We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Candles in Potatoes and Jiggers in Feet

We are thinking of all those of you in cold and snowy England at the moment! We have been checking the snow news for Heathrow flights for our EI friends Andy and Angela who are trying to get home for Christmas. They are unfortunately currently stuck in Dar es Salaam with no internet access. (We lost our internet too, and now as I finally post this blog, they have secured seats on a flight tomorrow) I am sure many of you have your own snow problems and stories!

Here, (with temperatures which have gone up in the 30's) we are enjoying a break from homeschool and language school. But we have also temporarily lost our househelper, Lucy, who has taken a Christmas break to visit family in Arusha. And so the time spent in school has more than been filled with all that she normally does for us! I miss her terribly! This morning my attempt at making the bread was a disaster! I tried to follow Lucy's recipe, pinned on our noticeboard, thinking it would be more reliable than my Western recipes, taking account of the flour here and the altitude etc etc... But her recipe was as follows and somewhere along the line, I went wrong!

Mikate 2 - 4
unga was ngamo
vitcombe 3 - 6
hamira 3 - 6
chumbi 1 kijiko kidogo 2
mafuta ----

Then I was pasteurizing two batches of milk, boiling water for washing the dishes, then sweeping the dusty house, then on my hand and knees with a towel and a bucket ... and before I knew it the morning was over and I hadn't even started doing the things I was planning to do this morning! So we ate the mishappen rock that vaguely resembled bread! 

On Friday, we had a great EI party for all our househelp and guards and all their families. We had over fifty people with all the children! We enjoyed a feast of rice pilau, meat, coconut peas, chapattis, bananas ... It was a great opportunity to thank all our workers for all they do for us as well as meet all their families. Mama Kiri (a lovely lady who lives nearby)with her daughter, spent the day preparing and cooking the meal with a little help from the EI ladies!

Mama Kiri had come to my rescue a few days earlier ....  I got my first jigger in the foot! I thought it was a splinter for the first day or two and when I finally looked at it properly when my foot was really hurting, with a big purple, swollen patch, I realised it wasn't. The next day, I sat down to sort it out and realized it probably was a jigger. So I tried to dig it out with a needle. If you are reading this Jay or Laurena, I was thinking of you, first wishing you were here, then very glad you weren't able to see the terrible mess I made of the whole operation! I ended up bursting the egg sac, trying to squeeze the thing out, so little eggs were spread out along with puss and by now I was clammy and nauseous (I'm not very good with this sort of thing!!) so I dabbed on a whole load of antisepetic and went to bed! The next day, I went to Mama Kiri, and she and her daughter came to my rescue. They pulled out numerous little eggs one by one! And then finally the culprit. So now I just have a small crater in my foot where she and her sac of eggs were! Oh joy! Next time I will go straight to Mama Kiri and get the whole thing out in one piece  ... and get a lesson in jigger removal! Although I'm not sure any in this family particularly want me to practice on them!

Last Tuesday we had the Christmas Carol Service with the English-speaking church. For the small nativity, Amisadai was a shepherd and Louisa an angel, complete with wings made of a mosquito net and a halo with tinsel from South Africa! Amisadai enjoyed playing her violin for the carols along with another violin, a cello, flute and myself on the piano. And we even had a Christingle, but because there are no oranges here at the moment, the candles were all stuck in potatoes! But as it was pointed out, the orange is supposed to represent the world, and really, with all the valleys and mountains, a lumpy potato is probably more fitting! 

Thank you so much to everyone who has sent us Christmas cards! It means such a lot to get news from you. And we have enjoyed some packages too! Thank you for the chocolate snowballs which arrived today, Dixons - I wish you could have seen the girls faces! Thanks so much!


  1. The whole of cyberspace is relieved that you were unable to post a photo of the jigger operation. The excitement is palpable in a blog that has now entered the Guinness Book of Records for the highest ratio of exclamation marks:periods!!!**!!

  2. i didn't know we even had jiggers in tanzania.

    i've only been reading your blog for a couple of days now, but i do enjoy it. and the girls' as well. welcome to t-zed. and God's richest blessings on your work here.

  3. Cameron and Cherry21 December 2010 at 22:56

    Hey I'm glad I've not experienced 'jiggers'! Hope you're all well - it's good to read what you've been up to. Glad to hear Amisadai is playing violin. I'm wondering if there's some way we might meet up if we manage to make it over to Mwanza and Dar next autumn.

    Cameron and Cherry

  4. Linda Fitzmaurice22 December 2010 at 02:50

    I won't comment on the jiggers... But the bread - I have to laugh. It's not wonder you couldn't follow the recipe. I don't know a word of kiSwahili, but I can tell that is an approximate recipe... 2 or 3 of this, 3 or 6 of that - it sounds like my mother's recipes. Unless you've actually watched her make it hundreds of times, you won't know what the recipe refers to! Glad the result was edible, though! Did you bake them in a fuel efficient stove??


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