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

Sunday, 30 November 2014

The Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up

“The rains came down and the floods came up.” As we continue to bail out Tim’s study downstairs, I wonder if we should start building an Ark. The heavy rains that are continually destroying the road outside our house despite our attempts to keep building it back up, have also caused havoc downstairs. Getting out of our house has been obstacle course recently with a huge tree down one day, a power line looped down dangerously across the road another day (I should have taken a photo … talk about health and safety!). The driveway eroded away and was completely impassable one morning (we had to call a friend to get the girls to school!), the thick mud made it impossible to get home one day, which meant abandoning the vehicle round the corner to walk in on foot.

And inside isn’t much better as we are valiantly battling the rising water in Tim’s study every few hours with towels and buckets. It has been a constant job for five days now keeping the level of water manageable. As I was restoring the mess of the partially defrosted freezer to rights this morning, after the three day/night power cut, we then discovered that the water problems were spreading and the store room floor was covered in water. So we continue to mop the rising floods, attempting various solutions outside with channels and morum, but are losing the battle and exhausted! Other things are piling up and going wrong and in the midst of it all, Louisa came down sick on Thursday night which turned out to be her first case of malaria. Poor Louisa has been through it a bit with sickness and made the comment today that at least when she gets to heaven, she won’t be sick! But we said we like to keep her with us for a while yet! 
Mopping up Operation
But although everything seems to be against us getting on with things here, we do have lots to be thankful for! And on a positive note, I wanted to explain a bit about what we are doing with the fuel efficient stoves project. As you have probably picked up, we are back in the clay again, but we are doing things rather differently to before. This time we have trained (with Mendriad and Hosea’s help) a small group of seven people from an area on the outskirts of the city very close to a brilliant clay source. Two other women, Mama Abigail and Mama Meshak, from the other side of the city joined as well and will form their own group, training others with them. The plan is that this small group will make quality stoves to sell in the city area, building up a business and gaining experience. And then our hope is that some of them will be able to work with us in rural village projects (similar to what we did in Iringa), assisting us and training others. We are really trying to build up quality teams and individuals that will work the different projects that we are doing.

The Mwanza Stoves Group
(Mama Georgina second from right in front)

Tim handing over the "Exercise Book" to elected Chairman Wilson

The newly elected chairman, treasurer and secretary (Mama Georgina)
Daudi (right) the new kiln builder trained by Hosea (left)
Chatting to Mama Georgina during the stoves training, I was actually surprised at how great the need and desire for these stoves in the city! The monetary benefit of the stove is far greater here than in the villages we have worked in, as the cost of firewood is so great. In Tambukareli, where we ran the training, Mama Georgina uses firewood every day to cook. She pays 1000 Tsh for five sticks which will cook one meal for her family. I asked about cooking beans; she said “Oh no! We can’t cook beans. That would cost 5000 Tsh!” By reducing the amount of wood used by 50%, the fuel-efficient stove will make huge savings for her. And the word is spreading very quickly! Even by the third day of training, many people had come to see what was going on and were very interested. Some have already put in their order for a stove!
So, in that we will be encouraged! And one other reason to be encouraged is our rice sack. We had a big sack of rice on the floor in the store room and that was the first thing I thought of when I heard the floor had flooded. I was so gutted as I so didn't want to lose all that rice and knew I should have moved it earlier. But do you know, there was water all over the floor, over a centimetre in places, with bags and boxes completely soggy. But there was a small circle of dry floor - just surrounding that sack of rice! I couldn't believe it! The rice is fine! And now that dry patch is gone. It was a reminder that in the midst of the storms, we can find that dry place of shelter or calm or safety and, as the old Sunday School song finishes, “give God the glory!”


  1. Sounds like it has been an exciting time there -- I hope you can dry things out. I love the reminder to give God the glory.

  2. Praise God for the dry rice!

    The new stoves initiative in the city sounds like it's going to be a great blessing to many too.

    We'll be praying for you about the leaky basement and Louisa too - the boys were on the case this evening. I don't imagine 'tanking' the basement is an option out there and suppose it would be absurdly expensive if it were.

    Keep doing what He's doing and spreading His love in practical ways...we're rooting for you over here and always encouraged and inspired to hear what you're up to.

    With love from the Braithwaites


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