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

Monday, 26 September 2016

One Fine Week

Sitting here in the dark during a power cut, Tim and I are sort of laughing. Trying to figure how things went so drastically from bad to worse. Tim is lying out flat with an elevated ice-packed ankle, unable to walk after getting bees in his boots. I am ringed with stings on my arms, but not as puffed up as Tim. It's been quite a day. It's actually been quite a week or two.

Today was the day that I hoped things would finally "work out." Tim and I were going to Kisesa, hoping to harvest some honey. We were up high on the roof of the container when it all started to go pear-shaped. There was some honey for the taking, but we got just a little overwhelmed by the situation. Bees were agitated. Bees were everywhere. We were seriously outnumbered. And way out of our comfort zone on the roof with them all trying to sting us. We escaped down the ladder without getting things closed up. We walked through bushes and trees, smoking ourselves, desperately trying to lose the bees. Finally things calmed down and we came back and climbed back on the container to get things sorted out up there.

Wham! Attack of the Bees! It was insane. Bees stinging us through our suits, going down Tim's boots. We did the best we could in the circumstances and escaped again down the ladder, but half the colony chased us out. We ran. We walked. We ploughed through trees and bushes. We went round in circles. And more circles. It was so very hot. Tripping in circles over steep cassava mounds of hard dirt. Sweat pouring off me. I lost my hair elastic and wet hair was clinging to my face, and my nose was streaming from the smoke. But with the bee veil over my face, I couldn't do anything but stagger onwards! It's a times like this I wonder what on earth I am doing. WHY? I even started singing in a rather desperate kind of gentle way to the bees in hopes that I could calm them all down. But I didn't lose them. I lost Tim. I lost the hive tool. Tim lost the car keys. That could have been serious. We had been walking for over an hour through every tree and bush in the vicinity trying to lose the bees. But amazingly, Tim found the car keys!

Finally, with me way up the road, Tim hopped in the drivers seat and with windows open drove to pick me up. I climbed in and tried to lose more bees. It wasn't working with lots of bees in the back of the land cruiser. So I sat on the back with my legs holding both doors wide open as we bounced along the dirt road trying again to lose the bees. Finally we had the car to ourselves and were able to strip off our sweaty bee suits and gulp some much needed water.

This is the only photo from this bee adventure. It was that stressful.
This is me holding the two doors open with my feet as we try to lose the bees out the back.
Epic bee adventure yet again. And we didn't even get the honey. Someone reminded me of Winnie the Pooh devoting his life to getting honey... and getting stung. And I feel much sympathy for that honey-lovin' bear. And rather like that Bear of very little brain, I will keep on trying for that honey!

We arrived home, hot, tired and gutted. Only to find Louisa's rabbit dead from her injuries after a dog attack. And after burying her, we are now all out to try and save her 10-day old bunnies.

Amisadai feeding the little kits.
Bees and bunnies aside, it's been a busy full-on time for the Mamas. Wednesday's and Saturday's have been a hive of activity in our new "workspace" as we have worked on finishing products to sell in Canada at an UTSS Albinism fundraising Gala next month. It's been a challenge. Our last job was to make candles and we set aside a whole day on our last Saturday to get them all done. To make it through the day, we would all bring food to cook for lunch. I brought a gas burner to cook it on and to melt the candle wax. Unfortunately halfway through our candle-making, the gas ran out. With the torrential rainstorm, we couldn't even light a fire outside. None of the candles worked. And none of us got any lunch.
Working on the candles
We did manage to finish lots of cards
On Thursday, I left early at 6:30am to pick up Peter and head off to Malya for the Bee Group meetings. We were sorting out getting catcher boxes made to catch any swarming bees for our hives. And sorting out who would make them and for how much. Always a little complicated. I was meeting with the mamas and that was a bit of another classic mamas muddle. Mixed up times, mixed up recipes, one mama coming without any of the supplies and heading off on a borrowed bike for an hour to fetch things while the fire went out and the wax went cold.

We were trying to do in one day what we normally do in two days and it didn't altogether work. Never try be over-ambitious with time in Tanzania. I actually really know this. But I thought this time it would be fine. It wasn't fine. I wasn't fine. I recalled Julie and Julia's definition of FINE that day. "Freaked-out, insecure, neurotic and emotional." It seemed rather apt! As the time approached for us to leave at 3pm, I tried to quickly wrap things up and clean things up with the mamas. Then the bee group was so keen that we ate some lunch they so kindly provided for us, and then there were kind gifts of aubergine and spinach to be picked straight from the fields for us. ... And then we hit the bumpy road for the long 3 hour journey back, arriving exhausted and "fine", but to my relief, just before it got dark!

I'll leave it there, but as I try to sum up a week of  "failures" (I have a lot to learn) and tired frustrations, I know I am looking forward to a time of quiet reflection in the midst of the storm tomorrow! Soaps that have over-reacted. Me who has over-reacted. Candles that have holes in. Milk boiled over. Food run out. A rather dirty, messy house (We are missing Angel who helps in our house and is currently at her sisters wedding for two weeks ...which is seeming like an eternity!) Difficulties and problems. Questions and doubts.

How to best serve? How to learn from our failures? How to persevere and when to wisely let go? 


  1. Guys--what a crazy couple of weeks!! Praying for perseverance and wisdom for you this morning. Your cup of tea is waiting for you. :) WE love you guys.

  2. You guys are amazing. In spite of adversity, bouncing back, learning lessons, continuing the journey. persevering and enduring as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Well done good and faithful servants. Feel that's what your heavenly Father would say to you today. Sending love to you all. Grace.xxx

  3. Well this makes me feel better about my (only normally) busy week last week ;) Hang in there guys! you are amazing for all of the things you attempt. You're not failures at all. thanks for being so open and authentic in your journey :) If there is anything we can do to help, please let us know! ~ Jade

    1. Thanks Jade! You are doing amazing with plenty on your own plate! Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. You know what... you and your family give me hope. I'm up here in the middle of the night in the states unable to sleep thinking about all of the hatred in our country right now with the crazy politics, and school shootings, and gun violence, and I click on your blog and there you guys are serving others, getting stung, having days off school because of political protests and I'm so thankful for people like you who are willing to be in the trenches. You are a reminder that there is goodness in the world.


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