Saturday, 7 July 2012

Tanzania calling - July 7 2012

At last I have a little free time - no rush, rush, rush. Bishop Brian arrived last night after a three hour delay to find us all in a cafe having a beer!! Today has less pressures on it. The girls from Trinity have gone off to the dress makers to arrange some more outfits - well girls must shop!! Linda has gone off to the bank to challenge the awful rate they gave us yesterday, so much less than at the airport. We are then off to visit Queen Esther's boarding school for girls.
The week has been going very well. Extremely busy with four days spent at Chitemo and Nyhinila villages. Trinity have been working with the orphans children. They have done a fantastic job organising activities. Art work, which now hangs up in both churches, games, sport, teaching of English through songs and actions. The Pastor and the villagers have been blown away by it all. I spent much of my time in discussion with the village committees who are organising the building of the school for the orphans. In fact they have now decided to build one in each village which makes sense and reduces the travel time for the mothers. I was taken to see where they have been collection the stones for the building work. I thought 'stones' little things you can pick up in you hand - no they are boulders that they dig out of the mountain and then have to break up. This is done by men and women alike. I tried to pick up a 'stone' no way. Also I visited where they have been making the mud bricks, collecting the sand and the two sites for the schools. The people have been working so hard, are so committed to the project. I am so proud of them. Any work will end by November when the rainy season starts and they then have to work on the land. It will start again at the end of April 2013. So work had quite short windows. I have deposited money into their account so that they can hire a lorry to transport the stones to the villages. This will cover the cost of the fuel and service of the vehicle which is been hired from the Diocese.

So far we have visited St Luke's Maternity Clinic, the Cathedral for two services,the villages of Berege, Chitemo and Nyhinila. The church of St Paul's Mpwapwa, Bishop Jacob of Mpwapwa. At all these venues the team from Trinity have had to introduce themselves and say a little something about themselves and have done so well. I feel talked out as I have to give talks on just about every subject, they must think I am a fountain of all knowledge - but that is what Canon's do they tell me. Where all the words come from I really do not know it must be divine inspiration and I just love it. The people are so receptive, pay attention, really want to listen, to learn and they give so much to us. There huge smiles, great care and love for us. Everywhere we go in our vehicle people wave, call out to us and it must be nice things because they are smiling!

Tomorrow will be a big day at the Cathedral. All the dignitaries of the diocese will be there, including our Bishop Brian of Tonbridge. Two men from the diocese are being ordained Deacons, one of the Trinity girls, Harriet is being baptised and confirmed. She will never forget the day. Linda is reading a text from the Bible in Swahili, Nick (Trinity Chaplain) is reading the Gospel in English and I am assisting with Holy Communion. I would guess the service will last about 5 hours. The  sermon will be at least 1 1/2 hours and that is considered short here! It will be such an experience for Trinity. I must mention Ed who is an Assistant Head from Trinity. We call him 'tool man' whatever needs fixing or I.T. understanding, Ed is the man. He being a science teacher really is a fountain of all knowledge. The two Trinity boys, brothers (twins) are great, Josh and Daniel. For the first couple of days they were quite a challenge for Ed to get them to go to bed at a reasonable hour but after long busy days it doesn't seem to be a problem now! The girls, Faith, Antalia and Harriet are a delight. Faith never stops eating and there is nothing of her, she also never stops talking. Antalia is quieter and thoughtful. She is also a keen photographer and is our official photographer. Harriet is the 'wild thing' we always know when she is  around - so full of beans - a great personality. Nicky (chaplain) has the responsibility of all the young people and really is a mother hen to them.

On Monday Trinity will be working with a primary school in Mpwapwa town while Bishop Brian, Linda and myself visit the village of Chipogoro which is the furthest away in the diocese. I love this village. The pastor - Michael Zacharias is a big bear of a man and so gentle. He is also the Dean of the area and made me his assistant Dean in 2009!! We bought him through our Link fund last year a motor bike so that he could travel around his very big area and visit all the churches. It was fun travelling last year to the capital Dodoma to buy a motor bike - we are so fortunate with our driver Rajabu who does all the negotiating for us.  This year as we travel to the diocese of Kondoa next Wednesday we shall stop off again to buy a motor bike for the pastor of Chitemo, kindly donated by Nicky. He again will be able to travel around his 8 churches in some comfort and with speed instead of having to walk for many miles each time. I have mentioned Linda but not said much about her. We have been travelling out here together for the past four years. We share everything and thankfully are of the same character and nothing bothers us. We love 'African time' which means you have an itinerary but times alter according to the moment - and everything is started with a cup of tea and something to eat. This had been difficult for Trinity to understand and they have always wanted to get on with everything - quick,quick, quick, as in the U.K. However, everything gets done in the end.
Linda also spends her time during our travels shouting out of the window to everyone - Yoo,Yoo. So I call her Mrs Yoo and I must admit at times I have to tell her to be quiet and give it a rest! She is a great partner and I couldn't do it all without her.

Tuesday it is off to St Michael's church at Kongwe and sadly Trinity will be leaving us. Wednesday we leave for a very long journey to the Diocese of Kondoa. It will take about 8 or 9 hours including the stop in Dodoma. Kondoa is a very poor Diocese with many problems and we are going there to discuss all the issues with the new Bishop and see where the Diocese of Rochester can be of assistance in the future.

It is now time to move on to the next visit. I am sorry I have not been able to put any photographs on the blog as yet. I shall have to ask 'tool man' if he can help. Keep in touch with us through the blog. It would be nice to receive some comments. Until next time, Yolande

The team from Trinity,Ed Harriet,Nicky,Antalia,Faith,Daniel,Josh  with our driver,Rajabu and two members from Nyhinila village.


  1. Wow, Mum, it all sounds awesome and I don't know where you found the time for such a wonderful blog update. It is so inspiring to read and so exciting to hear how well the villages are progressing with the preschool project.
    Back here at base camp UK, Gary has made some more changes to the web site so check it out if you have a free nano second! I have three bin bags full of boys school shirts and trousers donated from Cumnor house boys school, and I'm hoping there'll be more to come.
    So pleased you're having a fabulous time there as always. Hope the service goes well tomorrow and look forward to seeing you home next week, we all miss you loads. Lots of love, hugs and kisses, Rebecca xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Peter Thompson16 July 2012 at 07:35

    Hi Yolande, I had to read your 7 July blog three times to take in everything you said. Do you realise you are operating at the same height as the top of Snowdon, the highest mountain in the UK. Orpington is 90 metres above sea level, Mpwapwa is 948 and Snowdon is 1085. Reduced oxygen in your blood must zap you somewhat and lower your resistance.Please be careful. And now you are off to Kondoa (I saw... The team from Trinity seem to have done a fantastic job. They must have been a joy to work with. At their age........!

    I have spoken to TM a couple of times while you have been away. I caught him at a strong moment the first time (I was still laughing some 20 minutes after)and a little less so today. Had a brief chat with RD also. My parting comment was that you should "mind the furniture" when you return. Much love Peter.

  3. Peter Thompson16 July 2012 at 08:47

    Me again. Should have mentioned that I was talking to Alan Mustoe yesterday (he preached at the Dedication Choral Evensong last night)about Mpwapwa and his contact with Bishop Simon. I said that I thought he had retired and he replied..."Yes, he was retired when we first met him... but there’s ‘retired’ and there’s ‘retired’ ! Do send our best wishes to Yolande and if she meets Bp Simon likewise". P.

  4. Habari Mama and Linda, it's great to be able to catch up with things in Mpwapwa (and in time Kondoa). It sounds like you are having an amazing time and have been blessed in so many ways - not least by the party from Trinity who sound like they have fitted in so well to life in Tanzania. It brings back so many memories of the people and the places to read your blog, many thanks for persevering to overcome the IT problems. Have fun, stay safe, share love. Mikey x