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

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Slow-cooked Stoves

Once again, as I sit to update the blog, it is encouraging to look back at a week and see all those positive threads holding things together! We had a major rainstorm on Tuesday. Torrential hard rain for a significantly long time. The power cut out yet again and Tim couldn't get home on the flooded roads; he saw two cars carried off in the torrents and so had to wait it out! But amazingly, none of all this water came up in our house! Very thankful!

Managing the girls schedule recently has been rather a full-on task! They have been busy with school events (Thursday night was the "50/50 Africa Meets Asia" Fashion Show), extra rehearsals, and preparing for Amisadai's 4-day school trip to Ngorogoro Crater and Oldapai Gorge. (She left very early this morning, so hopefully you will hear all about it soon, on her blog!). Organising pick-ups and drop-offs for everything in the midst of a busy week with Andrew from Iringa staying with us and many village visits and a planned two day trip to Malya has been complicated! But I am so thankful for good friends here! Friends who help to fill the gaps, switch a car pool drive; friends who are willing to have the girls overnight in a school week. And friends who a few weeks ago, dropped off a whole meal with amazing treats in a huge basket just because they know that things are difficult and they care. Very thankful.

And another thing to be thankful for ... we have finally been able to secure tax exception for our new landcruiser! This has been a 5 month complicated process! Again ... very thankful!

Fuel-Efficient Stoves

Remember these? These are the stoves that we made in training many, many months ago with the help of Mendriad and Hosea from Magozi. Well, finally, after such a long time of waiting (for people, for money, for firewood, for the rain to stop, for the kiln to be rebuilt ....!), the stoves were fired last week in Tambukereli! It is hard sometimes for us not to jump in and rescue things and get things moving at a faster pace, but that is simply what suits us and our personal "goals" and not usually what works best for the people actually involved in the project. It's worth the wait in the end! Forty four stoves were successfully fired, many lessons learned, and it was great to have Andrew there when they were all unloaded from the kiln! We are encouraged to see this project moving slowly forward once again and hope these stoves will be sold and become known for their benefits! We are hoping that Daudi and Medard who are carrying on the work, will become good stoves trainers for future village projects.
The loaded kiln

Unloading the stoves from the kiln

 


Conservation Agriculture

Things continue to grow amidst the weather difficulties on the Conservation Agriculture front. We checked up on some of the farms in Kayenze when we were there last week. William planted his maize last month and we were impressed with his amazing mulching! When we went with Andrew last week to have a look, we could see the shoots appearing through the mulch, and despite the dry weather, there was excellent moisture levels in the soil under the mulch! Good lessons learned! Tim is returning to Kayenze on Monday with Esther, who will taking on more responsibility for the work while we are back in the UK.
At William's shamba

You can see the moisture of the soil underneath!
 
A beautiful sight!

Beekeeping

And finally what about those bees? Well, while Andrew was with us, we had a trip to the hives in both Kisesa and Kayenze. The bad news first. The hive in Kisesa had fallen yet again from the tree in the huge storm on Tuesday. The bees had scattered, the beautiful honeycomb lay ruined on the ground, eaten by maggots. But we were able to get the hive cleaned, baited and then rehung with wire in the tree and now pray those bees come back! The good news: we added two more hives on the demonstration farm plot there.

Container Hives! These two bring the hive total in Kisesa to three!
In Kayenze, it was good to get all the beekeepers together for our first meeting since training began! Unfortunately the carpenter wasn't ready with the hives, so that delayed things rather. But we were able to hang two more hives at Mama Meriziana's farm, under the shade of a mango tree. Two more have since been hung at Amos' farm, bringing the total number of Kayenze hives now to seven!

Tim tries on the stylish sack-and-net bee hat that women have started making 
In Malya we again had carpenter problems, and due to the poor state of the hive made, were unable to hang it. We arrived in Malya planning to stay two days doing two meetings (one with beekeepers, one later with the Mamas Group). However when we arrived, both groups were there in the morning wanting to start. So I started with the mamas while Tim worked out things for the hives and then we ended up teaching simultaneously in the same room! Not ideal, as some of the mamas were also in the beekeeper group, but both went well nonetheless! We both began in our respective groups with reflection on Ps. 119:97-105 which likens the Word of God to honey. What a sweet gift we have in the Word of God! A word which gives joy, which satisfies and feeds, which is also a light (candle) to our path and a balm for our soul. 
Hanging two hives in the mango tree at Mama Meriziana's in Kayenze

As original plans go out the window, as entire sets of top bars have to be remade, as cold water is mistakenly poured into boiling wax ready for candles, as we are continually faced with needs we cannot meet, my inclination is to be frustrated because of what I cannot control. But if I am here to serve and empower others, being in control is not what I am to be about at all! Living a grace-filled, patient life, loving and serving is what is needed! That might mean doing, it might mean saying, but most often it will mean being and listening ... and letting things go!

And on another note ... If you haven't already done so, (thank you to those who already have!) we would love it if you could take a quick moment to complete this short survey to help the Women's Group decide which products to start selling! As well as a local Tanzanian market, we are looking at the tourist market, so your opinion will help us! Thank you so much!
 
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