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

Monday, 23 January 2017

When You're Down in a Ditch...

I leaned against the concrete wall at the bottom of the deep ditch at the side of the road. Breathe in. And out. Slowly my head caught up with my body as I watched people scrambling about in the ditch picking up the contents of my shopping basket and purse. "Ehhh! Pole! Pole sana!" people cried in sympathy as a small crowd had assembled after my rather dramatic fall into a ditch. A kind young guy then helped me out of the ditch and I assured everyone I was fine and gratefully accepted my bags and sympathetic assistance. People are so overwhelmingly kind! Slowly I limped to the car where I thankfully climbed in with tears stinging my eyes and mopped up the bleeding bits. A silly stumble. Scratches, bumps and bruises but nothing broken! It has been that kind of time recently. Hard pressed on every side but not crushed!

Soon after our last blog post, Tim had a good week away in Dodoma attending TAG meetings and then in Iringa, visiting our colleagues in Iringa. It was at this time that Amisadai started going downhill healthwise again. It started getting worse when she came off the medication she started back in November in Nairobi. She has been up and down with nausea, dizziness and abdominal pain for two weeks now and we have been contacting doctors and insurance all over again, trying to figure out what to do with her.


The situation continues to be serious here in Tanzania this year due to the very poor rains. We met with Peter and Esther for breakfast this past week to talk about the Conservation Agriculture Project, and Tim has been out with the farmers in Kayenze today. From what people say, this has been the driest rainy season in over 15 years and we are yet to see the full effects of the drought. But it has been really amazing to see the difference that Conservation Agriculture has made in such dire conditions. But I will talk more about this with some photos in the next post. While Tim was away, our kitchen tap stopped working. I caught myself on how annoyed I was at fetching jugs of water from the bathroom to do things like wash dishes and make a cup of tea. Women in villages are carrying much more than jugs far greater distances than that ... and for more important things than a cup of tea. Perspective.

But the drought affects so much. Yes, rivers are dry and water is scarcer. Livestock are struggling and dying. Crops are drying out without a harvest. Food prices are soaring. Also for our beekeeping projects... the lack of rain means a lack of flowers which means a lack of honey in the hives, which also means a lack of wax. So the effects of the drought carry right down to the Mamas making beeswax products to sell. I met with Innocent, our beekeeper friend last week and he is struggling with no honey to sell. We were able to buy just 3/4 kg of wax from him; so with such a small supply of wax, we are not making candles at the moment.

Upendo wa Mama

I love shopping for materials here!
Vibrant and beautiful!
Now look at this bright side though! Last week, with huge metal cooking pots and plastic basins on our heads, a lady and I were seen traipsing around town (exploring parts I had never seen before), buying metres of fabric and packets of dyes. Rose is a friend who used to be our landlady. She makes beautiful batiks and has agreed to teach the mamas group how! We picked up all the materials we will need and lessons begin this coming Saturday!

This week Tim and I went to a small industries development centre which is home to the Mwanza Sewing Training Centre. Thanks to the generosity of some kind people, we are planning to buy two machines and send two mamas for a week of intensive basic training in March! Exciting steps forward!

At the sewing training centre

Rural Island Health

There has been so much going on the past two weeks for this project! Simon and Victoria Ewing are soon on their way to Tanzania to take on this work and preparations are underway! The big job here has been to get funding! Andy Sharpe has been fantastic heading up this huge proposal-writing challenge, along with lots of help from Dr Makori! But I think more on this will have to wait for another blog post!

Under the Same Sun

This week, in the midst of all this, we have been attending a 4-day seminar hosted by Under the Same Sun on Trauma Counselling with Dr. George Rhodes. It was aimed at teachers, social workers, church leaders and boarding matrons to equip them for working with people (especially children) with albinism who have been traumatised. It has been great to see the guys from UTSS in Dar es Salaam and Canada again and we do hope that attendees in Mwanza will put things they have learned into practice to make a difference in the lives of so many traumatised people.

Home Front

On the house front, we are in a minor state of chaos. A painter arrived while Tim was away in Dodoma to work on the study and bathroom and outside verandah but last week he stopped before finishing as he ran out of paint! We will try and get it finished off this week as I rather desperately want to get everything back to its place and more particularly, have a washing machine and a shower again.

Last night, the kitchen was invaded by large biting ants. The ants won. I padded barefoot into the dark kitchen to make an early morning cup of tea, only to cry out when my toes were bitten. I turned on the light and was horrified at the sight of thousands of ants everywhere in the kitchen! Huge, thick lines of them marching from outside across the tiled floor, through drawers, across counters, piled up in the sink - even in the empty lunch boxes. We had to be out early for the church service, so admitted defeat.

... God will Provide

Last week at the Mamas Group, as we had finished our work for the day, we read the story of Elijah and the widow at Zarapheth.  A story about a widow and her son in a famine as there had been no rain in the land (yes, that bit sounded a little familiar). But dying of starvation, this woman was preparing the last meal for herself and her son from the last of her flour and oil. Then Elijah showed up. Then again later, her son dies. Again, Elijah shows up. And this story is all about what God says (through Elijah). Every word from God in this story is about provision for life. Even when it looked completely like it was too late. The food had run out. Her son had died. But the Word of the Lord came and with it came provision and life. I think sometimes we can all feel at some level like we're at the end (or in something of a ditch), but then God has a way of showing up and His Word is Life!

A harvest of peanuts this week.
This provision of beautiful peanuts is hidden underground before the time comes!


  1. Praying for God's provision in every area of your lives and those around you that you so faithfully serve. Be blessed xxx

  2. Thanks, Carolyne! Sorry to hear about your fall, too! Is this something that happens when you hit forty?!


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