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

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Pig in a Box ... not!

Yet another crazy journey! I am so looking forward to a smooth ride in a comfortable car on August 29th. At the most maybe we can expect some M3 traffic, but after our journeys here, I'll take it with no complaints! We set off for Magozi this week bumping along the pot-holed roads in the Land Cruiser with Mama Lucy, Amisadai and Tim in the front and Louisa and I balancing on the bench sets in the back, loaded with our clean bedding, litres of drinking water, carefully holding a tray of eggs and with a piglet in box. It had been a squealing hullabaloo of an effort to get the pig in the box, but we were all in and other than worrying about the awful smell (and the balancing eggs), we were glad to be off. Until the pig started trying to escape ... and it wasn't just the pig squealing then. I fought successfully for a while, but then it made the jump and it was loose in the back as we bumped and jostled along the dirt road. "Just put her back in the box!" Tim says to me from the drivers seat. Right. I'm not one for holding things like pigs and chickens that wriggle and squeal or squawk and flap, but I did catch her and managed to get her back in the box and tied it all down much more securely with lots of rope. Hero! For a while. Soon, the pig continued with her escape attempts and was managing to bend the box flaps out of the ropes despite my efforts to hold it all together and hold her in the box. She won. I couldn't believe how she did it, but she fought free and was now trying to open the back door. And I wouldn't put that pass her either.

Now I am very flustered and longing for this journey to be over and seriously thinking we should turn back now and leave the pig behind. Louisa is an emotional wreck, not entirely sure why, but she was definitely not wanting to share the back with this squealing, escaping pig. This time Tim climbed over and helped me (no chance of opening any doors, she'd have been out in a flash!). We got her back in the box and covered the top of the box with a bed and a big black bag (and locked the back door). Sorted ...we thought! Back on the road, and the pig started escaping again. She found a small crack between the bag and the bed and wriggled up. I've really had enough now. Lucy came back this time to help me lean on the beds and bags on the box on the pig. This pig should be in the Olympics, she was jumping with great strength against the box and bags! Amisadai prayed that the pig would go to sleep, and finally her prayer was answered. Peace at last! When we arrived in Magozi almost two hours later, the first priority was to find Ezekiel who had bought the pig from us, and with great relief pass the pig in the box to him!

Other than the pig episode, we had a good time this week in Magozi.  It was good to be back with Mama Lucy this time. She hasn't been since she came with the Canada team in March and it was her last opportunity to come with us. With Yuda and Ezekiel, we visited the Anglican pastor and his wife in Kimande, where we are looking forward to starting the next stoves project when we come back in January. We clamoured through the bush to a clay source Mama had found and collected a bucketful for testing.

Collecting the clay in the bush.
Yuda and Ezekiel are wearing Amisadai and Louisa's hats!

Making stoves with Mama Lucy
The stoves group is back to normal routine after the harvesting season which is a great encouragement to us, as it could have been difficult to regain momentum! The group met for Bible study and prayer before getting busy on the stoves, and they now have up to 65 to fire and sell. They are also keenly thinking about new initiatives with their profits ... as well as a rice venture investing profit, they are talking now of a pig breeding/selling venture (as long as we don't transport any more pigs, it's a great idea). And also encouraging was to hear that Mama Juliana has been enjoying her tomatoes and there is talk from some of the group to get planting trees! We met one night with the young leaders and Tim led the Bible Study on Saul and David; another evening was fun with Ezekiel and Mendrad playing "Golf" (card game). The journey home was uneventful, just the four of us and Lucy and three relatives of Lucy who happened to be on their way home and were stranded with car troubles ... and two bed frames, two large and bulky mattresses, a folding bed, bags of clay, empty bottles, bags of belongings ...
Louisa is offered a huge, slimy (stinging) bug to eat!!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Flights Booked!

It's definite! Our flights are booked! I was just looking at a blog we posted on August 1st, 2010 with the same title, when we had our flights booked one way from London to Dar es Salaam. It seems so long ago, that adventure of going into the unknown. This time we are going into what was once all so familiar, but I think we might be in for some shocks! We fly into London on August 29th and will be staying with Tim's very kind parents in Sherborne St. John, Hampshire for four months. We go to Canada on Christmas Eve, to spend Christmas with family and friends in Langley, B.C. And then in January, we return to Tanzania to continue the work here. We are so very grateful for the support we have had over these two years, to enable us to live and work here. We are looking to raise support for another term and if you feel this is something you are able to help us with in any way at all, please contact our link secretary Sarah Liriano or the EIUK office for more information.

We are so looking forward to seeing friends and family again. We will keep the same email, so please get in touch with us and hopefully we can make the most of our visiting time! The girls are looking forward to being at Aldermaston Primary School - Louisa's first experience of "real" school!

Water in Isanga!
On Friday, Tim went with Andy to Isanga, a village 90km from Iringa to see the conclusion of the construction of the water project there. He wore a sweater for the second time in two years, so it must have been chilly! It is exciting to finally see clean water flowing into the village and to hear the gratitude of the people in the village to EI and tp Andy in particular for the work that has been done there.

Today we attended the ordination of our friend, Brad Galvin, which took place in the Anglican Cathedral in Iringa. It was long 4 hour service, but (retired) Bishop Donald preached well and it was a good celebration for the eight ordinands. Well done Brad!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Saba Saba to Saba Saba

In Swahili, the word for "seven" is "saba." On Saturday, here in Tanzania it was SabaSaba (the seventh day of the seventh month), a national agricultural holiday. People from villages all over the Pawaga division and Iringa town as well, flock to the village next to Magozi every year for a week of displays and selling. Actually we didn't  notice too much "agricultural" going on, but there were a lot of onions and oranges being sold, and a lot of three-stone fires cooking up ugali for all the attendees. We were there with the Ebenezer Stoves Group to promote the fuel-efficient stoves. The group promoted very well; many came to find out all about them and we had crowds watching Mama Juliana and Ezekiel do the cooking demo! Unfortunately the group only sold four, but given the weight of the stove and the distance people were travelling, that wasn't surprising and now we just need to spread out to these other villages!

The Ebenezer Group Banda (shade from a very hot sun!)
The "information board" with Ezekiel's hilarious artwork showing the benefits
of the stove compared to the disadvantages of three-stone fires!

Crowds watch the jiko in action and are amazed at the haybasket rice!
(I had to stand on the land cruiser to get anything of a shot!)

In the Bible, saba (seven) is the number of completion, and I have to say I have felt rather melancholy this week in the village as we "complete" our year in Magozi. It was during SabaSaba last year that we moved into our house in Magozi and really started the project and it has been during SabaSaba this year that we began to move things out of our house as we prepare to leave in the beginning of August. Although our time in Magozi is soon completed, it certainly doesn't feel like we have completed all that we wanted to do. There are still so many more things we want to do and see happen, so much more to learn (I so wish I had improved more in Swahili and  learned more Kihehe and Kimasaii) but it is time to go and we have to say goodbye. Saba is also the number of perfection, and although our fumbling efforts have been far from perfect, we can truly testify to the perfect faithfulness of God and say His work in our Saba-to-Saba year has been "very good!"

Learning Kimasaii last week with Immanueli

Beds, bookcases, buckets and bodies squeezed in!
(Louisa wasn't quite so inside the basket for the drive home!)
It has been a very busy time recently, and while struggling a bit with just carrying on with everything, it is good to reflect on the complete perfection of God, particularly in my incompleteness and weakness. Feeling so tired, I was losing my patience to teach the girls as we try to finish the school year and losing the energy to keep cooking and to fight the mice and dirt in the village (getting locked out with Louisa in the heat of the afternoon one day didn't help!). But the encouraging thing in God's "Saba," is his perfect rest! He worked for six days and then He rested on the seventh, and it is in Him we find true rest and strength in weakness.

A few other things to finish ... Some good news is that we finally have a new EI Landcruiser!! This is wonderful news! Andy drove it back from Dar on Saturday, and while it needs some fixing up, it should be ship-shape soon!

Also, if you want to see a snippet of recent life in Magozi, click here for a video clip. And all our young friends can check out the girls' blog as Amisadai has just blogged and posted pictures of our "treat" trip to the gamepark with Aunty Ann and Rachel, and our Canada Day celebrations! Louisa will post her blog later as well.