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

Friday, 25 November 2011

Entertaining in Style

It has been one of those weeks with moments where I can’t quite believe what I am doing! When expecting guests, I used to plan the menus, go shopping for some food treats, spruce up a guest room and generally try to make things as pleasant as possible! Now here I was, escorting our guest in a bumping, dirty, dusty old land cruiser to a house even more dusty and dirty with not much beyond beans and rice for food (apart from the lemon cake and banana loaf which was a nice treat while it lasted!) When we arrived and she was “shown to her room,” I quickly started sweeping up rat poo, dead cockroaches and heaps of dust and dirt. Then began the mouse chase, after seeing one dart behind a shelf … another visitor had arrived by this time and while Amisadai and Louisa ended up standing on the furniture, she ended up being the one to spear the creature with a long sharp stick! Disposing of the thing with my dustpan, the thought crossing my mind is that of pretty, scented soaps and soft creams laid out on a pristine bathroom counter and a vase of flowers on a dressing table. But we have no bathroom, let alone bathroom counter and no dressing table even if we could find a flower! Actually the smell is sweat rather than soaps and flowers, and we can’t even offer a fan for some relief from the brutally uncomfortable heat! But Mama Masawa was lovely and settled in with our family, fitting right in!
Mama Masawa is a Tanzanian who works for the Diocese of Ruaha. She came to Magozi with us to teach the stoves group on business and marketing and also work with a group of people on improving reading skills. She was such an encouragement to the stoves group, inspiring them to work hard and be proactive in selling. We also presented the snazzy red Magozi Jiko T-shirts, which were a great hit! Now you can easily spot a group member in the village! The plan had been to come for four days of teaching, but unfortunately she was called back to town and so managed to squeeze four sessions into one short and one very long day! In the afternoons she worked on the reading. We had expected a small group of women, but it turned out to be a large group of men and women, all very keen and eager to learn or improve reading skills! We sat in a circle, taking turns to read out loud; I saw the marked difference between listening to the adults struggle to read and the children that have gathered at our house to read so much more fluently. The children now have an opportunity of an education that many of the adults have not had. We realized that this was a much bigger thing than we had originally thought, and this time with Mama Masawa just the beginning. The group was so eager to learn and the potential is amazing! We would love to do what we can to facilitate some reading groups for learning and improving. The ability to read – a free gift, but priceless!

Presenting the T-shirts
Reading Session (the group grew!)
It was a busy and tiring but very good week. The girls kept up with schoolwork, we kept up with meals (with only one struggle to keep the fire alight!), we kept up with drinking water and we kept up with the rodent kills! It often seemed bizarre (particularly at moments like going to bed one night wondering where the third scorpion had gone) that being in Magozi could be so good! But it was so amazing to see people so enthusiastic and eager to learn and improve, sitting for hours on uncomfortable planks through the heat of the day to do so! It was so encouraging to see the quality of the stove-making improve. It was great to have a late visit last night from Ezekiel, the group secretary, who came to ask for some flipchart paper and a marker pen so as to draw up some advertising posters to put up at the roadside, pointing to the jikos for sale in the village. He got busy right then and there in our little house with the small solar light! And then we were able to bring another lady back to town with us to get glasses, how wonderful to now see Mama Margaret able to read!  

Mama Margaret
As we had no meetings in Magozi today, we were able to come back early this morning, which was great for the girls as they were delighted to get back in time for their friend, Abeni’s birthday party! They then went to bed at 6pm! We are hoping to find a pumpkin in the market tomorrow and celebrate American Thanksgiving with a pie on Sunday evening (as we missed Canadian Thanksgiving this year!)  And then on Monday we are looking forward to getting the bus to Morogoro to visit Matt and Amy Dixon!
The first scorpion
(they got bigger!)


  1. I'm not really a great lover of scorpions! Love to you all xxx

  2. Sounds like a great week's work. Love the thought of Ezekiel going into the advertising business and bringing money into the village from outside!


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