of labour! 

Tim and his Dad and the rest of the family are especially in our thoughts and prayers today as we await news of how the surgery went to removed the brain tumour.

It has admittedly been rather a struggle this week. Trying to get everything done has been an uphill battle.  Realising on Tanzanian time I was never going to get through everything, I scheduled simultaneous appointments in confidence that one or more would be cancelled or delayed. In my time-conscious and orderly mind, this was very risky. But it worked! I was supposed to be meeting two people at 11am and I was shopping in town at the time. Even getting stopped by the police twice, I still got the shopping done (except for the toilet seat ... which is again, another rather unfortunate, on-going story), made both appointments (which were predictably late) and was back in time for school pick-up!

Of all the things I have been doing (which includes a lot of chasing compost, 4 days worth of chasing purple T-shirts, going to get a new post box, but being told to come back later when the lady with the form has come back from visiting her friend in hospital)  probably one of the most interesting was a trip to the boatyard.

To the Boatyard

The girls and I went with Dr Makori to look at some fibreglass boats which have potential to be ambulance boats. It would be a huge asset to the health work on the islands on the Lake, helping the many people in remote areas without easy access to medical help. It is a very big dream, but such a good one! It was fascinating to see the boats in progress and it stimulated some architectural thinking, as I designed in my head a floating mobile clinic, this emergency service boat with a solar-charged drugs cupboard! I, along with Dr Makori, do hope this dream will come true!
Checking out the boats with Dr Makori and Dixon
A 12m hull

A very big boat!

A small boat!
Amisadai checks out the workroom

Hospital Visit

Saturday was an interesting and good day. Mamas group was planned for the morning. But on Friday evening, I heard that Mama Penina had given birth that afternoon and with another mama away, the group was postponed. I made plans to visit Penina in hospital. But then as we were enjoying a bonus lie-in and leisurely breakfast on Saturday, I had a call from Mama Faith at the school wondering where I and others were! The girls and I ran out the door and drove down to meet her and started making bead necklaces. Mama Wilson also turned up along with little Dora.
Making necklaces with Dora
At the end of the morning, we all went to the hospital together. I was so thankful they were with me as I'm sure on my own I would never have found Penina in the confusing scrum of people and babies! Delighted to see us all, she suggested as we had a car, we all go to her house ... and so with the three girls, three mamas, a new heavily wrapped baby, thermos' of uji (porridge), washing bowls and bags, our entourage made its way out to the car. Another lady, I have no idea who she was, came with us! We squeezed in amongst all the freshly varnished beads which were hanging to dry from every available place in the ceiling of the car.

You may remember from a previous blog, I have been to Penina's house before! It is up a bad and bumpy road, one which almost defeated me when I got stuck on it. I drove as far I could before getting to the very dodgy bit. Then we all, baby, bowls, bags and all, traipsed up the mountainside. I most certainly would never have dreamt of such a hike the day after giving birth! Penina took it slowly, it must have been torture! But then, she does this every day. It was a steep and rocky walk! Amisadai has written more about our visit on their blog.


At the house, having a cuddle with this precious baby, we gave thanks. A beautiful baby girl! A healthy baby and safe delivery is never taken for granted here. The lives of children of these mamas are not taken for granted. (You may have seen there has been yet another attack this week. A 6-year old child's hand was chopped off and the mama injured as she tried to protect her son).

So many things are not taken for granted here and it is so good to be learning to do the same.