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

Saturday, 29 October 2011

A New EI Member and other things!

Another week has passed already! The most exciting news of the week was to hear that Andrew and Miriam Wingfield had a baby girl, named Bethany on Monday night! They are all doing well, and we are looking forward to meeting Bethany when they all get back to Tanzania in February!

Ben and Sam meet Bethany
For us here, after all the excitement of having our three visitors, this week has seemed rather more uneventful and uninteresting! The girls and I have been busy with school again, which has been a lot of time and work for me getting organized for new topics and remembering what we were supposed to be doing.  We are very grateful for the books and things that arrived with the team.
"Shadows" in Art 

Tim and Stout were in Magozi for two very hot days this week. They got there and back without any problems which is always something to be thankful for! Our car has several times this week decided not to run and also managed to get two punctures. Thanks to Andy jiggling the wires, it seems ok at the moment! On the road to Magozi, Tim and Stout did encounter an amusing incident … they stopped to let a herd of cows cross the road, and to their surprise, one cow ploughed right into the car! They were laughing at the crazy thing, when the herdsman appeared with apologies, saying that the poor cow was blind! This week marks the end of Stout’s six-month contract with us, and while in Magozi, he was able to say goodbye to the group, and they were able to express their thanks to him for all he has done during his time working there. It has been great having Stout working with us these past months, he has done so much helping with to make the initial stoves, translation work, and living and working with us in Magozi. We had a farewell for him in the office yesterday; we gave him a jiko and shared tea and cake in appreciation for his work with us.
While in Magozi it was encouraging to see the stoves group coming for the Bible study with their new Bibles; while reading aloud, it was clear that one woman in particular was really struggling with her eyesight. With the donated money left over from the Bibles, we are going to be able to bring her back to Iringa next week to get some glasses. They were also able to meet baby Ilumbo (Kigogo for “thanks”) for the first time. He is the first child of one of the guys that meets each week with Tim.
Baby Ilumbo
We continue to be frustrated with the water situation. Most days now we are without running water, although we are grateful that it usually comes on at night, so we can fill buckets and flush the toilet! But we have had several days and nights without water and been wary about filling another bucket from the bottom of our rainwater tank. We are grateful to have the water we do get, as others outside the centre of town are faring far worse and walking with buckets to get it. There are big problems with the Iringa water works; we have heard that the water pressure has been increased but the system can’t cope with this. We really hope they can fix all the problems that keep springing up! We will be glad to have showers and washing machines running again and feel free to use the water for the less-critical cleaning - it’s all prioritized! And we’ll be glad for the rains which could come in the next month or so!

Friday, 21 October 2011

“Waste Not Want Not” A Lesson from Maisy

What’s been cookin’ in Tanzania this week? PORK! Poor, lovely, little Maisy to be precise. What an experience! Another first for the Mongers in Tanzania! Be warned now though, if you are squeamish or vegetarian you may want to skim this update!
We discovered that Greg Whittick (our Tadley church pastor who has been visiting us for two weeks) worked as a butcher many years ago! So we just had to make the most of his time with us and put him to this rather unexpected task! And so the day before he (and Hugh and Lyn) left Iringa, the deed was done! We hired a couple of guys to come and do the worst bit, which rather unfortunately happened at the same time as a visit from Miriam from Compassion Iringa. So while chatting about compassionate things like child sponsorship, there arose a terrible squealing and some rather distraught wailing from two little girls! But the trauma subsided, and there was much to do and much to learn! Now I am not sure that this blog is to be “how-to” guide on pig butchery, but it was such an experience I have to share some of it!
Out with the liver

No comment!
We had a fire going and a huge pot of boiling water ready with which to scald and scrape off the hair. I was surprised how easy this was and how beautifully smooth and white the skin appeared underneath. Then we hung the body from the two back legs in a tree to drain the blood. We had a little trouble with bad string which caused her to suddenly drop, but with many hands, she was easily caught and tied back up! Greg took over here, for his first time eviscerating a pig (taking out the innards). We had done some research online, studied Andy Sharpe’s book on Self-Sufficiency by John Seymour and I of course had reread "Little House in the Big Woods" which is my classic textbook on all things pioneering (chapter 1 is brilliant for everything from making the smokehouse to butchering to making a ball with the bladder). Greg expertly managed to tie off the bung gut – the girls were fascinated by the poo! And then to cut out the insides; we were nervous here about slicing too deep down the belly and piercing the intestines (not a good thing to do!) but Greg’s careful hand slit neatly down and all the various bits and pieces really pretty much slid right out.  I was eagerly looking for the bladder for the ball and we had a brief visual lesson on hearts and lungs and stomachs. 
With everything out, the pig was laid on a table, ready to butcher and Greg was now in more familiar territory. He did a fantastic job, and left us a whole pig in recognisable joints! Usually when we buy pork here, random bits arrive in a plastic carrier bag. He boned and rolled the legs for us (now being saved for Christmas). We have chops, spare ribs, belly, shoulder joints, trotters …. I had put aside the tail and was looking forward to roasting it (like they do in Little House on the Prairie!) but to my great disappointment, the dogs sneaked over and got away with the tail! Greg worked really hard; it’s no quick, easy task!
And since the butchering, the job has been what to do with all the meat. Maisy was not a big pig, but she has given us a good supply of meat!  Joints and chops have been labelled and put in the freezer. I am very excited about my first attempt at making bacon with the belly (we really miss bacon!) We haven’t had time to make the smokehouse, so I am dry-curing two batches of bacon. One is maple-cured and the other is rosemary and garlic! I hope it will taste as good as it sounds!  I have also made liver pate (made with our fresh homemade butter) and chilied kidney sauce. I have cubed pork for casseroles and ground meat for meatballs. I have made Chinese pork stock, and now am just preparing Sweet and Sour Pigs Trotters! (Not entirely sure about this one to be honest, but couldn’t pass up the chance to try!) We have the fat ready to make lard, and have already used the fat to cook ugali! And for some non-edible fun, I have blown up the bladder for the girls to toss around.
From this ...
to this!

So I now feel like someone somewhere between the Good Life and the Little House on the Prairie! I never would have guessed a few years ago that I would be living like this! It is good; nothing is wasted, everything is used and re-used and by being creative, we learn to manage with so much less. (Mind you, I feel like I am running out of “creativity” to manage without water so much of the time!) Maisy was a good pig for us and none of her was wasted! And I guess I’m thinking the same for me in all that I do, and also for the girls as they grow up … may none of us be wasted! May our lives be used and re-used by God, may our time be well spent, may our words and actions be useful and fruitful.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Tadley comes to Tanzania

 I haven't blogged in a while, but I have a good excuse! We are enjoying having Greg, Hugh and Lyn from Tadley here with us for two weeks! It is so lovely to have them here with us, but the time just seems to be flying by. Tim, myself and the girls took the bus to Dar last Tuesday, and took the opportunity to find a dentist. Amisadai's mouth is getting rather too full of teeth and we wanted to get them checked. Amisadai flinched and faltered visibly as we walked through the hot corridor to the examination room - seeing bare metal hospital beds and ominous-looking medical instruments brought back bad memories!  But with the assurance of no needles this time, both girls seemed pretty impressed with the green dentist chair that looked like something from the 60's! The room was nothing like the sterile, white dentist rooms we are used to, but the dentist was very friendly and the girls even got a balloon afterwards which was a great surprise!

Happy Birthday, Hugh!

 The Tadley three arrived early on Friday morning and it was so exciting to go and pick them up from the airport. We had a fairly quiet two days there before the Sunday when Tim, Greg and Hugh were all preaching at Victory Christian Centre on Sunday. It was good to spend time again with Pastor Huruma and his lovely family too. On Monday we all boarded our Sumry bus for the long journey to Iringa. We left early, having breakfast at 5am before leaving the guest house at 5:15, and finally made it to our house at about 4:15pm having had an hour on the roadside after driving into a minibus in front. We were just thankful that was all it was.

Happy Birthday, Greg!

We had a slow day on Tuesday to recover from the journey, but enjoyed a visit to Neema Crafts to see the amazing things that they are doing there... and have a delicious lunch! On Wednesday we were bumping our way off to Magozi, where we all stayed overnight. It was so fantastic to take visitors! They all did really well, adjusting to the heat and a completely different way of life (and even snakes and cockroaches!) We ate uji and ugali and rice and beans. But best of all was being with the people there. The stoves group was so encouraged by their visit and so incredibly grateful for the gift of Bibles from Tadley Community Church. Thank you so much to all of you who gave for these Bibles - you cannot imagine how much it means to them! Now every member of the stoves group has one and we can all study the Bible together. In a few weeks we are going to start some training for some of the women to learn how to read, so that they can read their own Bible! It is so moving and exciting. In the morning, Hugh led a Bible study with the new Bibles, and Greg did some business teaching. Then the stoves group demonstrated the process of making a jiko. In the afternoon, we invited children to come to the church building and Lyn had organised a story and activities for them. They loved it! For some of the kids it was the first time to hold a crayon and colour a picture. They squealed with laughter as Greg made animals out of balloons and they have a big banner of Noah's Ark to put up on the wall on Sunday.
New Bibles!
Kids Afternoon
The girls love having Lyn here!

Now we are back in Iringa, making sure we tick all the boxes of things to do... just had samosas from Hasty Tasty... check! This afternoon the conference at the Pentecostal church begins. Greg preaches this evening, Hugh tomorrow and Greg again on Sunday. Now to make some fruit salad ... mango, papaya, banana, pineapple ... yum!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

What's Cookin' with the Followers?

Tim is outside building the new chicken house - I can't wait for my fresh eggs again! As this is our last day of internet before we head off to Dar-es-Salaam on Tuesday, I am making the most of it and taking a break from the kitchen. I have now made lots of granola, ready for our UK vistitors next week! That will mean less uji for them! Cooking up breads and cakes too! We are really looking forward to seeing Greg and Hugh and Lyn from our church in the UK! They will be with us for two weeks and will be kept busy in Dar, Iringa and Magozi! We are going to Dar on the bus before they arrive on Friday as we want to find a dentist and get teeth checked (miss you, Mark Holley, if you are reading this!). We also want to get some promotional T-shirts printed for the stoves group as they start selling the stoves. They are so excited about these T-shirts - some people wanted to join the group just so they could get a T-shirt like ours!

I've just looked for the first time since we have been here at the site meter for our blog. This blog has been going now for over 16 months and has 77 posts now! Over 12000 page views and 42 followers and what a lot of countries! I enjoy writing it - it is always good reflecting on what we are doing and why! But we hope you enjoy a little window into our very changed lives, seeing what our new life is like.

I sometimes wonder what you all imagine when you read it! It is often hard to give a true, balanced picture! I also hope those of you who are supporting our work here can feel encouraged and part of what we are doing. We are so very dependent on you and grateful more than we can say! I know it is easy and seems quite impersonal sending this blog out to all of you, and wish I would send more personal letters, but we do think of all of you, our friends, as we send our news out. And we would love to hear some of your news too! We can see by site location all the people that have been reading about what I ramble on about and wonder who you all are! Many of you we can guess by knowing where friends live, but then there are all these others following who we don't even know! And some of you have even sent encouraging messages! Thank you! It is very encouraging! We love to hear from you and know who you are! I like to blog to keep in touch with friends so you know what we are up to, but it is an added bonus to get to know other people along the way!

Thanks for following along! Thanks for encouraging us along the way!