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

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Lion Tales, Specs and a Weeks' Worth of Wood

With lions close enough to give them all a fright, the team arrived back happy and full of tales from a great game drive yesterday! They all enjoyed a taste of luxury after the rigours of village life last week! They are now busy preparing for the church meetings tomorrow and classes at St. Michael's School in Kilolo on Monday. On Tuesday we are back on the bus to Dar-es-Salaam where we have a bit of time at the beach before they fly out on Friday. We will all miss them ... goodbyes are the worst part of life over here! But to cheer us quickly up, we have the Liriano family arriving on Sunday! So there is much excitement about that!

Some good news from Magozi .... When we came back from the village the other day, we brought with us the stoves group secretary, a great young man called Ezekiel. When he was in secondary school he became very seriously ill which forced him to give up school. He had a bad problem with his eyes and still struggles. We were able to take him to the optician and sort him out with glasses and eye medication. Thank you for your support here!

Ezekiel with his new glasses

With the team we also visited the Secondary School (teaching and gardening) and while there saw there the huge piles of firewood collected by the students. They all have to go out to get loads of wood each week for a week's worth of cooking. We would love to help this school with an institutional fuel-efficient stove. Please see our new page above or the Scribd document on "How you can help Village Schools" to see if you or someone you know can help!

Wood for the week

The three-stone fire currently used for cooking at the school

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Snakes, Bats and Scorpions for Canadians

The Canadian Team is fantastic! They have worked so hard and survived the challenges of heat, cramped quarters, dirty water and being knee deep in poop! Dave, Patti and Tia arrived last Saturday night in Dar after leaving Vancouver on Thursday! And then they were up and at it for the early 7am church service on Sunday at VCC for which Dave was preaching. Dean, a Chinese student, who had visa problems at the last minute and was unable to fly with them managed to get on another flight which arrived on Sunday afternoon. He flew in on the same flight as the Tanzanian government opposition leader, so the airport was in complete chaos with thousands of people rallying. But we all made it back safely on the bus to Iringa on Monday night, completing a very long journey! After a busy day on Tuesday, we whisked them off to Magozi, crammed in the back of the landcruiser with enough water to sink a ship! We arrived in one piece (with a brief stop on the way with Amisadai throwing up) and the team very quickly settled in to a very different life.

After telling them that their chances of meeting a snake were pretty non-existent, what was spotted under our woodpile on the first afternoon? Unfortunately Tim failed at his first and heroic attempt at killing a snake! But he did very well with a spade on the bat flapping about in the house, as did Dean on another occasion. So they have seen it all with frogs hopping about in beds, cockroaches creeping about and even a giant scorpion! They lived on lots of tomatoes and ugali and uji and not one complained!

Dean's Bat-kill!
Mama Patti cooks ugali
All that aside, the time in Magozi was fantastic! It was so wonderful to be there with this wonderful team who did what we could never have done on our own with these kitchen gardens. Although the digging was hot, hard work and carrying bucketfuls of poo rather smelly, the time spent with the families was so lovely and so precious! We spent the first three morning digging gardens and then at the end of our stay we were able to see little shoots sprouting up. How encouraging and how much it speaks to us of a God at work!

Poo on the head (no, I wasn't going to let go!)
Planting seeds

Mama Meriziana's Garden (yes- a little tired now!)

Two afternoons were spent doing children's work in the church building. The third afternoon was a village cooking demonstration, teaching on nutrition and efficient cooking with the jiko. And another afternoon the team taught a class at the secondary school and we helped with planting in their school gardens. Sunday was a big day with the much-anticipated visit from the Bishop and his wife. He came with the Wingfield family and it was an opportunity for the stoves group to show what they have been doing with the project. In showing their work and progress, they were all so encouraged! There really is so much more to say, it was a full week in every way!

Go-Go-Stop (nenda-nenda-simama)

Village Cooking Demonstration
Now Dave is flying back home and the others have gone with Tim to Ruaha Gamepark. And while they relax with the hippos and elephants, the girls and I are up to ears in laundry .... and presents! We finally had a chance today to open the bags filled with goodies and letters from lovely friends in BC! Thank you so much all of you, we are quite overwhelmed and so very grateful!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Blog One Hundred

In honour of the momentous event of the 100th blog post (I always like to recognise milestones!), we have given the blog a facelift. It is hard to believe all that has happened since the first blog in May 2010, when I started the countdown from 101 days to take-off to Tanzania! And now 21 months later, it has been so much fun to look back over the entries and remember our journey to today! God has been so faithful and to look back and see His hand at work is so encouraging! And it is interesting to see which blog posts have proven more popular from the stats list! I have no idea why Magozian Mongers ranks so highly but Cooking in an Outhouse might be regrettably understandable! So, faithful readers, thanks for following us to this milestone!

There are two new pages on the blog now. Take a look! One page is all about helping to get fuel-efficient stoves for schools. We have been asked by several schools we know if we can help with this. We have already built one for a school in Uhambingeto and it is great to see it being used and and the children eating from it! With £400 we would be able to go to a local school and using as much local materials and help as possible, build a large institutional stove. We would devote time to the project also covering things like health and nutrition. So we are wondering if there are any schools, brownie groups, weight-watcher groups, playgroups ... who may be able to help us with some fundraising. If you have any ideas, please feel free to print, forward or share the 2-page flyer and get in touch with us for any more information! These are schools where we already have relationship, where we know help would be appreciated and worthwhile!
Fuel-Efficient institutional stove at Uhambingeto School
The other "help" page is about the main work we do with the fuel-efficient stoves for families in villages. We are at the stage now where the work in Magozi is doing well and becoming self-sufficient (and our initial budget ends!). So we need to think about where we now take the project. And this is where you come in! We do need some help in funding the project. We would like to hire a local Tanzanian part-time to help with starting new projects and we would ultimately like to be able to hire a Tanzanian project manager to take on our job. It is a cost, but we think a worthy one and a fruitful one. Please consider if you may be able to help in any way with this fundraising!
The Ebenezer Magozi Stoves Group sorting the jikos to fire
Tim has just returned from a couple of days in Magozi with Andrew. This was Andrew's first trip to Magozi since the very beginning of the project. The stove group filled him in on the progress and the challenges so far. Andrew was very pleased to hear firsthand how the group is enouraged. They also, along with some of the group members, embarked on a survey among stove buyers so find out how they were getting on with their new stove. They enjoyed visiting people, seeing the stove in operation and hearing how people are pleased with their stove.

Tomorrow I get on the bus for the long ride to Dar es Salaam for the exciting arrival of our Canadian team! We have two adults and two young adults coming from The King's School in Langley, to work with us here for a few weeks. We are excited about all that the next weeks will hold! We arrive back in Iringa on Monday and then whisk them off to Magozi for a very busy week on Wednesday.

Friday, 2 March 2012

What's Cookin' in the Outhouse?

Magozi in the rain this week! They have really needed the rain there, although unfortunately for many people it is too late for a lot of the maize, which has already died. Life is so uncertain with so much struggle, but they never complain. We took with us a lovely family from the UK who are visiting Tanzania for three months and currently working at Neema Crafts. They have three girls, Amisadai's age and older, and our girls have loved having them around to play these past weeks! It was great having them with us in the village - they cheerfully put up with squeezing into our little house with us and sitting through lots of Swahili conversations and of course the heat and dirty water!

Neil, Sue, Christy, Lois and Annia
It was great to be there; we saw progress with the new clay as members of the group made another five jikos. We had good chats with people preparing for the things we will do when the Canadian visitors come in two weeks time. And showing visitors around our village, just makes us realise again how much we love it and the people who live there!

But back to the rain .... I had started cooking the rice for supper on the jiko outside when the heavens opened! And I mean, really opened! As the other eight ran for cover inside, shutting the doors and shutters to keep out the driving rain, I was left with a problem! While they sat crowded in the dark, with the deafening onslaught of the rain on the tin roof (and even some under the door), I ended up in the outhouse with the jiko, my haybox and a pot of rice and beans. I really shouldn't be writing this, as it goes against everything we are doing here to encourage health and sanitation, but it was desperate measures in a desperate situation, and was rather amusing!
Supper's ready!
The girls could not go anywhere without a following crowd!

Neil and Lois trying out the jiko

To conclude the last blog post, the cheesecake was a great treat! I will definitely be doing that again! But with a busy week, I haven't been able to make any more cheese since then! And for some final miscellaneous news, Amisadai has lost yet another tooth and we are still waiting to find a vehicle.