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

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

A Kiln in Kimande

We're back! It's been a while since the last blog post and once again, it is hard to know where to begin! Tim picked up my cousin, Kate in Dar es Salaam at the end of August and she had just a few days in town before we whisked her off to life in Kimande! It had been a busy and bit of a stressful time before that, with Louisa getting rather sick, making things a little unpredictable! But thankfully, she recovered and after just one day delay, we headed off to the village last Monday.
We took Hosea with us (Mongers, Kate and Jesca) this time. He is a friend from the stoves group in Magozi, who had been trained there to build a kiln. He came with us to build the kiln and he trained up Edward in the Kimande group. The two guys did a fantastic job and we are excited to try it out in a couple of weeks when the first eighty stoves are dried and ready!

The Kimande/Itunundu Kiln
Kate did really well with all that goes on in the village. Picking up Swahili and local customs, looking the part in her khanga, cooking on the jiko, making stoves, making baobab smoothies and eating ugali and spinach (which admittedly, she disliked!). Everyone loved her and she was given gifts of rice, papayas and spinach and a straw mat and generally made very welcome! It was always a little confusing explaining who she is as the Swahili words for relations get a bit complicated. She is my "little one" but she is also a lot taller than me!

Kate cooks lunch!

A gift of sugarcane!
It was a busy but encouraging week. As well as the usual stoves group work (which is going really well), and the kiln work, we had 17 trees to give out to plant. Thanks to many kind people in Tadley Community Church, we were able to offer Bibles to people who wanted one! This is probably the only book most would own and they were all delighted! And it makes our Bible studies a lot easier now too!

Simoni, the Stoves Group Chairman with his new Bible
Presenting the Bibles

New Bibles!
The afternoons were full with adult English classes and then also kids coming everyday to learn and practice English! We started a Bible reading group to help women practise their reading. Now they have something to read, it is a great opportunity to work on their reading skills and give them confidence in reading on their own and out loud in a group as well. Our first meeting together led to interesting discussions on struggles women are having with their husbands, raising things that we would love to see God change as we talk and read together. They were all very keen to come back, so we had another Bible reading meeting later in the week, which was really stretching far beyond the limits of my Swahili! I have encouraged them to meet this week while we are here in town, so the plan was for them to meet at Mama Christina's home (the woman with the amazing garden) and read and discuss together.

Bible Reading and Discussion with Mamas
One afternoon we did a mamas "Cooking and English" combined lesson which was good fun. I made bread and orange cake, explaining it all in English. Kate was writing all the English words on the flipchart along with the Swahili, so she learnt loads as well! That also was popular and so it's banana cake next time! Tim led a Bible Study one evening with a great group of people in Itunundu; we are starting to work through the book of Titus with them.

Kate scribes for the Cooking in English lesson!
One morning, Tim, Kate and the girls went with the pastor to meet with others in Itunundu to pray with a girl called Rachel. This young, 15 year old girl has suffered from years of living with evil spirits, never able to live a normal life, and she has never been to school.

But she is not the only one to miss out on an education. We also found out that Mama Esther (the pastor's wife) suffered with epilepsy for her whole childhood and was never able to go to school. She feels incredible shame about this now (no longer with epilepsy) and would love to be able to read the Bible she now has and also join in the Bible reading and studies with other women, which at the moment she is too ashamed to go to. So we are talking about how the church can start a Reading and Writing class for these and others who have never had the opportunity to learn. This is such a huge thing for these girls and women who feel so ashamed and inferior now, but will learn and have a whole new world opened up to them! And it will be their own husbands and church who solve this problem ... which makes it all the better!

So we shared lots of good times with people, shared over meals, over learning, over playing cards! Unfortunately, Jesca got sick during our week there. I took her to the hospital on Friday to get tested for malaria, which proved positive. That was an adventure in itself. It's all a procedure here, going from one room to the next, popping off to the little shop to buy an exercise book for records, then back later to buy syringes, then to pay, then into another room for blood tests (and I shut the door, which we shouldn't have done because the door doesn't open from the inside and a guy with a bashed head and bloodied shirt had to let us all out ... As I've said before, I don't really like hospitals and we were there going through all these procedures with this guy with his head bashed with a sharp object in a fight across the road. He was bleeding as you would imagine and I was trying so hard all the time to keep him out of my line of sight! But he was always right there with us. Then there was a police officer at the scene. And a short while later there was another injured guy going through the same procedures with handcuffs on. The head got stitched up and Jesca was injected with medicine and then it was a relief to get back to the house. But in all the goings-on, I had completely forgotten that a retired Canon and his wife were coming for lunch, but Kate had done an amazing job on the jiko and after a very short time, ugali and spinach was served! Jesca is doing well now, but she did have to home on the bus a day early to get some rest and recovery at home.

So now we are back in town and have started school again. The girls have done very well putting up with a rather tired and impatient teacher who has been a bit distracted by other things! I feel I have rather missed out on the whole "Back to School" buzz, both as a teacher getting a lovely classroom prepared and lessons planned and as a mother in getting all those shiny new school shoes and funky lunchboxes! But we landed with a bump in the Tudor period and are working hard, with Kate helping, to getting double the maths done in a short period of time before we go back to the village next Monday!

Amisadai and Louisa inspect the kiln


  1. My... where do you find time to breathe?!
    Praying for your energy levels and spirits to be maintained through all these trials.

    1. Thanks for prayers, Linda! But it's good-tired, not trials-tired now! Lots of love!


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