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

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!


  1. This is such an answer to prayer and so encouraging for the whole team there in Magozi. It sounds as though they had fun in the process with songs round the 'camp fire' at night. You have done so well, we are proud of you all. Lots of love, Edwin & Margaret

  2. It's encouraging to see an entire family respond to God's calling. I understand it is not easy to move from comfortable home and relocate the whole family to an unfamiliar place with different culture and tradition.Thank you for your blog. God bless you.


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