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

Monday, 21 February 2011

A Camping Weekend and a Day in Magozi

We have just returned from a fun weekend, camping with the EI Team. We went with Andrew, Miriam, Ben (3) and Sam (2) and Andy and Angela to a lovely spot about 1.5 hours away. It was great to have time to enjoy being together, to talk and pray about all that we and the churches here are doing. Now, before you imagine us getting dusty and hot in the African sun, I must tell you that it was rather like camping in Scotland. Yes, it was wet and rather chilly! The rain began as we enjoyed a delicious dinner in the restaurant on the first evening. We arrived back at the tents to the sound of Ben’s crying –the tent flap had been open and with his bed underneath, he was soaking wet L We had realised that we could not all sleep in our tent if it were wet, as only the small sleeping compartment was waterproof. And arriving back we found, much as we predicted, the front part awash with rain. Fortunately, we had moved most things (including the girls) into the sleeping compartment. So I spent the first night in the Nissan Patrol! The next night I was cosily tucked up in a “banda” with Andy and Angela!

On Saturday we had a walk in the rain and squelched in mud, so it was all a very familiar camping experience! But we did all have a wonderful time together! The site was great, we had a covered banda to cook and sit in. The girls were so happy to have their bikes there and Louisa made excellent progress and is now able to ride on two wheels by herself!

A wet walk

Our group banda

Last Monday the four of us went with Andrew to Magozi, the village where we are thinking about starting the stoves project. We were so encouraged and excited at the prospects there. We met Mr. Duma, a government official who already has a keen interest in developing this project in the area. He came with us and introduced us to a village leader and to several people who are interested in the stoves. He and some men from the village walked us out to find some local clay which we dug up to bring back for some trial stoves. Walking past the rice fields we saw lots of people at work; the area was full of many “shambas” (areas cultivated for crops). The land was vast, much flatter down in the Rift Valley compared to where we are up in Iringa. And much hotter too! Back in the village, we (with rather an accumulating entourage) walked through the small travelling market which passes through the village once (maybe twice) a month. Several times throughout the day (we also visited two nearby villages) Mr. Duma would get our demo stove out beside the vehicle and in a very short time, we would be surrounded by curious crowds eager to see what had come to the village!

We are looking forward to visiting again soon. We will visit the church on a Sunday morning. It will be good to talk with the pastor to see how best we can help him and his church to help this village. It has been a few years now since the church and EI first talked about working together on a stoves project and so they have long been waiting for someone to do it. Well, finally, here we are! We are also looking forward to meeting the local potter (yes, it is very good news to find a potter in situ.) It is so exciting to see the beginnings of the work on this project underway! This week we fire the stoves (the girls enjoyed slapping mud on the kiln last week.) We were supposed to fire today, but have been delayed because the firewood is not yet chopped. We could have further delays, (indeed progress will be entirely halted) if Tim cannot light the fire (no joke – this is not as easy as he thought!) And also upcoming now is the job of hiring someone to help on the project.

Digging up Magozi clay

Sadly, I must finish now with some rather sad news. Three baby bunnies died this last night/morning, leaving just one left of the five we started with. We found them very poorly, apparently due to the “cold” weather we had. So the girls are rather upset, but we are hoping that Sude will produce some more bunnies soon!


  1. I am endlessly fascinated by your accounts of life in Tanzania. It is such a great distance from your first year in my class at King's School, in the small room above the kitchen! It is amazing to think that God already knew then what plans He had for you, involving stepping out in faith for the life adventures in store! You write so well, creating pictures that come to mind often, so you are regularly in my thoughts and prayers, Rachel. I had a lovely chat with your Mom at Jason VanL's reception. What fun it will be to visit with your mom and dad in April. May God continue to richly bless you and your family in your work in Tanzania.

  2. Great tips!That is great camping gear! I’d love to take a family camping trip with my grandsons!can’t wait to hear about your adventures!


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