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

Friday, 12 August 2011

Community and Cooking

Community is a wonderful thing. Open doors, helping one another, really knowing one another, sharing "life"... It is something we have experienced in Magozi in a way unlike we have anywhere else. Life is hard, very hard, but the sense of community is strengthened by it. This is not a community that grumbles and complains, moaning together about all that is hard (believe me, they have reason more than most to complain) but a community that cheers one another with a smile and greeting and even a song, and supports one another. So many times, I want to grumble and moan... there's no water, my back aches, we have "nothing" to eat, it's too hot... When these thoughts again went through my head last week, I realised I had not once heard anyone complain or grumble. Not Tumaini ("Hope") who is 8 months pregnant, sick and had to travel to a clinic on the back of a bicycle. Not the 6 year old boy who was hit by a tractor and had to wait until the following day for a lift to get to the hospital to set his broken leg. Not our neighbours who have at least 7 children and need to somehow find enough money to send them school. Not a single girl who has to walk 2 hours to get firewood, or continually be fetching water (we have not had water from the new water system for these two weeks). It's a good place to be!

Digging foundations for the kiln
We are really pleased with all that is happening with our work in Magozi. We arrived for the first real day of stove-making after the previous week of training, and it has been fantastic to see over these past two weeks how quickly the standard of making has improved! We now have about thirty stoves; the group is doing so well! It has been good to see the group really start to take ownership and responsibility for the project. So our role has been very different, as we start to step back; we have been there for quality control and advice. Tim has been meeting with the group chairman and secretary and keeping things on track. They are preparing to build the kiln next week - the foundations have now been dug for that.

Chai break for the stoves group
I have been doing a lot of cooking on the jiko to promote using it! In the stoves group, I  have cooked rice, another day we had chai and bread, and this past week, I cooked up sweet potato and "spinach" cakes for everyone; all about using locally available food to cook with some more variety and nutrition. I have continued to teach about using the haybox cooker. I was really encouraged when a lady in the group invited us round for a meal and cooked us rice in a haybox she had very creatively made with what she had! She was really excited with it and pleased about the firewood and time over the fire she had saved! I have also had a number of ladies round to the house for lessons in making bread and cornbread. I loved feeling like a TV chef for one bread making lesson. I had not long made the dough for a loaf for us, when a lady came round asking to learn how to make bread. So together, we made the dough and set it to rise... and then I was able to whisk out my loaf, now risen ("the one I prepared earlier")... and show her how to cook it on the jiko! She was able to take the baked loaf home and I later cooked the dough we made together!

Another snack break for the group
Sweet potato and spinach cakes

Fresh cornbread

Baked Potatoes - what a treat!
Now we are back in Iringa, after yet another interesting journey, as our brakes gradually ceased to function as we travelled. We were very thankful to make it back home just when we did as it was getting rather dodgy! It was a hole in a pipe which drained all our brake fluid; thankfully now fixed. We are now preparing for a farewell party for Andrew and Miriam to send them on their way back the UK for six months.


  1. Great news! We love you all and are proud of you!

  2. I have just reread your previous post, where a woman said the you brought 'blessing and opportunity'. What a wonderful encouragement for you and your family. Each time I read your blog, I am fascinated as I read of your life there, and often I am aware that the Lord is using your account to bring blessing and correction into my own life. Thank you Rachel!

  3. Tremendous achievements which God has enabled you all to fulfil in demonstrating his love in such practical ways. You are bringing life and love to Magozi and in the process God is enriching your own lives. It's been a hard journey but you can now start to enjoy the fruit. Amisadai & Louisa have also been tremendous in sharing this journey and coping with the hardships. What has been sown into them at this time only the future will reveal. We too are so proud of you all. Loads of love, Edwin & Margaret

  4. Great news - you are doing a fantastic job there, and we are glad to hear that you are also enjoying it as well!


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