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

Monday, 10 February 2014

The Toilet Seat Tale

Are you sitting comfortably? It's a toilet tale to be told. We were all a little put off by the toilet seat in our new house when we arrived. Someone had cleaned for us before we arrived and we also did clean, but Amisadai still couldn't bring herself to actually sit on the toilet! When Mom arrived (I think it must have been the second day), she, in true mama fashion, sourced and bought us some bleach. But she was defeated by the toilet seat. So in true mama fashion, she set off in search of a new toilet seat. We found one ... but the price seemed ridiculous for a flimsy bit of white plastic, so continued to search. Delving into little dukas (small shops) we looked and asked (not sure how it translates into Swahili, but I used a literal translation of "chair of the toilet"). To no avail. There were no others. We returned home.

But reality set in when nature called. Mom decided the loo seat was worth it and she may as well enjoy the benefit of it while she stayed. As Dad said, "some grandmas buy their grandchildren ice creams, but this one buys them toilet seats!" So we returned to the shop to make the purchase. But alas, at the shop (which we were becoming fairly familiar with as we were also frequenting it for buying hooks and wire for new curtains), the toilet seat was gone. We were assured more would be in by the next Monday. So we eagerly returned on Tuesday, only to be yet again disappointed. This toilet seat was proving more difficult to obtain than we thought. When we walked again to the shop later in the week, we were greeted by our familiar friends with the greeting, "the toilet seat is here!" Such a sense of delighted achievement over a toilet seat!

Result! Take a Seat!

It was fixed in place and Mama was given the honour of its inaugural use. The only disappointing factor was that we continued to have no running water and so it did remain at many times, a smelly toilet. The toilet saga could go on with leaks that needed a plumber... who took days to come and was beaten by water cuts which made a plumber redundant, followed by another plumber and leaks and water cuts again ....

The New Loo Look
Lovin' the Plumbin'

I'm not sure how one naturally flows (no pun intended) into other news following toilet seats, but I'll carry on ...

My wonderful Mom has also made some lovely curtains and seat covers and cushions which make our house feel more like home ... it is strange from a Tanzanian perspective as we sewed the curtains out of fabric they would only use for beautiful gowns! Strange wazungus!

The new curtains
Last week with Bishop Charles we were able to visit a couple of Pentecostal Bible Colleges that Tim has been invited to teach at. We were very impressed with their desire for theological training for all pastors. And with eighty students at one and over one hundred at the other (the majority of them coming from the surrounding villages) we saw how serious they are about it. We are encouraged about the potential fruit from the depth of their study for the people in the villages as they will hear and learn the Word of God. We also visited a Church Planting school; a long-term project aiding new pastors to start new churches in the Lake Zone, giving them a strong theological foundation for what they do. It is a building in process, but used all the while as a four-month base for the students' intensive training.

Chapel at the Bible College

The Church Planting School
The other adventure of last week was an expedition to get local clay for testing purposes for the fuel-efficient stoves. Through Bishop Charles, we heard of a place that is a source of excellent clay for people from as far away as Geita and Musoma (up to 200km away). It was a trek up into the hills of rock - the land cruiser got us a far as it could (that was a bumpy ride!) and then we continued up on foot.

Driving to the clay source as the rain poured down!

When we could go no further ...

A short steep climb got us up to a level plateau where many people were busy at work sieving and sorting clay that had been carried down to them. It really was a hive of activity! We carried on up the rocks and came to the source.

Continuing on foot

Piles of clay on the flat spot!
A man was dropping into a hole in the rocks, almost like a cave and with great exertion pulling out sacks of clay. Given that the rocks could shift at any point, it was a little unnerving! We were looking at pretty eroded hill material and because they are digging, obviously the rocks can be easily dislodged. But we were assured that the clay diggers know the signs when rocks are about to go and can scarper away in time. Whether we would be able to scarper so fast, I wasn't so sure. But we lived to tell the tale and watched a fairly old woman take our extremely heavy sack of clay on her head and trot nimbly down the steep hill!

Giant rocks (see the man covered in clay in the crack in the rock ...
the bag of clay is squeezed through the hold at the base of those rocks!)

Down deep to the clay

Louisa checks it out

Running down with the clay
Today was the sad day of farewells, but we are so thankful for the fun times we've had together. And we are looking forward our next adventure which will be this Wednesday to Friday. We are headed out to an island on Lake Victoria with Dr. Makori to visit some of the island clinic work he is doing. We will travel with our backpacks (and lifejackets!) on foot, taking a 7 hour boat ride to get there. We are really excited to see the work that Makori is doing and see how we may be able to work together in the future. So you can pray for our travels and our time there!

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