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

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Jiko Progress

I think there is a name for it. It is that thing when you have so much to do and don't know where to start so you end up doing something that isn't important but makes you feel busy. Procrastination ... in a kind of justifiable way. I can be quite good at it. And I am doing it now by sitting down to blog a bit!

Super Seed Sort-out Session

But to my credit (or rather, my excuse is...), we have just finished a super seed sort-out session. With planting season approaching now that the rains are starting again and Tim leaving us all to be in England with his Dad on Wednesday, we had to sort it all out. So we had seeds all over the living room floor: lablab, jackbean, sunflower, pigeon pea, maize, beans, sorghum and the extra special canavalia brasilicus! It felt like Christmas as we packaged the seeds up and labelled and grouped and bagged them all for different people. Sorting a season of planting multiple crops for five farms in one evening! Brilliant!
Recent blogs of ours have been rather serious. But that is because things like murders and attacks, missing children, deaths and brain tumours are some seriously sad stuff. But this time, I'm happy to blog something positively encouraging!

Tree Nursery

We had a very good, (albeit very long) day last Sunday. We took Joseph (our guard and now also a project worker) and Esther (our agricultural trainer) with us to Nyegezi Corner church where Tim was preaching (and did a great job). Afterwards, we met with Bahati Daudi (who attends this church) and he showed us his progress in the tree nursery outside. There is still a long way to go, but he is doing well and next week I hope to take him, Joseph and a load of his trees to go tree-planting at the Kisesa farm.

Tim preaching in the newly enlarged church building! Always amazingly decorated!
Amisadai and Louisa check out some of the trees

Tim with Daudi (centre) and Joseph (right)
At this point, after a long service and tree nursery chat, we were getting rather hungry. Esther had invited us all to her house having arranged lunch preparations for us. But the pastor was also expecting us all to eat at his house. So we went there first! It was past 3pm when we were treated to an amazing spread of food at Pastor Isaac's house. But then, rather than go straight to Esther's for lunch number two, we thought it best to go first to Tambukareli Church where the stove group meets. I must confess that Tim and I were both prepared at this point for disappointment. We have not had the time we wanted to invest in this group since the initial training last November. And factoring in the fact that the kiln had collapsed in the heavy rains of December, expectations were not high. But we were so positively surprised!

Clay Stove Group Surprise

The group had fixed and rebuilt the kiln. It was brilliant! And they had continued to make stoves. And they were brilliant! We were thrilled with the way they had taken on the project and worked together and worked things out. The good quality clay and careful work produced some excellent quality stoves. No cracks!

The group shows us the stoves

A good meeting with the Tambukareli Stoves Group

And so to our great surprise they were talking about firing these stoves very soon and starting to sell! We had a good meeting discussing the way forward. Unfortunately with Tim leaving for the UK, this leaves me a little in the lurch and a little out of my comfort zone ... I will need to return in a few weeks to oversee the firing (a first for this group) and also do the training on marketing and demonstrating the stove. We have always done this together in the past ... a whole family effort with Tim doing the main chunk of the teaching, me doing the cooking demo, and the girls ably helping with dramas to teach the marketing aspect! So I will miss Tim in England and the girls at school ... and no Ezekiel or Mendriad to help either! But we are excited to be moving ahead with this group. We hope to get some group T-shirts made as soon as possible and are talking about how the group will move out to do village training when we return to Tanzania in August. And this will be a very good thing this year ...

As you have probably already read in the previous post, there is increased risk at the moment for older women accused of being witches. This is a result of the increase in attacks and killings of children with albinism and people using soothsayers to "discover" the cause of the murders or misfortune. But the women accused are often targeted simply because of their red eyes, a result of the smoke from cooking in unventilated spaces over a three stone fire. A village stove project run by a local church is a good platform from which to address some of the issues involved here. May the churches here shine light and truth into the darkness and wickedness of the witchcraft that is so prevalent.

From Pastor Isaac's, we went to Esther's home for lunch number 2 which by now was easily more like dinner, approaching 5pm! I just love the hospitality here ... No one really minds when it all happens, as long as the guests are served food. Or sodas. We had so many offers of sodas that day. As Amisadai said just before we got to Esther's house, "I am just so fizzed up inside, I don't think I can drink another soda!" Esther was probably pretty fizzed up herself and kindly served us mango juice!

Louisa LOVES Esther, and particularly loves her shoe collection!
I seriously don't know how Esther manages to walk in them around here!


  1. Praying for you, Mongers, and you specifically, Rachel as you manage the "homefront" as Tim departs!

    God is with you.--Austin


Please leave us message! We love to hear your news and thoughts too!