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

Friday, 2 November 2018

Goats, Bees and Varcoes

I am working backwards here in the blog! So before Zanzibar and before the Mamas big order deadline, we had a great visit with David and Ineke Varcoe who came just to support and encourage us, which is just exactly what they did! It was wonderful to have them with us and they treated us in so many ways! Kicking a football, singing and playing Phase 10 ... the girls especially loved having them around! They also came with us on many visits and encouraged so many of the people we are working with as well!

David and Ineke were with us for the birth of Stanley (Park), born to our Saanen goat! We now have two little kids Sasky and Stanley skipping about, and are enjoying the milk we get from Victoria! We are drinking some, saving some for goats cheese and giving some to the Upendo wa Mama group for Goat's Milk and Honey soap

Victoria and Stanley
Creamy morning goats milk

Kayenze Beekeepers

We had a really encouraging meeting with the beekeepers in Kayenze! They received the money for all the honey they have sold in the first harvest. After all the challenges they have faced, this was just wonderful to celebrate together!  It was such a positive time with deep and meaningful discussion beyond simply the honey. It was a wonderful time of sharing and learning from each other as we talked about London and Kayenze and the role of the church in community. The Kayenze beekeepers are keen to invest their talents and profits and have already paid for three more hives to be made which will be hung to colonise and we hope produce more honey for the next harvest!

We were also able to visit the papaya tree shamba at Alphonse's. As well as papayas and beehives, Alphonse also cares for one of the three Kayenze tree nurseries. It is good to see the tree planting project progressing alongside the beekeeping and agriculture in this area.

We were also able to visit the papaya tree shamba at Alfonse's

Papaya fruit!
The beehive at Alphonse's

Ngudu New Beekeeping Group

We drove further afield together with John, our beekeeping trainer, to the village of Ngudu, a new village for us, where we are starting another beekeeping group. It was great to be with Pastor Wilfred and the church there for a Sunday morning. David preached and after an amazing lunch, we headed out to visit an existing apiary which was struggling in disrepair. But it was great to see the interest in getting beekeeping to flourish in the village! We then returned to the church building where interested new beekeepers from the church gathered for some initial teaching from John about the beekeeping project and how the church can help and serve the whole community through it. We are looking forward to another visit in a few weeks and then officially starting the community group and beekeeping training after Christmas.
After all the other choirs, it was time for the Wageni Wazungu Choir!

Wandering through abandoned hives at the apiary in Ngudu

Kome Island Health Project

Tim went with Peter, David and Ineke to Kome Island for a few days where they met up with Gertrude to see all that is going on with the Health project. Gertrude has been doing a great job managing things while Simon and Victoria have been back in the UK!  They arrived in time for lunch and then they joined the fifteen women in VICOBA group run by Pastor Margaret. The group is going well - they meet weekly to deposit a small amount money. This scheme helps them to save and support one another and later on they can take out loans to start small enterprises amongst other things. While the women, Gertrude and Ineke continued with a health meeting, Tim, David and Peter went with Margaret to the mid-week church meeting where David spoke. Margaret is an incredible woman, passionate and committed and very supportive of the project. They all enjoyed sharing a meal in her home at the end of the day. The following day, they went to another village where Peter did some training on conservation agriculture for a group of fifteen there. They then returned to Margaret's village and did the same for a group there as well. The churches in both villages are going to plant a demonstration farm this season and we hope to start more training with more in the communities.

It was also good to see how the sanitation teaching is catching on! Simon had taught Pastor Daudi how to make and use the Tippy Tap, erecting one outside the outhouse at his home. The house with the Tippy Tap is now essentially a public toilet for all the school kids who want to use Pastor Daudi's outhouse, just so they get to wash their hands at the Tippy Tap! Wonderful! It was fantastic for Ineke in particular to see the work progressing on Kome as she walked a long 100km in 24 hours last year to raise funds for this project!

The only damper on the trip was at the end! Peter, David and Ineke all boarded the ferry to head to the mainland. But Tim, driving the landcruiser, was booted out the way and left behind on the island! The others had to wait three hours on the other side for him to get across!

Ferry from Kome Island 

The Women's VICOBA group meeting

David preaches the small gathering at Margaret's church