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

Sunday, 5 January 2020

A Good Year End!

Before Christmas it was a fantastic, (albeit exhausting!) flurry of activity and also sales for the Upendo wa Mama group! We have so much to be thankful for!
Mama Monika dips candles
Always a laugh in the workshop! 
In the first week of November, there was a Charity Fair at the International School. This was followed by a busy week with Emma, coming for the second time from Trinity Western University in Canada, working on a project aimed at helping mothers of children with albinism. She came with her two professors involved in the project, Barb and Sheryl, and it was wonderful to have them all with us. They are doing such great work and were just so encouraging and loving to all of us.
It was a lovely treat for our whole family having these three!

Sheryl and Barb with us at the Mamas workshop!
The following week both Penina (Upendo wa Mama Chairwoman) and I went to Dar es Salaam to meet with the group there to prepare for the big Artisan Market. Emma, Sheryl and Barb had gone on before us, working at the UTSS office, and it was lovely to meet up with them while I was there!  It was unbearably hot (Penina was struggling with the heat even more than me!) but we survived! We spent two days of preparation at Mama Happy's; on the second day were also joined by Emma, Sheryl and Barb, giving time to the women to share their stories, there heart, their heartache.
The Upendo wa Mama Dar es Salaam Group

With these lovely women who treated me to an amazing dinner on my first evening in Dar!

What a treat!
I can't really seem to put all of those five days into words! Finding Uber taxis who would take me from my little 'guesti' all the way out beyond Pugu is the first challenge at 6:30 in the morning. Then driving for over two hours in crazy traffic. Then working in extreme heat with an oven and gas stove with hot beeswax in a small space with many women. And then when the work is done, unable to find an Uber taxi that will come and pick me up! Both days I ended up traipsing on foot down the dirt road with either Faudhia (the new amazing UTSS staff member!) on the first day or Penina on the second day, from Mama Happy's house with armfuls of materials and products! Getting to the main road and then walking until a daladala (small minibus) passes by … then squeezing (yes, literally, SQUEEZING) in and riding it until we are in "Uberland" once again (nearer the city) and can find an Uber taxi to get back to my guesti. By which time I'm very hot, very hungry and very tired! But at the same time, it is just wonderful working with these women and so encouraging to see them so enthusiastic! And it was particularly wonderful this time to have Penina with us all, and for the first time see a real connection between the two groups!
Cutting beeswraps

Making Lotion Bars

The road back
The day of the Artisan Market, was extremely hot … so hot that we had to change our table as the lack of shade (even as we set up at 8am) was dangerous for the people with albinism (and indeed would have fried my white skin!) and was also was melting all the beeswax! It was a long day, but it was wonderful! The women did so very well. It was the second time the Dar group had sold at a fair and with help from Faudhia, they were amazing! We sold a record amount of products and found new customers and received more orders!
Smiles all round! (and yes, that is sweat my T-shirt is soaked in!)

With Faudhia, our amazing UTSS helper!

Also while we were in Dar es Salaam, Penina gained a granddaughter! There in Dar, her daughter gave birth and Penina was able to go straight to the hospital from Mama Happy's!

The following Saturday, it was the Mwanza Fair … so another crazy week on our return, quickly replenishing stock after the success of Dar which had cleared us out! And then I had three days before leaving for Uganda in which the group had to finish orders going to lodges in Maasai Mara, Kenya and also Zanzibar! Whew!
At the Pasha Craft Fair in Mwanza

When I returned from Uganda, we went to visit Jeni, one of the group who recently had a baby. Yes, there has been the arrival of three babies in our group recently (daughters for Jeni and Zuena and a granddaughter for Penina). All of us piled into the land cruiser and in terrible rainstorm conditions drove over 2 hours out of the city to find her house … which proved harder than we thought and on some rather muddy roads!

But it was lovely to see Jeni and meet her little daughter! We shared chai and cake and then, when I thought we were leaving to return to Mwanza, we actually starting cooking lunch! We stayed to enjoy a meal of rice and chicken together which was lovely! It was a really special time of thanksgiving as we finished our work for what has been an amazing year of growth! We read together Mary's song of praise as the season of advent dawned and we celebrated the joy of birth and the goodness of God to us all! And then we headed back to Mwanza, again in rather torrential rain!

"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour!"

Cooking lunch at Jeni's

Enjoying lunch together

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rachel, Tim, Amisadai and Louisa! we loved reading your post just now! We were so privileged to be a wee part of your 2019 story. Your presence there in Tanzania, with the mamas impacted by albinism, is life-changing on all fronts!
    warmly, Sheryl, Barb, and Emma (we're at our computers, working on some data analysis!)


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