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

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Hot off the Press ....

Not really hot off the press at all, but we did just receive a section of the Sunday Telegragh and read the big news .... William and Kate are engaged!!! The paper was dated November 21st and yes, it took this long to get here. Also in the parcel was a birthday present for Amisadai (for Dec. 30th) so she was more than delighted to have another birthday! Love surprises!

As I write, Tim and his parents are in Dar es Salaam. Tim will be taking his mum and dad to the airport first thing tomorrow morning and then catching the bus home. It has been wonderful having another "grandparent" visit! We have had a great time catching up on time together and also on news from home. Thank you so much to those of you who sent cards and treats with them! It is so lovely to feel we are not forgotten! Mum and Dad treated us to two nights in Ruaha National Park which was fantastic! Check out the girls' blog to get the list of animals we saw! We were very pleased to find lions and thrilled with the hungry hippos right outside our banda in the night! The Lodge itself was amazing. We didn't actually need to go driving about, as the animals all came to us, sitting comfortably on the verandah!
Watching it all happen from the verandah

She was a little further away from the Lodge!

Now we are preparing for our move to Magozi next Saturday. Tim is planning the training days, I am working on my bit on nutrition and hygiene. We are compiling lists and accumulating piles of things to take with us. Milk powder, flour, oil, beans, suncream, deet ....

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Eroded gorges and clutches

Today we explored an eroded valley, a once-upon-a-time lake bed, filled with ancient bones, skeletons and stone-age tools. We walked down through a gorge, the hot sun beating down on the dry, dusty ground and then found ourselves in the shelter of huge, natural columns towering over us. Walking low in the echoing stillness of the rocks and cliffs, we were in the coolness of their shade. The girls ran excitedly looking for "caves" in which to hide, and we saw a fresh meaning to being "in the cleft of the rock"! Each eroded column was as spectacular as the last, and we wondered which would be the next to fall.

We went exporing with Tim's parents and also Laura and her two friends visiting from Canada. The three Canadians were (rather unfortunately for them) loaded in the back of the land cruiser and had more than their share of bumped heads on the bumpy road. After exploring the gorge, things went rather downhill on the way home as the clutch bit the dust ... yet another problem to add to our car saga of starting problems, electrical faults, doors flying open, doors not closing.....! We were stuck 15km from Iringa on the side of the road unable to get in any gear to get home. We texted some SOS's to kind friends and Brad came to the rescue and towed us all the way home with his Nissan Patrol! Thanks, Brad!

Tomorrow we are off to Ruaha National Park (thanks to Andy and Angela who are lending us their Nissan Patrol .. more kind friends!) Amisadai is hoping we find a lion and Louisa is hoping we certainly don't! We are pretty sure we will, but are just convincing Louisa it won't eat us!

But before we go, we have to know, will the Canucks win??? Go Vancouver Canucks Go!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

House Hunting in Tanzania

The new house

Yes, we've been house-hunting in Tanzania! No real estate agent, no glossy brochures, no driving around subdivisions ... and we didn't have to ask about utilities! Actually there was only ever one house to look at, and it's perfect! A brick three bed-detatched! Really! We have been looking for a house to live in for our time in Magozi, and this house really fits the bill. It is beside the house belonging to the lovely people who have been hosting us on our visits to Magozi; the house belongs to his uncle and we will be renting from him. It is very close to the church building and to where the potters will be working. It has three rooms which will comfortably fit Tim and me, the girls and also Stout, Tim's assistant. We just need to put in some windows and I think we will also get a concrete floor put in throughout, although the girls were doing a great job sweeping the dirt floor today! The cooking is all done outside, so no need for a kitchen. We will need to dig a pit outside as the communal "loo" isn't quite adequate and we will also erect a more private kind of shelter for washing ourselves in! All in all, the house is far more spacious than we had expected and the location couldn't be better!

The water pump, close to our house but sporadic with its supply!

We were all very excited to see the house today. We took Tim’s parents to the Magozi Church; Tim's Dad was preaching with Stout translating and we also had Andrew, who was very kindly negotiating the house deal for us while we were there! And to our surprise, a group of us all ate lunch together in the house after the service! We are looking forward to moving in, hopefully in three weeks time! It will be a challenging time, we are sure, but we hope it will also be incredibly rewarding!

The view from the window - yes, even a football goalpost outside!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Mwanza and Back

We are back home in Iringa after a great visit to Mwanza, on Lake Victoria. We took the long bus ride to Dar-es-Salaam, excited to be meeting Tim's parents at the airport there. We managed to get all six of us, their six pieces of luggage and our two pieces to the place we were staying! We had some interesting treks across Dar - in small taxis all squashed in together - rather hot! And when we got to a bad bit of road, and were grounding on the holes and bumps, we all hopped out and then piled back in when the car had made it across the bumps! We had a great time with Huruma and the family, and Tim and his Dad preached in the different services at Victory Christian Centre on the Sunday. The six of us took a flight to Mwanza after our weekend in Dar. I shocked everyone at the airport as I attempted to go through hand luggage security with a Swiss army knife, box of matches and pair of scissors! Oops! Never done that before!

Mama Minja washing the children's hands
We had a wonderful week in Mwanza, staying at the home of Mama Minja, an amazing lady whose faith and perseverance and also determination to help children in need is inspirational.We saw the work she has done in setting up a school for orphans, visited land she has recently bought with hopes to expand the school, and also had a morning at the school with all the children. It is incredible how much this lady has done for these kids, by herself, with no means to begin to do anything. She just started earning money selling tea, putting money aside bit by bit, and now she has a schoolroom and is also providing food and clothes for 25 children. It is lovely to see how much these children so evidently love her. Her project is huge, far bigger than it seems she could manage, but she knows this is what she must do, she trusts God and without waiting for money or help, she just patiently gets started and works incredibly hard. And lives are changed because of it.

We had two days visiting a village called Kitongo, where we did some open air meetings, sharing the love of Jesus. Amisadai helped us with some mime dramas, Tim and his Dad were preaching, I did some singing and stories with children, and there was lots of singing and dancing!

Tim and his Dad did a Pastors Conference, which was a great success, teaching over a hundred pastors from all over the Mwanza region. This was the second time they have done it, and won't be the last! I managed my first Bible teaching in Swahili as we met with a group of women one evening. This group (called Christ's Daughters) has been set up by Evelyn, Pastor Zakayo's wife, to give women in difficult and hard situations (particularly widows and prostitutes) love and help. At the end of our time in Mwanza, the two churches we had been working with gave us an amazing farewell. A delicious meal at the beach at sunset and we were all given beautiful sandals! Their care for us, their hospitality and love was so special!