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

Monday, 25 March 2013

Riding a Donkey and Driving a Pig

A hot, dusty road, branches waving, donkeys passing. Palm Sunday. It did cross my mind to wonder at the crowd's reaction to Jesus riding a donkey ... not just because as a King, surely he deserved a white horse, but really, someone trying to sit on one of these stubborn, dirty creatures and travel in a straight line between crowds of people? We see donkeys everywhere in Kimande, pulling carts or herded by small boys running with sticks. They make us jump out of our skin at night when they creep up by a window when we're sleeping or pop around a corner when we're cleaning our teeth by the bush in the dark ... suddenly screeching, "HEE-HAW!" But I have never seen anyone attempt to actually sit on one!

But yesterday in Kimande, we walked a straight line, walking with the Kimande Anglican Church, a small group of about 20, waving branches and singing. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus.



"Take up your cross and follow me"

After the service, we went outside under the shade of a large tree and with the help of Ezekiel, Mendriad and Jesca, did a fuel-efficient stove demonstration. We had set up "The Great Tanzanian Bake Off."  The three-stone fire pitted against the Fuel-Efficient Stove. Participant "chefs" were selected from the "audience". Each "mpishi" (chef) was given 400g rice, a litre of water, salt and oil, a cooking pot and a wooden spoon. Wind levels were high but the fires were started ...see the photo below for the trouble the 3-stone fire chef had! And after the countdown, each mpishi placed her water on to boil. The competition began. Could this new, strange-looking clay object really cook rice? Who would use less firewood? Whose rice would taste better? Now, actually it all sounds a lot better here than it really went, because the wood we had so carefully dried in the sun, got soaked in a sudden rainstorm. We had dried it again, but clearly not enough as the contestants soon realised. But despite it not being the most amazing of demonstrations, a good time was had by all and I learnt how to sing and drum Wagogo (local tribe) style in the process! And despite waiting so long for the rice to cook, they all agreed that the fuel-efficient stove cooked good rice faster, used less wood and gave off less smoke. Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood should have been there.

Trying to light the 3-stone fire!

Ezekiel (with Louisa's hat!) supervising the jiko

Singing in Kigogo
With all this exciting activity, it was 3:00pm before we had lunch at Pastor Castory's house. We were all rather hot and hungry by this time and devoured our rice and beans! After lunch we measured up our "new" house for laying a concrete floor and adding windows and doors. We are now really looking forward to moving in!

We then drove back to Magozi and the next adventure was buying two pigs. As you do on your way home after church. They were church pigs, probably given in the offering and our friend Marco (in the Magozi stoves group) was in charge of selling them. So we bought two. Now eight months ago, I said I would never, ever again do this. Travel in a vehicle on the long Pawaga road with a squealing, wriggling pig. This time there were two. So I took the best seat and drove. And our wonderful friend Ezekiel came with us, taking the back with the pooing pigs. It stank! We set off into the thunderclouds and drove through a dramatic rainstorm. Thunder and lightening, rain slashing into the windshield, puddles splashing over us and I felt a bit like Noah without a boat. In this kind of rain, it's impossible to see anything, including those gaping culverts and all the other potholes. But we made it back with all, including pigs, intact. It was then a half-hour job just getting the two pigs down to our pig banda! What a squealing, strenuous struggle! The end of a long day out; it had started with our 7:20am departure and finished almost 12 hours later as darkness descended. And it was then followed with ... more rice and beans.
Pig Number 1
It was great having Ezekiel to stay with us. It's been a long time since we've all played Golf (card game) together. And last night we thought it most appropriate to play Pass-the-Pigs as well. And  this morning, Ezekiel was able to go with Tim to the Iringa District Council to talk to the Officer of Rural Development about the future of the stoves projects in the area.

It was a good day. Remembering Palm Sunday, remembering the humble entry of a King, remembering the road He walked and remembering the way we follow. Walking on. Waving.


  1. Can't help but smile reading about this. What a way to spend Palm Sunday.

    From the comfort of our home - all be it rather freezing in England at the moment - it makes for a great story. It's really hard to get my head round the fact that this is really how you're living right now.

    Will definitely share this with the boys tomorrow!
    Ellen, John and the Braithwaite boys xx

    1. Hi Ellen! How are you all? We saw all your snow - and it's hard for us to imagine that now! We are not actually living in the village yet, but we are looking forward to it! When we get there, I'll get onto that bread we were talking about! Happy Easter to you all! Love the Mongers

  2. Hi Rachel,

    We're doing well thank you. Battling colds and tumbles, but nothing serious to complain about. I completely related to your blog today and have had the same desire to 'curl up in a ball' this winter for many of the same reasons!

    Today the sun shone and we all rushed out onto the deck to make the most of it. We welched out on the Tadley Walk of Witness fearing the little ones might cause us to regret it with red raw hands (This called for a faster return home from our Lambing expedition at Rushall Farm yesterday).

    We settled for a very free-form Passion Play in our back garden while the son shone. Lunch began outside, but as the clouds drew over the March wind picked up and we all reluctantly ran back inside for cover!

    It made me think how much we appreciate the sun, the warmth, the growth it brings to things around us etc. and just how that's a simple picture of Jesus.

    Look forward to seeing how you get on with your bread when you get a chance and you're back in the village. I'm going to get a Starter going here. I expect the different climates and strand of yeast will make our experiences very different! We plan to build a bread oven in our back garden this Spring/Summer...

    Your Viking bread looked amazing! I'm a little envious of your cheese-making...our eldest and youngest are extremes on the cheese scale; Isaac will eat absolutely every kind of cheese, whilst Samuel stopped eating it aged 2yrs and can't be convinced to try anything with it at all now...so the incentive for making cheese and of course the plethora of options available in the shops for us mean I probably won't tackle that one!

    Bless you Tim and the girls. Love to read about you and your family's exploits. We'll be praying for Tim's tooth and you guys generally as we can.
    Love, the Braithwaites


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