Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Hurrah! We have bought another 'Piki-Piki'

During my last visit in July 2012 I went to Dodoma to organise the purchase of a motor-bike (piki-piki) for Pastor Festo of Chitemo and Nyhinila. This is the third bike I have organised for Tanzania - wouldn't dream of trying to buy one here - I would leave it to the men in my life!  He has 8 churches under his care and only a bicycle or his feet to travel many miles over very rough terrain. Can you imagine any Vicar in this country accepting such a post? Rev Nicky Teverson generously donated the funding for the bike. Unfortunately it has proved difficult to transfer the funds because of incorrect bank details. At last after four months the money has arrived safely. I then had to organise someone to go to Dodoma to finalise the purchase and now I am waiting to hear that the bike has been picked up and is safely in Chitemo. It will make such a difference to Pastor Festo and his care of the congregations in the churches. Perhaps 4 months wasn't that long - I had to wait 3 months to have a couple of arm chairs delivered to my home that were made in this country! Patience is a virtue!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Third Tanzanian Lunch

How time flies - it has been six months since our last lunch and I was overwhelmed by the support yet again.  Forty sat down for a 'Tanzanian' style lunch - well it sort of resembled a Tanzanian meal with a number of extras!!  I'll let you work out the extras. This time the 'lunchers' were using knives and forks instead of the spoon and fingers!  The usual tooth picks were available -very Tanzanian. The first time I went to Tanzania and ate a meal I was offered a paper napkin and tooth pick. I soon found out why. Eating with the fingers required the napkin and the meat was so tough the tooth pick was essential!   Our meal started with an orange juice cocktail - ( juice with a little shot of whisky) accompanied with Tanzanian style peanuts - followed by the main course - rice,chicken (didn't need tooth pick),mixed vegetables and a tomato sauce -sliced  banana,brown sugar and  brandy infused cream - African ginger tea with a mini cake. It's making me feel hungry writing about it.  During tea I gave an update on the building progress and projected recent photographs. The usual great team helped with the serving and clearing up and without having to ask others joined in. We had a table of paper-backs for sale and great fun  with the raffle. The lunch raised over £400 in donations.   Yet again I am amazed at the generosity shown. A big thank you to all the 'lunchers'

Monday, 12 November 2012

Details about Tanzania and Mpwapwa District

Tanzania, East Africa

The United Republic of Tanzania was formed out of the union of two sovereign states namely Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Tanganyika became a sovereign state on 9th December 1961 and became a Republic the following year.  Zanzibar became independent on 10th December 1963 and the People’s Republic of Zanzibar was established after the revolution of 12th January 1964.  The two sovereign republics formed the United Republic of Tanzania on 26th April 1964. However, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania is a unitary republic consisting of the Union of Government and the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government.

Tanzania is in East Africa, just 6 degrees South of the Equator. It is famous for Mount Kilimanjaro (the highest mountain in Africa), the Serengeti national park, the Masai people, and the idyllic beaches on Zanzibar.

Tanzania is around 8 times the land area of the UK (or half the land area of Western Europe) and has just over half the population (36 million) of UK. About half the population of Tanzania are under 15 years old.

Most people in Tanzania speak two languages, Swahili (the language of business, schools, TV, Radio etc.) and their own tribal language (which they speak at home). There are more than 120 different tribes in Tanzania. About 1/3 of the people are Moslem, 1/3 Christian and 1/3 follow traditional religions. Tanzania has been a multiparty democracy since 1995.

Some areas of Tanzania grow coffee, sisal (to make sacking and ropes) for export. Other exports are gold, diamonds, cloves and other spices (from Zanzibar and Pemba).  Near Mpwapwa area it is too dry to grow crops to sell. Most people are subsistence farmers – they have no paid employment, but depend on growing enough food to feed their families. Some work as tailors, carpenters or run corner shops to try and make money to live. Average income in Mpwapwa is about £60 per annum. 

Only 1 in 10 children will get the change to go to Secondary school. Many parents cannot afford the £50 annual fee.  Secondary education is in English. One in five children who are born safely will die before their 5th birthday, mainly from Malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea and measles, with malnutrition making this more likely. One in 20 women will die from complications of one of their pregnancies. One in 9 people are infected with HIV which causes AIDS. These people will almost all die in the next 5 – 10 years. There are already many orphans and also many skilled people such as teachers have died, leaving the work force short of trained people. Many groups are working on trying to help people avoid being infected by the virus.

Mpwapwa Diocese

The Diocese takes in the administrative boundaries of the Mpwapwa and Kongwa Districts (approximately 4144 square kilometres (1600 square miles) in area), which were created before the First World War by the German Colonial Authorities. It is almost centrally located on the Tanzanian mainland, lying between the 5º 30' and 7º latitudes and straddles the 36º longitude line. Its dominant physical features include semi-arid scrubland formed at around 3000ft ~ 4000ft above sea level, and a mountainous belt across the centre with peaks upwards of 7000ft.

Climatically Mpwapwa is relatively cool at night and warm and sunny during the day. The average temperature is 21ºC with average rainfall of 700mm per annum. In good years the rainy season starts from mid-November until the end of April, but about one in every five years it is prone to fail completely. When it rains it should rain almost every day quite heavily for 2 to 3 hours. It is cold enough 17° C  to need a blanket at night from February to June and hot enough +45° C to make air conditioning desirable (but usually not available!) from October to February.  It is a fairly mountainous area and takes 2 days to travel by car from north to south due to poor road conditions. Most people live on the plateau at about 3,500ft   above sea level, though others mainly from the minority Wahehe tribe live atop the 7,000ft mountains which benefit from better rainfall. Traditional ways abound with the fabric of society still enriched by a strong embodiment of the predominant Wagogo Culture as typified by the sound of gourd lutes and ‘Morris’ leg bells.

Mpwapwa Town

Mpwapwa is a market town and is situated in the centre of the Mpwapwa district, with a population of about 30,000 serving an area about the size of Wales. It is rather like a Western film set minus the horses (bicycles instead!). It acts as the administrative centre for the district, with facilities such as a bank, a post office, a court house, a veterinary research centre, a secondary school and a teacher training college. It lies nestled into the edge of the hills, approximately 80km (about 2½ hours drive) from Dodoma.

St Luke's Hospital is situated in the village of Ving'hawe, on the outskirts of Mpwapwa town. The village has a population of approximately 5000, covering a fairly widespread area. About half this number are under 15, and about a quarter are under 5.

Chitemo Village lie south west of Mpwapwa town. It is part of a parish of 8 small churches lead by Pastor Festo Kizuzu. They have a church committee to help vulnerable children and have in their care 157 orphans aged between 1 and 14. This care started in 2008 with just a few children with numbers steadily increasing. There are 3 volunteers who try to give the children activities and some education. They face many challenges one is that there is no building for the children to use, the volunteers are not trained, they have inadequate teaching materials, and insufficient water. The water supply is 6 kilometres away. In the village of Nyhinila which is close to Chetimo there are 165 orphaned children, two volunteers and the same challenges.
The congregation and village people of the villages have been contributing by giving some foods and money to help the development of the orphans.  Three times a year they usually have fundraising days. They contribute things such as food, clothes, soaps, exercise books, pencils, pens, and money and other materials, to assist the children with school fees, health assistance and other pressing needs. They usually have the fundraising days at the beginning of the first and second school terms and at the end of the year.  Some years due to drought it is difficult for the villagers to contribute to the needs of the orhpans because of their own lack of food and funds.  However they don’t lose hope they are doing it using little resource they have.  This is where SEEDS4Tanzania hopes to make a difference in the lives of these children and the people of the villages.
I hope you have found these details of interest and if you are able to support us in any way I shall be most grateful. Rev Canon Yolande Marcussen, Chairman


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Talking about water - another project!

Rev Nicky Teverson and a group of young people from Trinity School, Belvedere, who accompanied me to Tanzania in July have returned inspired. They have decided to raise £4000 towards the cost of a water bore-hole for the village of Chitemo. Although Chitemo has a water supply it is not sufficient, which is always the case. Once the pre-school is up and running this will create an extra drain on the water supply so another bore-hole will be fantastic.

Well done Nicky and Trinity. It is going to be a real challenge raising the funds but what a wonderful gift to the people of Chitemo.  A big thank you from me. Yolande

Life can be very challenging in Tanzania

I have recently received an email from a friend in Tanzania. His name is Baraka Ngobei. He is studying at the Theological College at Kongwa in the Diocese of Mpwapwa. Baraka has a wife Ester and a young son Brighton. He comes from another diocese where he will return once he has completed his studies. At present he has returned home and sent me this email
'Great to hear from you and trust that your husband's health will improve, I am now at home for the short break. I am also doing some find for my research here in the Diocese. Brighton and Ester are in Kongwa and they are all fine. People here at Kiteto have a big problem of water especially these months. The area where my parents live there is no water so they have to travel 20km and above for looking water. Send our greeting to your family and friends. Love to all the family. God Bless. Baraka.'
Water is always a problem - there is never sufficient. It makes me realise how much I take for granted here in England when I turn on the tap and more importantly leave water running.
What I have found which is so wonderful with the people I know in Tanzania that what ever the challenges  they never moan or give up and always have hope for the future. Something that perhaps we could all remember when we think things are a bit tough.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Latest news.....................

July 2012 some of the  orphan children with the volunteer teacher. 'Seeds' will be funding her training to qualify as a pre-school teacher. Her one year course starts in January 2013.
I have received an email from my coordinator in Mpwapwa who has heard from Rev'd Festo the pastor of Chitemo and Nyhinila villages, informing me that the foundations for the two pre-schools  are in the process of being dug. Also as from 23 September the diocesan lorry was  available to transport the stones, mud bricks and sand to the building sites. I am now waiting to hear what funding is required for materials needed to enable the building to go ahead.

Our  website  should be going live in the next couple of weeks - I am so excited. I do hope that you will check it out and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Latest news from Chitemo and Nyhinila

Great news - I have received an email today from an associate in Mpwapwa diocese who has met with the pastor of Chitemo and Nyhinila villages. The stones have been transported to the building sites and the foundation work is underway. How exciting!

Unfortunately I am now unable to return this October and will have to wait until 2013 after the rains have ended. They will start in November of this year and continue until end of April 2013. My next visit will be at the end of May beginning of June. Until then I shall have to rely on emails re the building progress

 Photograph of Emily aged three. A family I  support  while their father is away studying. Her sister Florence is training to be a medical lab technician and she has a brother Michael who is still at school.

 I am hugging brother Michael and mother Agnitha. The other people in the photograph are neighbours who have come in to meet the strange lady!!
Couldn't resist adding this photograph of 'me' sitting for the first time in my Canon's stall in the Cathedral in Mpwapwa.  I am the first women priest in Mpwapwa Diocese and now a Canon in their Cathedral - as my grandchildren would say 'awesome'!!  

Sunday, 12 August 2012

SEEDS4Tanzania registered charity no.1144822 – We are building!! - August 2012

I returned from my visit to Tanzania last month after three exciting and challenging weeks. Many miles were travelled visiting various areas in the Mpwapwa Diocese renewing and strengthening friendship.

My main reason for the visit was to spend time in the villages of Chitemo and Nyhinila to assess the progress being made with our first project to build a pre-school for the orphans of these villages. Over the past months, since my trip in October 2011, I have had to rely on emails from various people assuring me of the villagers’ commitment to the project and outlining their programme for the building work.

On arrival at both villages I was soon to be assured of their commitment. In fact so committed are they to the project of building a pre-school and the benefit of education for the young orphans that the project/building committee had decided to build a school in each village!!  What fantastic news, albeit it will mean double the work and double the funding.

The people were so excited to show me their achievements and I was soon whisked away to a mountain area to see the stones which had been gathered for the foundations. No B & Q to order from!  Most building materials have to be sourced from the land which has required hard physical work for the men and women, prising  boulders out from the side of the mountain then rolling them down to  be broken up. The stones will have to be transported by a lorry to the building sites. Thankfully the Bishop of Mpwapwa has offered the use of the diocesan lorry and ‘SEEDS’ will supply the funds for the fuel. Sand is being collected from the dried out river beds by the women, buckets are filled and then transported on their head. Many mud bricks have already been made waiting to be dried out by the sun before they are fired. The digging of the foundations will be extremely hard work as the land is dry, rock hard and only pick axes and shovels are available but what they lack in heavy machinery they certainly make up for with their enthusiasm.

In time funds will be needed for cement, roofing, school equipment and remuneration for the teachers. I met two young mothers who are willing to be trained as pre-school teachers and they will go to training college for a year which will also need funding. Of course more teachers will be required in due course.

For four days students from Trinity School Belvedere worked with the orphans offering various fun teaching activities.  The orphans had never experienced anything like it and it was an excellent way    to show the villagers the benefits of education and that learning can be fun.  It was wonderful to see the faces of these little children, to hear the shouts of joy and laughter.  Children are the future of this world and all deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential. In our small way SEEDS4Tanzania hope to help these children have a future.
 if  you would like to support this project in some way and help to  make a real difference in the lives of these children and the people of Chitemo and Nyhinila please contact Rev Canon Yolande Marcussen  07794151635 – email or yolande.marcussen@gmailcom

Friday, 3 August 2012

Nyhinila village works towards its pre-school......

The long process of making mud bricks has started. Many have already been made and these are some that have been dried out in the sun before being stacked and then ready to be fired. Wood is placed in the tunnels the wood is set alight and the openings are blocked. The heat from the wood will eventually cook the bricks ready to be used for building.

.   The villagers of Nyhinila have been working hard collecting stones (boulders) for the foundations of the pre-school. These will have to be broken up into smaller sizes and then transported back to the building site. A lorry has been donated by the diocese of Mpwapwa and SEEDS4Tanzania will fund the fuel.  Photographs can never do justice to the real thing. There is no B & Q to pop to for supplies. This is a dry barren mountainous area. The main materials accept cement,nails and roofing have to be sources from the land by hard  physical work of the men and women. 

 I hope that eventually we shall build something like this. This is part of a primary school on the outskirts of Mpwapwa town where building is easier because of the facilities. If our pre-schools are similar I shall be over the moon. 

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with the challenge of it all but when I meet a child who has so little as we may know it but so much potential if given a helping hand I know it will all the anxieties will be worth it.


Activities are introduced to the Orphans-Trinity are stars!

The students of Trinity School Belvedere spent four days at Chitemo and Nyhinila villages forming relationships with the orphan children aged 3 - 7 years through various activities.  The activities introduced were not only an experience for the first time for the orphans but  simple forms of education and great fun. The Pastor, village elders and villagers looked on and  soon  understood the benefits of  activities and education for  children in this age group. Children in Tanzania,if they attend school, will start at the age of 7 at government primary schools  often in classes of 70 plus with one teacher, a blackboard and the majority sitting on dusty floors. Giving children the opportunity to learn through  activities and the basics in reading,writing and sums prior to attending the government primary schools will give them an head start and the means to survive in the often difficult education system.

The building of the pre-schools in Chitemo and Nyhinila villages is a start. I am hoping that when it is up and running it will be an example to others that eduction for their children is important and should start at this early age. As I am always saying it is through education that the children will develop the skills to move forward in their lives out of poverty and become independent. The adults need to be educated to understand the importance of education for their children for the children are the future of their country. They are the future teachers, doctors, nurses, pastors, government ministers,engineers etc  who will enable  the country to move out of dependency to becoming  independent.

In this tiny mud church the students of Trinity School Belvedere taught the children how to paint. The children had never seen paint and paint brushes before. A difficult activity for the first time with young children in this country with clean and appropriate facilities - how amazing was this! 

The children were taught to through a ping-pong ball into a bucket - communication was often through example rather than words - our Swahili was limited - amazing how quickly the children understood especially when they received a warm smile and an English  'Well done'

A big treat when the parachute was introduced - what excitement and what dust!

In a circle, singing songs was very popular. Heads shoulders knees and toes - Okee Kokee (not sure if that is how it is spelt!) was a hoot! Especially if they received a lollipop at the end!

The children have a break for some 'porridge' a form of ground maize mixed with a little milk and water - eaten from shared bowls with their fingers. This was a treat!

A game for the older children with a  base-ball bat and ball. Not only fun but taught them co-ordination. Every one had a go with the bat or bowl. Not quite ready for the next Olympics!

Every age group had a go a skipping  with individual ropes or as shown in the photo. What fun they had and it was 30 degrees!. 

We are only little and need a rest

There were so many more activities that Trinity shared with these children and I can only applaud them for their inventiveness and stamina in a far from easy environment. They will remain in the memories of these children for a very long time.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Doing my bit!!

This is real hard work digging out the boulders - I tried to help!!                                                      
One more for the pile!

The workers, men and women collecting the boulders and then having to break them up.

Mud bricks are being made - of course water is required always a problem

Can I help?

What a smile!

We have started the building project - fantastic!!

The land where the pre-school for Chitemo will be built

The collection of stones for the foundations - boulders dug out from the side of mountains which have to be broken up.  

The people of Chitemo and Nyhinila villages are so committed to the project. We are building a pre-school for each village. It will be hard physical work for the men and women - SEEDS4Tanzania will support the funds to train teachers and buy materials that otherwise would be unaffordable.

There's more ......

Days start early, are very busy evening comes quickly with wonderful sun-sets

The day starts at Chitemo Church will chapati and black tea - delicious

The people have very little but are so generous in their welcomes and hospitality. No guest will every leave hungry - even if it might be their last supplies.

I packed 12 suitcases of children's clothes,toys,baby clothes...

I packed 12 suitaces of children's clothes, toys, bras,school equipment,baby clothes, baby blankets and more.  All donated by wonderful supporters.  There is never enough.

The people are beautiful whether young or old.

The children are all so bright and willing to listen and learn.

And so the story continues..............

All children like to play!

Distribution of clothes and toys for the orphan children of Chitemo and Nyhinila villages

The story continues

This is when I am truly happy a baby in my arms - the future of this wonderful country
  This is where it all started in 2009 under this tree in Chitemo village. Seeing the children, so many orphans with so little in their lives. Thankfully the villagers cared and I couldn't forget the children.
 July 2012

Brought some of Africa back with me !!

11 days have passed since my return from Tanzania. Unfortunately I picked up a nasty little bug in Kondoa Diocese that decided to come back with me. I admit it was a challenging visit with many miles travelled but the unwell feeling was more to do with the bug. Energy levels are returning and it is time to catch up with all that the trip has produced. I hope the following photographs will tell a story.
 Distribution of over 600 bras to the Mother's Union Conference held in All Saints Cathedral,Mpwapwa. The women were thrilled. It was like the sales at Harrods!!

Getting ready for Sunday service at the Cathedral with Trinity School,Belvedere

Given 15 minutes notice that I had to preach!!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Forgot to mention something really important!!

How could I forget  - Linda was made a lay Canon at Kondoa Cathedral in recognition of her support over the years for the diocese. So we now have myself as Canon in Mpwapwa Cathedral and Linda in Kondoa how great is that!!  Two Canons together must make for a big bang!!

Tanzania 19 July 20012 - A short message

This has been the first opportunity to add some news on the blog since the last entry. Internet access has been impossible and very frustrating. Linda and I leave tomorrow after three very challenging weeks travelling many miles around the two diocese of Mpwapwa and Kondoa. All has been accomplished which is great but I am feeling very weary particularly having had African tummy which has really taken its tole on my energies - however a great way to loose any excess weight!!

Clothes donated for the orphans

I shall be updating the blog with photographs on my return. It will be difficult to choose which ones as I have taken hundreds over the three weeks. Do keep logging in and once again to all thank you for your interest and support.

Doing my bit to help!!
Some of the stones collected for the foundation work of the Pre-school for the orphans. Such hard work as these stones have to be dug out of the mountain side and then they will be transported by lorry to the building site.
Men and women work together rolling or carrying the stones down the mountain.

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.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The computer is working, hurrah!! I can't believe that tomorrow we shall have been here for one week. It has been full on from the first day. Having travelled for nearly 22 hours since leaving home our first morning was spent introducing Trinity School to Mpwapwa town. What an experience for them. They then wanted to go to the dress makers shop (shack!) to order traditional style clothes. You cannot swing a cat in the shop which is full of material, machines a counter. 8 of us wanting to be measured and me drawing the requested designs - patience of a saint comes to mind but we did it. We were then invited to the Cathedral to be introduced at the Mother's Union conference. Everyone had to introduce themselves, Trinity were brilliant when you thank this was a first and in a strange country. I had the usual guest speaker slot, starting in Swahili and then English which was interpreted. There were over 500 MU members.  Mpwapwa Diocese has over 12,000 members. That was the Saturday and the clothes were all promised for the following Tuesday, what service. We then went off to St Luke's maternity clinic with our suitcases full of baby clothes. Had a tour around the clinic and met two mothers awaiting their babies. One already had four children the other six and they looked no age. We had lunch at the Diocesan guest house - delicious as always prepared by Monica, Tanzanian style, spaghetti, rice, chips, beans, a little veg, a little meat in sauce all on the same plate and then the usual half an orange with a bottle of water and a bottle of pop. A little rest time was available before we returned to the Cathedral to take the 600 bras to be distributed amongst the women. A sight to be seen, photographs will follow and we had sufficient for every women there. The sizing was great fun - it took about three hours!!  We then went back to the guest house for supper and you have guest it - rice, spaghetti, potatoes this time, a little veg and meat and the orange!
It is 11pm must get off to bed will continue with Sunday 1 July tomorrow. All is well although we have five very tired young people who went off to bed at 9.30pm and deservedly so after all the hard work over the past four days. You will hear all about it in due course. Keep blogging, Yolande

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Tanzania at last!!!!!

Yes, at last I am able to update the blog. It has been a mammoth task and loads of patience waiting for the laptop to work. Here we go! Our journey to Tanzania went smoothly. Heathrow was the first test having 9 of us with 27 suitcases. Thankfully only one had to be lightened by 3 kilos - one of mine! Ten out flight again no problems except I could not sleep the rest of the team had better luck. It was quite a challenge when we arrived at Dar es Salaam airport to find all the suitcases but eventually we were there  7.30am outside in the brilliant sunshine being met by the driver for Trinity School (rajabu) and the driver David accompanied by Sylvester from Mpwapwa Diocese. The journey to Mpwapwa went really well and was so exciting for Trinity, their first experience of Africa. We had a stop for samosas and tea and 8 hours later arrived at our destination the Abebi Lodge, Mpwapwa town. It all seems so long ago and yet it is only a week. So much has happened since. It is 7am in the morning and I have to rush to get ready for another days travel but hopefully will be able to connect with the blog again with news and photographs. This week has been such a huge learning curve for Trinity, the students, the Chaplain and assistant head teacher. They have been amazing with all they have had to cope with and I am sure particularly for the students this will be a life changing experience as it was for myself and Linda when we first arrived here 5 years ago. Keep logging into the blog, please be patient, news will be posted it is just very difficult. A sante santa. Yolande

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Counting down the hours..........

My hall is full with 12 suitcases ready for my trip to Tanzania tomorrow 28 June. Flight from Heathrow to Dar es Salaam leaves at 7.20pm and it arrives 29 June 7am.  I am travelling with 8 others who will also have many suitcases. Our problem will be when we arrrive at Dar if our vehicles can't take all the cases. It happens every trip but 'where there's a will  there's a way' and some how we never leave anything behind except may be  empty suitcases where we have stowed the contents under seats or had to sit on them. Not the most comfortable journey especially as it  takes another 10 hours to our final destination, Mpwapwa town. The organising of this visit has been a particular challenge for all sorts of reasons,howevr I know that once I am on the plane I shall have no difficulty after a couple of glasses of wine of sleeping through the flight. Arriving at Dar is always exciting, so much to look forward to, so many wonderful people to meet and an amazing country to travel through. Hopefully I shall be able to update the blog during the time in Tanzania - electricty permitting!! Thank you to all who have been so generous in support for this trip - the 12 large suitcases are evidence of this.  Yolande                 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

15 days to go!!

Only 15 days to go and it will be the long trek to Mpwapwa,Tanzania. A 10 hour flight to Dar es Salaam and then a 10 hour cross country journey by land rover.  The past month has continued to be very  busy collecting items to distribute amongst the people of Mpwapwa Diocese and the orphans of Chitemo and Nyhinila.  I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of so many people. There are now 10 suitcases in my loft ready to go!! My flight allocation is 3!! Thankfully the team  accompanying me from Trinity School, Belvedere, are only taking two cases each  so I shall be  able to share my excess amongst them. The cases are full of children's clothes, baby clothes, toys,500 bras, teaching equipment, blankets, costume jewelry to use as gifts and so much more.

The five pupils  from Trinity school have been working so hard with their Chaplain,Nicky,over the
past  months to raise the money for their trip to Tanzania. They specifically want to work with young disadvantaged children so will be spending much of their time with the orphans of Chitemo and Nyhinila. They will be teaching the children through games, music and song. To finish their time with the children a mini 'Olympic' sports day will be held. The time spent with the orphans will no doubt be a most  rewarding experience for all involved but it will also be most challenging for the five 18 year old pupils who will certainly be taken out of their comfort zone.

I have had the opportunity of doing some fund raising by giving talks and power-point presentations. On 20 May I preached at All Saints Church, Orpington, and   during the sermon gave an update  on the charity. After the service a great team helped me  serve a Tanzanian lunch to members of the congregation after which I gave a talk. The lunch  went down well and Tanzania  captured their imagination as these generous 'lunchers' including others who were unable to stay helped to raise £700 towards the pre-school building project. I must mention a dear friend at all Saints who  makes beautiful greetings cards and she donated a substantial sum from the proceeds of her sales. A real little angel.  Fantastic. Other sums have been coming in from various sources including another donation from the Totts group who meet every Thursday at All Saints. Also I have had offers to sponsor the payment of excess luggage.  I had an enjoyable evening with our Guides group and they were very enthusiastic to get involved with Tanzania and the orphan children.

The SEEDS4tanzania website is all set up and will be ready to go live once all the information has been added. How exciting! A big thank you to Gary who has put so much of his time into designing the website.   I do hope the building of the pre-school in Chitemo is progressing to plan and all will be revealed when I visit them. Fingers crossed all has been going well.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Holiday is over!!

I have been away for the past three weeks and returned home to a wonderful suprise. A letter from Churches together in Chilsehurst enclosing a cheque for a considerable sum of money to go towards the school building project. How wonderful is that.  On the 20 May a charity 'Tanzanian lunch' will be held at All Saints Church, Orpington. The first one was held last November and well supported raising also a very helpful sum of money. I am so amazed by the generosity showed towards this project. My sincere thanks on behalf of SEEDS4Tanzania.

Monday, 2 April 2012

The loft is filling up again!!

My request for items to take out to Tanzania on my next visit has been responded to far greater than I could have expected. I have nearly 500 bras to distribute amongst the women who will be over the moon with such a luxury. How we women take something like wearing a bra as the norm and not only that but we have the luxury of fittings,choosing shapes,colours etc and when we want to we buy another. I am also delighted with the amount of children's clothes and soft toys that have been donated. The orphans of Chitemo and Nyhinila will be so happy to have something new to wear and a toy to play with. The villagers are very poor and toys are not something that they are able to buy. There are many other usueful items that have been donated and all will find a home. My biggest problem will be transporting everything in our luggage allowance. The allowance is three cases per person of 26 kilos and as many extra cases as we wish but they come at a price, starting at £45 for the first extra case and the price goes up with every extra case thereafter. Where there is a will there is a way. On Sunday 20 May we are holding a Tanzania lunch at our parish church All Saints, Orpington. Not only will it be a fun occasion enjoying the delights of the lunch but hopefully we shall raise some funds to cover extra costs for the trip at the end of June. A big thank you once again to all SEEDS supporters you are helping to make a difference to the lives of little children.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Latest news from Chitemo & Nyhinila villages re pre-school building

I have recently received an email giving me details of the latest progress re the building project of the pre-school for the orphans in Chitemo and Nyhinila. The Pastor Festo Kizuzu of Chitemo has assured me that there is now a project committee of 15 members and a construction committee of 7 members. Two women have already been identified to train as pre-school teachers, their names are Hagali Maonezi from Nyhinila and Lutu Isaya from Chitemo. Obviously we are going to need more teachers but this is a great start

The land for the pre-school
Their working time table for the construction of the classrooms is as follows:-
JAN-MARCH 2012   Collecting stones in the Bush
APRIL-MAY 2012     ferrying stones and sand from the Bush to the site
MAY-JUNE-JULY 2012  Making Bricks, burning and digging of the Foundations.
JULY-OCTOBER 2012    construction of classrooms/possibly roofing depending on the availability of required materials.

I am so very proud of the people as it has not been easy speaking about the need for committees, bank accounts, being accountable for everything. Terminology that we are used to but not in small villages in Africa.

I have also been overwhelmed by the number of people who are coming forward offering their help in some way. When ever I get nervous about the whole project help seems to appear. You could say divine intervention!!

A very kind friend is designing a website for us which will be up and running in the near future. How exciting is that. Another friend has put our details on his Cool local website that promotes local small businesses and  helps to  raise the profile of small charities and community groups. Fantastic! I am being invited to speak to various groups about the SEEDS charity including a Tanzanian church in London and hopefully this will  help to raise its profile.

My loft is filling up with  clothes/toys  for the orphans, bras for the women, and many other useful items. I am not very good at asking this but what we need is funds. If you wish to donate our bank account is as follows

Seeds for Tanzania - account number  81671863 - sort code 40-09-25
Thank you for your interest and support. 
Rev. Canon Yolande Marcussen

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Miriam Linda

Here is the beautiful Miriam Linda. We can't wait to go back to visit her during our next trip. She was born 17th July 2011 so will be getting on for a year old when we next meet.

An unexpected Baptism!

There is always the unexpected during visits to Tanzania. Not only on this visit was I made a Canon of All Saints Cathedral,Mpwapwa, but  asked to baptise a baby.

Miriam Linda. What  an honour that was for me and my two colleagues Mike and Linda who were the God-Parents. Hence the name Miriam Linda. What a wonderful service followed by a celebration supper at the home of the parents.

St Luke's Maternity Clinic

On the day we visited four mothers had just left safely delivered of their babies. Three mothers were waiting for their time.  The women from the villages are not too sure when their due date might be so have to rely on the expertise of the mid-wives. For this part of the world the facilities at ST Luke's are very good and certainly births are much safer than in the villages where there will be no doctors, mid-wives or medication if needed.

St Luke's Maternity Clinic receives baby clothes October 2011

St Luke's Maternity Clinic in Mpwapwa town helps the women from all over the Mpwapwa Diocese during their pregnancy and delivery. It is very difficult for women who live two or three days walk away to attend the clinic as they have to make the journey at least a month before the birth or they would not be able to make the long walk. Also there is a need to break through the custom of having the babies in the villages which often leads to problems during delivery. To encourage the mother's to use the clinic we take out baby clothes and shawls so that when they have had their baby at the clinic they are given outfits and a shawl to take with them. Ladies from churches in the Orpington and Bromley areas of Kent have knitted dozens of these outfits and shawls. The picture shows midwives and doctors receiving them during our visit in October 2011. We hope to take out more during our next visit at the end of June 2012.                  

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Collecting for next trip June 28 - July 20 2012

The loft is starting to fill up with items donated for Tanzania. I already have bras,knitted baby clothes,knitted scarves,soft toys,children's books and clothes. Thank you for the support.
If you have children's clothes age 2 to 10 years they would be most welcome for the orphan children. The following items are also most welcome
Tennis balls,pens,pencils,erasers,sharpners,rulers,spectacles,men's shirts,soap,costume jewellery,more bras,soft toys.
Of course funding is always most welcome. You can be assured every penny goes towards our projects. Visits to Tanzania are self funded.



Monday, 30 January 2012

Latest news re Building of pre-school for orphans

I have received an email from Mpwapwa Diocese and all is well, the rains continue. The people are busy with agriculture and this will continue until the end of April. May will be a time for building. The people of Chitemo and Nyhinila will then start to collect the stones,sand,dig foundations and make the bricks. An exciting time ahead as I shall be out there at the end of June when the work will be in progress. I hope to be able to help with the brick making and any other work that might be helpful, rather than hindrance! Accompanying me to the villages will be students from Trinity School Belvedere, an assistant head and their Chaplain.The young people who are 17 and 18 years of age,three girls and two boys, are keen to work with the orphan children to introduce fun/sport activities and some simple forms of education. I hope it will be an introduction to the benefits of education for the pre-school age children and motivate them and the community to move ahead with the school project. The villagers are in the process of identifying those suitable to train as pre-school teachers. The funding for their training will be a commitment for SEEDS4Tanzania charity. My thanks to all who are already showing their support for SEEDS.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Happy New Year 2012

An exciting time for 'seeds4tanzania'. A New Year with many challenges ahead. I have heard that Mpwapwa Diocese has received the long awaited rains in abundance. Rain mean crops, crops means food and funds.  
With regards to the building project of the Pre-school water means that bricks can be made. I hope to hear soon that plans are under way to collect the stones for the foundations and then in due course foundations can be dug. We have a long way to go but it will be worth all the effort.