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

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Arrows in the Quiver

I'm just slightly nervous about coming home late at night now! I will enter cautiously with my hands over my head to ensure this huge bow and arrow is not aimed at me! We have just found and hired a guard who is taking his job very seriously and carries a bow with about six scary-looking arrows! Clearly we are no longer in small town Iringa! So we feel well protected and safe in our beds at night! Amisadai is so keen (but forbidden!) to try out the bow and arrow!

Thaddeus, our guard takes aim!
On guard
We are gradually getting accustomed to life in Mwanza. There are some beautiful views of the Lake, we have seen tawny eagles and fish eagles, we are hearing new and interesting sounds of different birds and of course ferry horns, and we are finding out where to find things. We learned the hard way where NOT to park when we came back from our market expedition to find that our vehicle had been clamped. A first experience for us! We argued our case that the lines had faded away, and the very faint yellow paint on the road reading "NO P..." was practically invisible, ... and lots of other cars were all parked there ... and we were new to the city ...lovely city ... but he would have none of it and we had to shell out 50 000Tsh.


Playing by Lake Victoria

View of the city and the lake from the hotel that Mwanza International Community Church meets in

We were so pleased to see Andy and Angela who arrived with their friend Brian and another packed vehicle of our belongings! We had a lovely time at the weekend with them, exploring the beach, a stuffed fresh tilapia dinner at home and treats of good coffee and bakery croissants. Andy lasted only a cup of tea on arrival before he got going on our plumbing! And he did a good job, vastly improving our water situation which means we can now have water in the bathroom!  
Andy working on our plumbing issues!
Enjoying a coffee out the Gold Crest Hotel

We were warmly welcomed on Sunday by the Mwanza International Community Church where Zakayo is the pastor. We are so pleased to be working alongside Zakayo and his wife Evelyn. We are excited about working with this and other TAG churches in this area; the church has a big vision for holistic ministry in Mwanza and beyond. Now it is time over the next few months to discover our role in it all! And it is in the pulling back in the bow (even if it feels a bit tightly uncomfortable) that we are prepared to excitedly launch!  

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

A Thousand Kilometers to Home

The Mongers are in Mwanza! Over a thousand kilometres and 16.5 hours of driving and we were here! The journey was great; we spread it over three days which we were all very grateful for; Tim because he had to do all the driving as his seat was the only one with enough room for his long legs and the three girls because none of us had any leg room at all, not a lot of body room and no lap space! So we all fell out of the car most relieved at each night's rest spot and made the most of swimming pools in both Dodoma and Nzega guesthouses! We had just one close call with a large eagle which was very impressive but would not have been so impressive through the windshield. And one rather significant jolt in a large pothole on one of the roads which shook the side headlight out, but a bit of plastic and duct tape and all was well again!


Fixing up the light

Beautiful scenery along the way
It was terribly sad leaving Iringa on Friday! We had a great send-off from our EI team last Wednesday - which included a delicious pork roast dinner and some photo videos of good memories - including one from Ben and Sam for the girls! Ezekiel and Mendriad arrived on Thursday to help up load up the car and carry remaining bags and boxes over to Andy and Angela's house to follow us later. They had fun looking through things we were leaving behind and chose some things to take home for their families! It was hard to say goodbye to them - they have been such great and faithful friends!  
Ezekiel and Mendriad with bubbles, balloons and sunhats!
And now here we are in Mwanza, or "Rock City." We are so very grateful to Dr. Makori for finding us a house within our budget (no easy task here!) and to members of the church here for all the work they have done to transform what was a rather neglected house! They have cleaned and painted inside and cleared the ground outside ... Dr Makori has helped us to sort out all the issues with plumbing and electricity and things like finding guards and any number of our questions. We don't know what we would have done without him!

Can you believe this and more was all in the car?
And this doesn't even include all the boxes and bags on the roof!
It has been a busy few days of unpacking (it really is quite incredible how much we were able to pack into one landcrusier!) and sorting out. It is a lot smaller than our Iringa house and with just three bedrooms it will be a squeeze to fit everything with Tim's EI office and a homeschool space as well! But we are gradually managing to make a new home! We have good internet and so far, good electricity! We have a water problem, but hoping for a plumber very soon! We are working at finding our way around the city, feeling very much the country bumpkins in awe of this huge place with all its traffic, shops, sights and sounds! The girls have been excited to see lifts (elevators), a "massive shop with trolleys and aisles" and best of all - a bakery with croissants!

Washing clothes out back

Living/Dining Room
We are looking forward to Andy and Angela's arrival on Friday! They are driving here (with a visiting friend of theirs) with another car load of our belongings ...including a freezer and large keyboard! They really are our personal moving company as it was they that drove all our first belongings from Dar es Salaam to Iringa back when we arrived in 2010! That earned us the title "Hu-Mongers" which we have lived up to again! We will have some fun with them on Saturday before they head off on Sunday to the Serengeti which is now on our doorstep ... well - almost!

Monday, 6 January 2014

Goat Bikes to his New Home

Baaaa. We have just said farewell to Johnson our Goat. He left in style just as our Peppa Pig did … on the back of a motorbike. He didn’t seem terribly happy with the travel arrangements, but Louisa blew him kisses to cheer him up on his way.
Johnson is not impressed with his basket!
To Johnson's new home!
Goodbyes are a common and frequent feature about living here, but it never gets any easier! Yesterday we said farewell to friends from the Iringa Christian Fellowship, the international church here in town. It is sad to be saying goodbye to so many good friends who have been part of our lives here over the past few years (I was really going to try not to cry, but couldn’t do it!) but we all shared a great pizza lunch after the service, hosted by Andy and Angela which was lovely!
So our new year is feeling very much like a new year with all these changes abounding! We saw the New Year in with Matt and Amy Dixon in Morogoro; we had a lovely few days with them, so relaxing in the midst of everything going on here. It was just great to chill out with Matt and Amy … and they  spoiled us with amazing food, particularly treats from the UK! We were all very proud of ourselves for staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve … although Tim needed a few nudges to stop the snoring! Amisadai and Louisa had a fantastic time playing with Elia and Finley. And while we were there Amisadai celebrated her tenth (no, I can’t believe that yet!) birthday. It was a real treat of a day as we all headed to a swimming pool at a hotel and had loads of fun with pizza for lunch. Later on we all went to Tony and Cath Swanson’s home (Amy and Matt’s unit leaders with AIM) with Steve and Ruth Lancaster (a couple who were recently studying Swahili in Iringa). The Swansons were wonderful, making Amisadai feel so special along with a delicious BBQ, party games and all round lovely time!

Happy 10th Birthday!

Amisadai relaxing on her birthday!

Birthday Fun

Warthog spotting on the way home

And a friendly giraffe

We came back to Iringa on New Year’s Day, and hit the final home stretch in packing and goodbyes.
The girls have been making a bit of a game out of parting with some of their belongings. We have transformed the living room into a shop, with sections for clothes, books, crafts and toys and games. People are stopping by to take whatever they want and the girls are enjoying taking in donations and writing out and stamping receipts!  
So I think that this will be our last blog post from Iringa. Today we said goodbye to the Bishop, and were then stuck in town until half twelve waiting for the Tanzanian president to pass and the roads to reopen! This afternoon we have a final sale in the “shop” and the girls are enjoying a play date with friends, on Tuesday we celebrate my birthday (Lucy is having a crash course with Mama Mariam on making wedding cakes, which gives me a good birthday cake!), on Wednesday we have an EI team send-off party and on Thursday we load up the Land Cruiser. We leave Iringa early on Friday morning and will arrive in Mwanza on Sunday afternoon. So with the next blog post we’ll all see what our new house looks like in Mwanza and how many of these bags and boxes we managed to drive up there!