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

Monday, 27 February 2017

From the UK Half

Apologies! The blog has recently been seriously neglected!

Rachel and Amisadai are now in the UK while Tim and Louisa have stayed in Tanzania. Amisadai is undergoing tests and seeing doctors to try and get to the bottom of what has been going on with her health. We have been here two weeks now but many blood test tubes later, don't have a whole lot to report yet! After a rather difficult journey, Amisadai is actually doing much better now we are here ... which is good, but a little unhelpful and confusing! We are making the most of special time with Grandma and have enjoyed seeing cousins and friends. It feels extremely cold here, but we are very grateful for warm clothes and shoes lent to us by kind friends for our time here! In between appointments (medical and social!) Amisadai is working to keep up with schoolwork assignments!
In Doha Airport: Not so good

At Grandma's with Roast Beef Dinner: much better!
It was very special timing to arrive in time for my Grandad's funeral. He passed away, sadly just a few days before we arrived. Last week, it was really wonderful to have the unexpected time with my parents who came over from Canada, and then on Thursday with all the extended family at the funeral. It was a really special day, honouring a wonderful man who has left us such a rich legacy of faith, love and prayer.
Wonderful memories of fun with Grandma and Grandad!
Meanwhile Tim and Louisa are doing a grand job of looking after each other! The first week was half term and wonderful friends made it a very fun time for Louisa! Last week it was "back to school" and Tim had a busy week of teaching at the college. They were in Kayenze on Sunday where Tim was preaching on Romans 8 and are thankful and happy to report that it has been raining! Farmers have now been planting both in Kayenze and Sengerema so please join us in praying for the germination and growth of these seeds, for good rains and a fruitful harvest to come.

Before coming to England, I was at the ECHO Agricultural Symposium in Arusha with Peter and also our Iringa colleagues, Andre and Jesca. At the time, it was hard being away that week with so much going on as travel plans were being arranged for Amisadai, who that same week also went down with malaria, and then with my Grandad weakening and passing away. It seemed hard to focus on pigeon peas and weeds at the time. But ECHO is a fantastic organization and in hindsight, it was a great time with other people doing similar agricultural work to us. It was great to have all we are doing reinforced and encouraged as well as good to learn new things and feed thoughts and ideas for future work.

It was exciting to pick up on the buzz about pigeon peas this year!
We are already pigeon pea enthusiasts! I could write a whole blog post on them ...

The medicinal garden at ECHO inspired me to persevere with this in Mwanza!

I came back with Chaya cuttings, excited about working with our farmers with this "spinach tree!"
It has been rated Number 4 in the top leafy plants for protein and I could write
another whole post about its benefits and uses!
We learned all about this aggressive and terribly damaging weed,
Parthenium hysterophorus. Watch out for this wicked one!
As I close this post, I must say how incredibly grateful we are for wonderfully loving and supporting friends everywhere! So many with Tim and Louisa in Tanzania. So many here in the UK with Amisadai and myself. And many others encouraging and supporting us from other places! Thank you all!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Amisadai Evacuated Again!

Life has continued in its normal irregular fashion and I'll a give a few updates in a moment. But it has been strangely hard to focus properly with Amisadai's health problems. She has continued to have these strange episodes, with dizziness and pain and occasional blacking out. She is up and down with it, but it's been a bit of a worry! So to cut a long story short, she is being flown back to the UK for tests which we hope will be conclusive and find a way to bring her back to normal.

The tentative plan after talking with the insurance company and medical team yesterday is that Amisadai will fly back with Rachel on Sunday (12th) and stay with Tim's mum in Basingstoke while we sort things out. Tim and Louisa will remain here in Mwanza, Tim carrying on with work here and Louisa at school, which seems the best plan as we have no idea how long Amisadai will have to remain in the UK.

It hasn't been easy knowing what to do. I (Rachel) have been long booked into a Agriculture Conference (ECHO) in Arusha, so the plan is that I will still go to that tomorrow, staying until Saturday. Tim will stay close to home work-wise and we hope Amisadai will be able to finish this week at school before half term. But we take things a day at a time ... she has been in bed again today while Tim took Louisa to the Nyamililio Church near Sengerema. (After Tim had preached and Pastor Tito had preached on Psalm 67, they had another look at the a-maize-ing crop at the church before having lunch at Sharach's house. The picture below doesn't do it justice but the cob Louisa is holding is enormous! They have just returned home after their ferry bumped into another one when docking! It took awhile to get going again, but all's well that ends well!)
Healthy crop of maize
So, friends in the south of England ... we look forward to the possibility of seeing some of you! Everything is very uncertain, but we value your friendship, prayers and support! It will also be lovely if we are in time to visit my Grandad when we get back. He has gone into hospital this week and is very poorly with probably not much longer to live.

Despite the disruption and uncertainty, we are all thankful and relieved that things are moving in the right direction!

Meanwhile, in regular life...

Fantastic Fabrics!

The Mamas Group met again yesterday and Louisa joined us as well for another day of making some amazing fabric! They are fantastic! I was feeling slightly stressed yesterday, and was struggling a little to stay cool with rather chaotic activity involving rather a lot of splashy dye! With mistakes made, too many people with hands in, bundled fabric was dropped in the dye. But at the end of the day, I took a deep breath and realised everything actually came out vibrant and good in the end! It was sad to say goodbye for an undetermined time, but as they prayed at the end for Amisadai, it was precious to know their love and care for us.

Louisa enjoys learning how it's done!

Samantha works with Mama Wilson folding the fabric

What would you do or love to have made with one of these?

Permits and Photos!

As is often the way here, a fair amount of time goes into bureaucratic matters. It has been the season of forms and filling out, and chasing documents as we sort out different work and residency permits. Then with new Canadian regulations, the girls (as dual citizens), are no longer allowed to enter Canada on their British passports so they need Canadian passports. And then Tim and Louisa's British passports expire in a few months, so we need to apply for new ones for them too...

The funny thing is what a palava getting passport photos has been! The different application forms want different sized photos with unique specifications. The poor photo shop in town has been struggling to cope with our family photo requirements. They don't have a computerised system for printing photos to varying specifications. We are talking here about a guy with a camera who hangs a dirty white sheet behind you in the doorway of the shop and shoots. Then with the ruler I lent them, their own pair of scissors and my diagrams of size and proportion, it was trial and error to get what we need. It took several tries and a fair bit of time over three trips (it was closed once)! And now we have piles of little photos of varying sizes of our heads!

Working with the Bishops

We had a really positive and also pretty important meeting on Thursday with the new Bishops and their assistants. Also with Joel and Samantha, Bishop Charles and Pastor Zakayo, it was an excellent time of sharing about our work in community development through the church and how we can best work together.
Zakayo sharing at the meeting

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Newbys Join the Team!

We are really excited to see our team growing! And I want to introduce you here to our new co-workers/friends!
Hephzibah, Joel and Samantha in the States for Christmas!

Joel and Samantha Newby with their gorgeous little girl, Hephzibah, have just returned from visiting the United States where they have been busy meeting family and friends and raising the support they need to live and work here. Now, as they come to the end of securing work and residence permits for Joel, they will be starting to work with us here!

Joel (from Montana, US) and Samantha (from Mwanza) were married last May and live here in Mwanza. Joel has been living here since 2013, working with a church involved in rural development. With his education in business administration, Joel is going to be a huge asset in our work with the churches, as one of his roles will be offering training and help with entrepreneurship projects for social transformation. We are looking forward to what he may do with chickens and goats!
Samantha, trained as a clinical assistant, has been a full-time single mom to Hephzibah for the past five years. She has already been along to the Upendo wa Mama group a few times and is looking forward to helping more with these women! She came along today and was an invaluable help figuring out application forms for the upcoming sewing training! The women have warmly welcomed her into the group and with all her creativity and skill, she will be a wonderful person to have around! Both Joel and Samantha have a heart for strengthening the church in discipling children and have started a children's church program for kids ages 4-10.
We are thrilled that we have joined together with them and look forward to all that they will add to the work with the church here in Mwanza! And even more exciting ... they are multiplying the team themselves - very soon a new little Newby will be arriving! All very exciting!