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

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Variety is the Spice of Life

"Variety's the very spice of life that gives it all its flavour." (William Cowper, 1731-1800) I loved this about our life in Tanzania and life here seems as varied as ever! One day I was shadowing the village butcher in Kingsclere, then the next soaking up culture with a string quartet in Covent Garden, followed by discussions on agricultural development in the Houses of Parliament. One minute I am reading up and planning units on Vikings and outer space and and then I'm thinking about nutritious, medicinal gardens in Tanzania. One moment I feel quintessentially English, welly-traipsing through the beautiful Cotswolds in all its Autumnal glory, and then I am wrapped in a khanga, Tanzania-style cooking ugali on a jiko in someone's back garden - yes, freezing cold!

The Cotswolds
It was great fun shadowing the village butcher! But really, it bore little resemblance to my butchery experience in Tanzania. This pig (actually, just half a pig) had been drying out for a few days, and was a clean cut of pig with no slimy guts, squelching fat or dripping blood. The butcher was rather incredulous when I told him of my tree-hanging, blood-draining, gut-removing antics when he asked if the pigs arrived to me to Tanzania in the same prepared state! With his razor sharp knife and saw, he had the half in sections in minutes. But that was as far as I got in my lesson ... not into chops, steaks, mince, bacon. It was a stark contrast to my Lulu endeavour! But I took plenty of notes and photos and hope to return for one more lesson.

 This week we are in Devon with Tim's family for half term. We arrived last night and are staying in a lovely big house on Pitt Farm, with the original Lulu! We stayed here together the Easter before we moved to Tanzania, and met Lulu the pig, the namesake of our own late Lulu. The cousins are having great fun being together. But unfortunately, in the rush and excitement to get to the swimming pool this morning, Louisa went flying and cut up her knee. So she added a little spice of a different sort today as she had her first experience of A&E in the UK! It was too bad to do this on the first day of holiday, particularly when this week was her opportunity with a swimming pool to learn to swim. But I was just thankful it happened here rather than Magozi! Here, there is a hospital nearby and Auntie Carleen is a nurse ... and there is chocolate (thanks to Grandma) and a Hello Kitty magazine treat (thanks to Auntie Carleen)!

So with all that variety, I feel life has plenty of flavour at the moment! And I think it is more a case of "what's chilin' in Devon" rather than "what's cookin'" as we were shocked to find ice ("Wow! Real ice") outside this morning! Oooh - it was for sure and certain the coldest I have been yet!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Home from Home

We are enjoying making the most of our time here in the UK! We are continuing to make the most of the availability of cheese, bacon, mushrooms and all kinds of sweet treats! The girls are really enjoying being in school again and I am enjoying a break from teaching! Yes, starting to miss the warm, sunny outdoor weather and also thinking over the next few months, it will be a little hard to swallow all the Christmas hype!

We are keeping busy in an interesting and varied way! In six weekends, we have visited friends and families in 7 counties. In the weekdays in between, we have had about 17 speaking engagements, talking to various school assemblies, year group classes, various adult coffee mornings and evening group meetings. We have been able to meet up with many friends for coffee or lunch and are trying to make the most of learning what we can about sustainable agriculture and agro-forestry (any help here appreciated!), practicing Swahili (Rachel failing here) and thinking through issues of how people in different countries can best help one another! Thinking about returning to Tanzania, I have started restocking things like first aid and English spices. And now I really need to focus on school supplies and curriculum planning for Years 2-3-4-5-6 (aggh!).

We really enjoyed doing the Harvest Festival with the Aldermaston Primary School this week. We were given the opportunity to speak about harvest thanksgiving with a Tanzanian twist. The school has generously raised money to help provide a fuel-efficient stove for the school in Magozi. The students in Amisadai's Year 4 class helped with it, and led some lovely prayers. It is so fantastic to have local support and we are really looking forward to sharing their love and kindness with the Magozi community when we go back!

We are looking forward to a week in Devon with the Monger family over half term. The cousins are very excited to have a whole week together to play! And then in the second week of November, Tim and I are looking forward to a few days in Cornwall (courtesy of a kind and generous friend!), which will be a very welcome rest with time to just think and reflect, process things and get some perspective for the future!

We are looking forward to our "Tanzania Evening" on November17th. It is our opportunity to thank all those of you in the area who have supported us in different ways, and share what we have been doing and plans for the future. Anyone interested in the work we are doing is welcome! Please get in touch with us if you would like to join us.

Fun with Ruth before the long-awaited McDonalds!!

Fun with Uncle Steve in Weston-Super-Mare. Yes - England is cold!

Monday, 15 October 2012

A 'What's Cookin' in Tanzania?' Evening

We would like to thank all those who have been supporting us in all kinds of ways, financially and with encouragement and prayer, during our first two years in Tanzania with Emmanuel International.
You are welcome to come and hear more about the work we have been doing and plans for the work when we go back in January. We will be sharing news, stories and pictures and there will be plenty of time for chatting and questions! We so appreciate your involvement and would value your insight and ideas. Please join us!

Saturday, November 17th at 7:30pm

Sarum Hill Center (Sarum Hill, Basingstoke RG21 8SR)

RSVP Tim and Rachel
tel. 01256 850 545  email rachelmonger@gmail.com
(For those of you in the Vancouver area, we will have another Tanzania evening after Christmas!)

Monday, 8 October 2012

Crowning the Year: Harvest Thanksgiving

Here we are in autumnal England in the midst of various Harvest Celebrations and today celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving with a delicious pumpkin pie. And I am thinking of the July harvest in Tanzania. In all three countries, England, Canada and Tanzania, people give thanks for another year of food, a bountiful harvest. In villages in Tanzania, there is no pumpkin pie or turkey dinner, no baskets of apples or hampers of vegetables but people take a portion of their harvest to the front of the church and lay it down in sacrificial gratitude. This annual crowning of the year is such a good reminder to all of us to give thanks for all that we have. A reminder to give from what we have been given to help each other. God has blessed us and we are blessed to be a blessing! Wise words were spoken to me years ago ... "many people want to know how to become rich but the secret is to become thankful, because then you are already rich."

Living in Magozi, people had very little, but people were grateful and content and I found, despite my grumbles from time to time, I too found it easier to be content. But now, suddenly surrounded by so much, I realise how much harder it is in the west to be content! Attracted by so many things to buy in order to make things easier, more comfortable, or look better ... I almost think I "need" them! How much we have but really, how little we need.

Giving Thanks for Family!
Celebrating Great Granny's 101st Birthday

Grandad's Birthday with the cousins

Celebrating Great Grandad's 90th Birthday

Fun with Grandparents

Roman Chester Explorations with Great Grandpa
 "Give us today our daily bread ..." Appreciate the little things like a loaf of bread, a plate of rice, a glass of water. Living in the village, we have learnt to appreciate these things so much more. There are many people who will never take these things for granted. Yet all of us, wherever we are, and with whatever we have, can give thanks to our God who knows our every need and "crowns the year with His bounty." (Ps. 65)

Finally, have a look here to see what is involved in the harvesting of rice in Magozi!