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

Monday, 1 August 2011

Off to a Great Start

After months of preparation, this last week really felt like everything came together and we finally took off! It has been great to be living in this village of Magozi, having a good group of people together to learn about fuel-efficient stoves and how this project can help their community. It was wonderful to see so many people excited about it, eager to see the project develop. As one lady said as she came to our house with a gift of spinach leaves, "Before this, I had no work; you have brought blessing and opportunity."

The Ebenezer Group
We started over an hour late on Monday with only 8 people of the thirty we were expecting, so a little apprehensive about how this thing was going to fly! But people soon trickled in and things picked up quickly. By the end of the week we had a good group of 25 regulars, which is ideal. Each day began in the church building for a time of teaching and discussion. Tim is doing well with his Swahili, and understands a lot more than I do! But I managed to teach my sessions in Swahili (although Q&A is another matter!). I taught a very popular session on haybox cooking, which has spread like wildfire around the village, and several mamas have already asked me to teach it in the village for everyone, although members from the group are already doing just that! The girls helped with some fun actions for teaching the food groups and the importance of a balanced nutritious diet. And I finished with teaching Healthy Cooking (nutritious food, cleanliness, and decreasing smoke) and Efficient Cooking (managing the fire efficiently, heating water with black buckets, using lids etc), in hope that as this group makes and markets the stoves, they will be able to teach others about how to use them in a way that will benefit local health as well as further reducing the use of firewood.

Teaching Healthy and Efficient Cooking
Tim did the bulk of the teaching. Over the week he covered the story of the whole Bible, and we had pictures up around the building depicting it. He taught on the stoves itself, its benefits and construction. He led discussions on managing the business, teamwork and how to succeed in the project. The rest of the time we were outside and the group was divided into teams of three, making stoves. They learnt quickly and have produced ten quality stoves already. We have had to work on problems such as cracking clay (we lost one to major cracks!) but over all it has been successful. They have pulled together as a team, working on getting pits dug and clay collected. They have decided on a group name for the stoves, "The Ebenezer Project" (which means "God has helped us") and are thinking through issues of business independently of us which is great.

Stoves training in progress

Going to get the clay!
The water situation was not good this week; the supply is not enough and our water point has not had water for 3-4 days. We were able to drive to fill buckets from another place, but it is very difficult for people there. I had quite a number of people, especially children on their way to school, coming to ask for some water to drink. It seems horrible, but we have to say no. It is so hard, but we cannot supply everyone from our own limited supply. It was also difficult for the stoves group, as we need to get water each day for clay work.

So it has been a good, although pretty busy and intense week! We are so glad to be doing this, it is humbling to see how uncomplaining people are in difficult circumstances. We have seen people helping one another, supporting one another and celebrating a marriage together in such a simple but joyful way. And we have seen Jesus in people. As I was washing the dishes outside one afternoon, a lady came and sat down on the dirt beside me, and just started scrubbing my blackened pots with the grit and dirt. Just like Jesus, coming down to us, getting dirty to take away our dirt. For no deserved reason!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this post! I saw your blog on Laura's facebook. I don't think I knew much about this efficient cooking project when I met you guys. I wonder if it might be helpful for the orphanage? I'd love to hear more about it!


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