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

Friday, 30 September 2011

An Anniversary in Africa and a Swahili Sketch

Our "stable"
Ten years ago were married in B.C. Canada. Here we are three countries and two children later, celebrating in a lovely banda at a place called Kisolanza, not far out of Iringa. Walking in the African sunset, enjoying a lovely meal out! Fantastic! Tim and I enjoyed a lovely night away while Brad and Neroli Galvin very kindly looked after the girls who had a marvellous time with their three girls. It was the first time we have been by ourselves even for a few hours in well over a year and it was great!

Dinner in the "Mud Ruins Restaurant"

It was strange jumping straight from Magozi one day to Kisolanza the next day. Going from our rice and tomato diet to a three-course meal, from wearing a grubby khanga to cream trousers, from sweating working in the heat, to actually getting goosebumps sitting still in the cool shade!

We had other celebrations in the village before our anniversary celebration. We celebrated the firing of the first stoves! We sang "Asante Mungu," ate a jiko cake and watched a slideshow of all that we have done together as a group so far. It was encouraging!

It was good to remember this time during the other more frustrating times. There are still clay problems and there is frustration in the group with this as well. There is the frustration of waiting for the group to take iniative, to move more quickly making stoves now before the rice planting starts. There was frustration this time in the language and cultural barriers as I tried to work with two ladies to rehearse a sketch and work out how they would teach the students at the school. Misunderstandings and delays, total confusion sometimes. But then, after thinking this sketch idea was a complete disaster and we were about to go back to Iringa, the ladies got it together, they had the group laughing as they cooked and acted. They then started teaching the things we had taught them on healthy and efficient cooking, and then all the group shared the food together and it felt like it hadn't all been a waste of time after all. 
Drama Practice

Enjoying the food together

Monday, 26 September 2011

Fired Up and Ready to Go!

Loading the kiln
It’s been a firing hot five days in Magozi! Firing hot temperatures and a fantastic jiko firing success! We arrived on Wednesday morning to find the house in quite a state with dust everywhere (there are incredible dust winds day and night at the moment) and evidence of little uninvited guests. I found a dead one decomposing by the food shelf and chased another one out the door – then we saw the hugest one dead outside the house. Eeew. So the first task was cleaning while Tim went to work with the stoves group. No school that day. On Thursday, we had to wait until evening to start firing because it is just too hot to think about standing by a burning kiln in the exposed heat of the day! The girls and I did some schoolwork interspersed with checking on the jiko-loading into the kiln. We also took some time at the clay pits to make a replica Roman oil lamp. 

Firewood at the ready and straw covering the kiln.
The firewood was carried to the kiln in preparation, and straw and mud was piled on top of the kiln to seal it. Anticipation was building for everyone! To be honest, Tim and I were rather nervous; there was so much room for error – the bigger kiln was firing more stoves than we ever have done before, the quality of the clay, which has been creating so many cracking problems was questionable. We also had a potential problem with the strong winds in Magozi at the moment. With it gusting through the kiln, there was the dilemma of how to close one end while still being able to keep the fire going on that side. So many “what if’s”
Covering the straw with mud
The kiln in action in the night
(yes, we were worried about this crack!)
Finally at 4:30pm, the fire was lit! We knew someone would have to stay and watch the fire into the night, but it was great to see about seven of the men from the group settle in for the night together! When darkness came at around 7pm and the girls were tucked up in bed, Tim and I joined them gathered beside the kiln eating elephant and singing songs! It was a great atmosphere! We popped back again around 10:30pm and then left them to it and went to bed! They kept the fire roaring until 2am. The heat was intense long into Friday and it was lunchtime before we could take the stoves out. Dying of suspense, we cracked it open and were amazed with the result. Of the 63 stoves we fired, 56 had fired successfully without cracks! And of the cracked seven, possibly only two are unusable! Praise God! We are going to have a little thanksgiving celebration on Tuesday when the group comes back together, with chai and cake and a slideshow of the jiko journey thus far.
Moment of truth!

Also on Friday, I met with a couple of ladies from the group to plan some teaching on using the jikos to cook healthily and efficiently. We are going to teach through a comical cooking demonstration sketch (skit). They are having a good giggle about practicing on the group on Wednesday this week before we do it at the secondary school! Should be fun!
So it’s been fantastic, but exhausting! We have all been dripping with sweat for five days in the effort to keep going in the heat! We have been so grateful to have the water working, it’s horribly warm to drink, but does the job! Even cooking the uji for breakfast on the jiko at 7:30am left me dripping! And by midday, cooking lunch is pretty unbearable! There is so much more I could say… out for lunch with a lovely lady, an encouraging meeting for Tim with some great guys, and a surprising new job for me… but there’s lots to do here now! We have a quick and chaotic turnaround (not helped by having no water here and a car that won’t start and various computer troubles!) We leave at 7am tomorrow to head back for two days. Then we are back to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary on Thursday!
Time for a bit of drawing and colouring!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

A Miracle Wheel

We are very thankful to have Tim and Stout still with us! They arrived back from Magozi yesterday saying that the land cruiser had problems. Well, Andy came to have a look, and we all saw, there certainly were problems! A big problem! The spring had broken (snapped), suspension was gone and the loose wheel had shifted to point in a different direction. Andy was amazed they made it back intact, that they had driven it all that way on the bumpy road and the wheel was still on! Also with the broken parts shifting and rubbing, the brake fluid cable was being pinched and so it was a miracle the brakes didn't go too. It is now being fixed, and we just thank God that they made it back safely. And now pray that it can be fixed quickly; this was supposed to be our best vehicle!

This week seems to have flown by! We were at the ICF camp last weekend which was good. Andy celebrated his birthday there! 

Andy's birthday

And then we seem to have been very busy with homseschooling this week. We have tried to pack in lots of work while we have the opportunity, and then can enjoy a break while Greg, Hugh and Lyn from Tadley are here with us in October. We have been doing lots of fun things with photos and powerpoints as you will see on the girls' blog and also learning about the Romans! I'm learning lots about the Romans too! We wonder how far the Romans really got in Africa ... we hear rumours of buried Roman roads and connections between the Roman soldiers and the Masai.... Will need to do some digging here sometime! Exciting mysteries! 
The wealthy Roman lady and her slave
 We had an EI team day yesterday and it was good to stop and pray for all that is going on, and also enjoy some good food together! We were only interrupted once as the cat brought a snake in the house, which was hustled back outside and Mr Kimbe, the day guard, beat it to death with a stick. The snake that is, not the cat!

The stoves group had a an excellent morning this week with business teaching from Mama Margaret Masawa, who lives here in Iringa. She is coming back in November for a whole week of business training which will be fantastic. We are excited about this coming week as we will be firing the first stoves! We are all going to stay out there for five days this week and the big day is set for Thursday! We hope and pray the majority of the stoves survive and the selling gets off to a good start! We will let you know next week how it all goes!
The puppies are growing! All eight doing well!
Still need homes for three ... anyone want a puppy?

Thursday, 8 September 2011

One Year Later!

Today marks our one year anniversary of living in Tanzania! What a year it has been! We have been reflecting on all the changes and events of this year and are so thankful for all that God has done! We had to mark the occasion so we shut the office early and had the EI team over for tea and cake! We are so thankful to be able to live and work here and are looking forward to our second year... now we know what we are doing (ha!!!)

This week the Ebenezer Jiko group has been collecting firewood in preparation for the firing of the stoves. Tim quite enjoyed the trek by tractor and on foot to find it... although unfortunately finished off the seat of his trousers sitting on the wood!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Roast Beef Dinner and a Headload of Bricks

We have enjoyed a lovely Sunday. We were back at the English-speaking church of internationals in Iringa and it was wonderful to worship with lots of familiar songs in English again! I realised how much I missed it! And then we had a houseful of friends over for roast beef dinner! Very Sunday Lunch! But missing English life a little bit now!

What a headful!
Here are a few photos to add from a few weeks ago! These were taken when the stoves group were building the kiln. It is amazing how many bricks the women can carry on their heads! Even the older ladies stacked them up to carry them to the worksite. They seemed to manage more comfortably than the men!

Notice the man struggling behind!

Starting to build the kiln

Thursday, 1 September 2011

How to fix your phone with a Centenary

After problems again with our phone line, we are back online, thanks to Great Granny's 100th Birthday! Really! We were having trouble getting anyone from the phone company out to fix our line; we couldn't dig anything up and fix it ourselves this time! I went to talk to them again in town on Friday and told them all about Tim's Granny who is celebrating her 100th birthday this week and said that we really wanted to call her. Age is highly honoured and revered here, and 100 is almost unheard of! The story spread around the office, people were amazed! I was taken straight to the manager who completely agreed, of course we absolutely must have a phone working again in order to make this call to England. He said he would send a worker straight out to our house... of course I have heard this before!! After picking up some vegetables in town, I drove home, and to my great astonishment, who was waiting at our gate, but the phoneman! And he knew all about Great Granny's birthday! Problem fixed! Thank you, Granny! And Happy Birthday! 
The special lady
We have just returned from three days in Magozi. This week the stoves group was focussing on business training, which went very well. It was the first time we have gone during our school time; it wasn't terribly easy, trying to get schoolwork done with lots of other things going on, in very hot temperatures and with no desks! But we managed! The girls were able to help with the business training too; we performed a sketch (skit) for the group, demonstrating all that a bad business would be! It was exaggerated and funny but with some good points for everyone to remember. And the group enjoyed the girls acting as jiko-buyers with their lines in Swahili! The previous day, Tim had the group acting out scenarios of buying and selling with play-money, all for the purpose of teaching the importance of good record-keeping and money management. All good fun for all and lots learned! We will be firing the stoves in three weeks and then they will be ready for the group to start selling.

Jiko Dramas

Jiko Inspection
It was good to be back in the village; Tim had some good chats with people; I had some chats under trees with other ladies, mostly revolving around hair and learning Kihehe (the local tribal language). I also had three ladies over who wanted to learn how to use the haybasket - one of the ladies visiting from another village and she wants to learn more! We are hoping to have a community "healthy cooking morning" at some point, which I am looking forward to! Now to go and check on Woof, Livingstone and their six brothers and sisters!
Livingstone with Louisa and Amisadai