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

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Celebrating with People with Albinism

The other week we celebrated in Mwanza the 10th Anniversary of Under the Same Sun, the NGO working to help people with albinism overcome often deadly discrimination through education and advocacy. It was a fantastic opportunity to appreciate as well as celebrate all that UTSS have achieved in these years to help and empower people with albinism!

At the Anniversary Celebration
Rachel speaks on behalf of the Upendo wa Mama women
As well as the celebrations, the Upendo wa Mama group was pleased to welcome Peter Ash, the founder of UTSS, and his team to visit our workshop. We were able to show him the work the women are involved in and serve them all some chai and honey spice cake! We are excited that Under the Same Sun is going to support the mamas group financially as we start a Social Enterprise Bakery and the team was also able to visit the neighbouring site for that. Watch this space … plans are underway and renovations could start very soon!
Peter looks at the all work the Mamas are doing

Site of the new bakery! 
After the Anniversary Celebrations, UTSS hosted a 4-day seminar on trauma counselling with Dr Rhodes. There were over 100 participants who work with people with albinism, including teachers, school matrons, doctors and nurses, social welfare officers and church leaders.
Dr Rhodes teaching the trauma counselling seminar
We joined the UTSS Canada and Tanzania teams at Pastor Charles Mkumbo's church in Mkuyuni on the Sunday before events began. It was wonderful to also have all the children on the UTSS school sponsorship program come from the Musabe Schools for the services. On the following Sunday, we joined the Dar and Mwanza UTSS teams and Dr Rhodes at MICC. Again, it was so great to see all the children there! It was lovely to see them treated with honour and respect as they were saved the centre front seats so that they could see well! As Tim prepares to present next month at the Africa Society of Evangelical Theology on the role of the Church for the Reconciliation of People with Albinism, we are thinking more about how the church together can step up in their role in fighting this battle.

Many of you have long been following our journey with people with albinism, particularly with the lovely women in the Upendo wa Mama Group, and we are so thankful for your prayers. The atrocities faced by people with albinism have been sadly too real. Witchcraft remains as real and powerful as ever, as you may have seen in recent reports on the child murders here and in Njombe(and these are children without albinism). But we pray and work for change. And it is so wonderful to hear the testimonies of the young people who have been through the UTSS education program and been forever transformed! It is so encouraging to hear the testimonies of the mamas and see the hope they have. May the power of love and life through our God be ever powerfully at work against the powers of evil and darkness!

Sunday, 17 February 2019


Today was a much needed day to catch our breath a bit! And now it's time to catch you up a bit!
All set for the Beekeeping Display at the Technology Fair 
While the girls stayed with kind friends in Mwanza, Tim and I set off on Monday with a number of our teammates to Arusha for the ECHO East Africa Sustainable Agriculture Symposium. The land cruiser was very fully loaded: Tim, myself, Peter, Elisha, Bhatendi, Simon, all our luggage, a top-bar hive, honey press, buckets, beekeeping tools, posters, beesuits, mamas products … (no kitchen sink!).

We set off at 4am and arrived without incident in Arusha around thirteen hours later. It was great to meet up at our Catholic Guesthouse with our E.I. Iringa colleagues, Andre and Ibrahimu, and also our good friend Dorothea from Shinyanga.

At the back of the land cruiser with all the gear!
The symposium was a brilliant opportunity for us all to be together as we were learning, thinking and talking about ideas through the various presentations and workshops. There were a great number of people from across East Africa and a good number from other African and European countries as well as North America. It was a good time for networking with so many doing similar work ... especially while enjoying huge quantities of amazing food throughout the day! It was a good time to think through what we are doing and changes we can make to improve how we do things. It was also good to be inspired with new ideas .. such as integrating chickens and fish and goats into the projects... and Simon came back fully inspired with the potential for poop and pee!

And it was very exciting to have Emmanuel International on the program this year! On Wednesday afternoon we had a Beekeeping and Beeswax table at the Technology Fair. It was a great opportunity to talk with many people about top-bar beekeeping and showcase the potential of beekeeping, and also beeswax through the Mamas products.

Chatting with the participants at the Technology Fair 
On Thursday afternoon, I had the opportunity to present on "An Integrated Approach to Community Beekeeping." I was keenly excited (and yes, rather terrified) at the prospect of sharing my enthusiasm for beekeeping with others and really hoped to raise some interest in the huge potential for top-bar beekeeping as part of an integrated project with missional development, conservation agriculture/tree planting and also entrepreneurship. It really seems to me that if we are discussing Conservation Agriculture as well as rural poverty alleviation, we also need to be talking about bees and their pollination and income-generating potential! And so feeling completely out of my comfort zone, I launched into the seminar. And it was exciting to talk to so many interesting, interested people! There were very few in the seminar who were actually beekeeping, and the session certainly generated much discussion and questions … and much further interest! I have now brought home a list of these interested people and their contact details and have said we will start a Beekeeping Networking Forum which I thought would be for East Africa .. but it looks like it will go a little wider!

After the Symposium, there was time for a little "market research" at this lovely bakery in Arusha! Tim and I checked out these awesome croissants and I met with the chef as we now prepare for the start of the Mamas Bakery this spring!

Best research! 
We headed home to Mwanza early on Saturday. We made it almost 600km before we popped a tire! Unfortunately it was just as the heavens opened with horizontal rains! But with a team of six, we had the all the honey equipment out, the spare tire out, the flat tire off and then all back together in almost Formula One record time! Just a bit wet! We thankfully got all the way home before a slow puncture on another tire stopped us! Happy to be home!

Friday, 8 February 2019

Two More Goats and some Cheese

Look who just arrived this week! Meet Brunswick (in honour of our Canadian teammate, Laura) and Miss Alouette pictured here with Louisa!

Louisa with Alouette

Their grand arrival in the Land Cruiser
We have long been looking to get some more milking goats and Elisha helped us to find these two! Tim and Louisa went with him to collect the two goats and bring them back here to their new home. Brunswick's job as the only male on the property, is now to quickly make good friends with Alouette, Victoria and Vancouver! And then we wait for some more kids to arrive and the milk to flow!

Meanwhile we are continuing to enjoy Victoria's milk which is going to the Upendo wa Mama group for Goat's Milk soap and also into some fun experimenting with cheeses. We have enjoyed Butter Paneer, grilled Haloumi with tomato and basil and some nice soft cheese on crackers! It is quite amazing how quick and easy it is to make a round of cheese. Get it going before bed and it's ready the next day for tea!
Early stages of the Goat's Milk Cheese process: 
Curds in Whey

Straining the curds

Pressed and ready with some freshly home-baked sourdough bread

This was exciting!
 Some of our soft goats cheese on sourdough with tomato and basil
 served with some of our  freshly harvested sweetcorn!
The past few weeks have been ridiculously crazy busy with just so much happening … some hard challenges and some very exciting things and then rather a lot in between! (And sadly in it all, I think I killed my sourdough starter). But I will have to save more updates for another day as I am struggling to keep my eyes open here!