Thursday, 30 December 2010

A White Christmas

Dear Friends,

Firstly apologies for not writing a proper blog entry for 3 months, but hopefully you have received our updates and link letter in the meantime.




Our last couple of months in Tanzania were very busy as we were handing over our work to colleagues as well as saying our farewells. Christine’s main focus was a very big fundraising event to raise money for a recording studio which we hope to develop in Dodoma. The studio will be a huge benefit for the local youth choirs and will also be a source of income for the youth office where Christine works, where we are really struggling for funds. The event took place at the end of October and was a great event involving several choirs performing together with speeches from various important people. The guest of honour was the Chief Justice of Tanzania, Augustino Ramadhani, who contributed generously towards the project. In total we raised around £4,000 and together with funds we raised previously we now have around £5,000 towards the studio. We thank God for this encouraging start, but please pray for the project as we continue to work towards our target of £20,000.

Early November saw St John’s very first Graduation which was a wonderful celebration of three years of hard work by students and staff. The event went well and kick started the new academic year which had been delayed due to the General elections which passed peacefully. Paul managed to hand over all responsibilities and see the new timetable into action with a few days to spare before our flight. We had a small leaving party with some of our closest friends before we left which was a wonderful time of sharing together, though sad to say goodbye for the next 6 months. The picture at the top shows members of Revival choir giving us a leaving present, and this picture shows Christine feeding cake to the university chaplain, Bishop Ntiruka at our leaving party (a Tanzanian tradition!)

We arrived back in the UK at the end of November, probably at the coldest and snowiest time. We have spent the last month travelling, firstly to CMS house for a debrief, and then to London for a medical at interhealth. We made the most of this and had a few days in London which was a great time – the highlight was building a snowman in St. James’ Park! After this we went up to Manchester and spent a couple of weeks with Christine’s mum. During this time we were able to visit 2 of our link churches – the Avenue Methodist, Sale and Christ the King, Kettering. It was lovely to see friends again, and we very much look forward to visiting all our other supporting churches over the next few months.


For Christmas week we went up to the Lake District where we stayed in a big old farmhouse with all of Paul’s family. We are now in St. Austell where we will be for our remaining 5 months in the UK. We are renting a little house here as we have good tenants in our own house. It is nice to be settled, to catch up with friends and to get involved with our church here again.

As well as visiting our supporters we also hope to do some networking and fundraising whilst we are back in the UK. Paul is planning to send back to Tanzania a shipping container (or two?) and so is busy calling on all the contacts he can in the hope of finding schools, universities or businesses having a clean out. We’re primarily looking for good quality second hand computers, university level text books and scientific apparatus in quantity but so far we’ve yet to strike gold. Please contact us if you think you may be able to help (or know someone else who can).
Christine is trying to raise funds for a number of projects including the recording studio, the small loans project for youth groups, seminars in youth bible study and seminars in music and worship. If anyone has any ideas of organisations she could approach, or if anyone would like to do some fundraising for us (maybe through your church youth group or music group) please let us know.

We’re really sorry we will not be able to visit all our individual friends we would like to see during the 6 months we are here. However, we do welcome visitors here in St. Austell, and we would love to see you.

Please pray for us over the next few months as we settle back into life in the UK, travel around our link churches, and for the boys in school.

Lots of love and blessings,
Paul, Christine, Daniel & Isaac.xxx

Monday, 27 September 2010

Parties and Performances

Dear Friends,

The main event this month was Daniel's 7th birthday. We had a great party in the garden with lots of friends, and this is his Tom and Jerry birthday cake, which was quite a challenge for mummy! Tom and Jerry and lots of other old fashioned cartoons are all the rage here in Tanzania!

Last weekend Revival choir entered a big competition here in Dodoma. It was organised by the health department of CCT (the Christian Council of Tanzania). Choirs from all denominations could enter and had to write and perform 2 songs raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and a Christian response to the issue. We came 3rd out of 19 choirs and are now taking part in an X-factor style competition including just 10 choirs from 4 regions of Tanzania. It will be televised on local TV each Sunday for 6 weeks starting this Sunday and people will vote for their favourite choirs by text until there are 4 choirs left which will enter the final. Please pray for us, especially this week as we do some more filming for the TV. It was a wonderful weekend. This picture shows the choir after the event.

Christine has been running a youth bible study with choir Revival called Mwamba Salama (Solid Rock) and this picture shows some of the group. It is a very good study guide in Swahili covering all the basics of Christianity and aimed particularly at youth groups. Christine also hopes to run a seminar at work to train youth officers from all the dioceses to use this recource as group bible study is very uncommon in Tanzania, and there is a real need to encourage youth groups to read and discuss the Word together.

This picture shows Isaac with some of his class who led their school assembly recently for the first time. Isaac did very well and is very happy to stand up and perform!

At the University we are getting ready for graduation including finalising assessments of who is able to graduate or not - this is obviously a difficult task and tensions are high with a need for a balance of compassion and justice.

We are busy getting ready for our return to the UK in November. We fly on the 21st November and will spend a week in St. Austell followed by a few weeks up North, and then will settle in St. Austell from Dec 27th. The boys will be going to Bishop Bronscombe school for a few months. Please pray for us all as we prepare for this. We are looking forward to seeing many of you soon.

Love and blessings,
Paul, Christine, Daniel and Isaac. xxx

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Boats, Bibles and Betrothals

Dear Friends,

We continued to enjoy the boys’ school holiday in July and had a trip to Musoma up in the North of Tanzania on the shores of lake Victoria. We were apprehensive about the 15 hour bus journey each way, but the boys had a great time and had no problems at all. We were visiting our friend, Grace who is there with CMS. These pictures show Grace with us on a boat trip to an island in the lake. We had a lovely holiday there – it’s a very beautiful part of the country. We have also enjoyed some country walks at home. This picture is at our favourite local spot in Dodoma where cows and goats regularly come to drink at the lake.

The boys are now back at school and very much enjoying it. Isaac is in reception class and is very happy to be a “big boy” now. Daniel loves his new class and teacher in standard 2 and has made some new friends so is much happier than he was. Please pray that both continue to enjoy and do well at school. We have also started up bible club again, which had a break since our friends, the Garretts left for a year’s furlough in the USA. Christine is now hosting it at home and it has been very well attended so far. This picture shows some of the children singing praises.

On the 8th of August was the annual “Farmer’s Day” in Tanzania and we went to the agricultural show in Dodoma. These pictures show Daniel testing out a pump for watering vegetables and Isaac playing with a friendly bunny.

A few weeks ago we were invited to the launch of a new English service which will be held once a week at the hospital chapel in Kilimatinde. Paul was asked to preach at the launch service. This weekend we were invited to be witnesses of the engagement of two of our close friends from Kilimatinde, Rev. Silla and Janeth. This picture shows the ring giving. They hope to get married in November. Please pray for them as they prepare.

Paul is currently involved in visiting/assessing our teaching practice students on placement whilst Christine is busy at work preparing for a big fundraising event for our recording studio project which will take place in October. Please pray that this event will be a success and plenty of people will come and contribute to the project. When we are back in the UK Christine wants to try and visit some studios or other organisations which may be interested in this project to look for funding or possibly second hand equipment to help with the project. Paul will also be looking for second hand books, computers and laboratory apparatus for the University from schools, universities and other organisations back in the UK. The plan is to fill a container ready to ship to Tanzania by the time we return in May. If anyone knows of organisations who may be able to help us concerning equipment, or for funding for the small loans project please let us know.

This final picture shows Rosie, who works for us in the garden. She is also a member of the Mothers Union choir, and this is her dancing at church.

Many thanks for all your support and may God bless you as you bless us.

Paul, Christine, Daniel & Isaac

Monday, 19 July 2010

Hellos and Goodbyes

Dear Friends,

Sorry for the long break from the blog but hopefully you have received our link letter in the meantime. Dodoma is now very dry again. Many parts of the country have had a very good harvest this year, though as usual Dodoma region has suffered due to lack of rain. At least there should be plenty of food around from surrounding areas this year.

Christine’s small loans project is continuing to go well in the diocese of Kiteto. Thank you to everyone who has made contributions on my just giving page or to me personally and please pray that this avenue continues to be effective. We recently carried out training of 8 youth groups and have distributed loans to them. This work would have been impossible without your contributions and more is still needed. The pictures show the training event. The groups will be carrying out a range of projects including vegetable gardening, carpentry, pig and chicken keeping, small shops and others.

In June Revival Choir (the Swahili choir with which Christine sings) held a big event to launch our CD which we recorded late last year. It was a great event. A well known Christian singer from Kenya, Solomon Mkubwa, joined us. He is pictured here performing, and the group shows Revival choir with him and others.

Paul is starting to hand various responsibilities over to others at the university as we get ready for our furlough. He has promised to see the new timetable in and so we’ll be leaving shortly after the university opens in November and not long after our first graduation for which frantic preparations are ongoing and for which your prayers are welcome. In the mean time there will still be the usual tasks to keep Paul busy: marking, exam mark collation, teaching practice observation, timetable creation along with this year a little bit of teaching A-level Physics on a pre-university entry course. The university year has just come to an end and we were very sad to say goodbye to graduating students who have been with us in the English choir for the last 3 years. A few weeks ago we had a lovely farewell party with them. This picture shows the members who will be leaving us singing at the party.

We have just had a visit from Christine’s mum. This picture shows us picnicing with her and some friends beside our favourite lake in Dodoma. We also had a few days holiday in Bagamoyo. Here the boys are catching crabs with daddy and playing in the sea with Grandma.

















We have had a couple of trips to Kilimatinde recently. Here Isaac is helping our friend Ema to wash the car with water from the lake in the village.

We are busy making preparations to come back to the UK on Furlough in November this year for 6 months. Thanks for your prayers for the practical side of things. We have just confirmed a house to rent in St. Austell and CMS will be lending us a vehicle, so things are coming together now. We are in the process of arranging dates to visit all our link churches and generally planning our busy schedule. Please pray for God’s hand over the whole process both in terms of our time back in the UK and the situations we leave behind.

Though the house is well equipped there are a few things we will be looking to borrow if any of our friends in St. Austell are able to help out. If anyone has a spare oil fired or electric radiator which we could use in a bedroom we would be very grateful. We would also be grateful for the loan of a few toys and especially kids bikes (for a proficient 7 year old, and a 4 year old needing stabilizers)

With love,
Paul, Christine, Daniel and Isaac.xxx

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Videos and justgiving page


Please take a look at my just giving page www.justgiving.com/Tanzania-Youth


We are trying to raise funds for the youth small loans project which Christine is working on. CMS are supporting us in this and will channel all donations made through this page to my project. You can read more about the project on the page itself and see some pictures of the work so far. Any help you are able to be give would be hugely appreciated. Thanks.x


Here are a couple of videos to give you some idea of our everyday life in Dodoma. The first is of our general life and work, and the second of the boys school and some of their activities. As usual they are low quality because of problems with uploading.



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Monday, 3 May 2010

Isaac's Birthday

Dear all,


We have had a good couple of months. Isaac turned 4 at the end of March. Here he is with his veggietales birthday cake. He had a great party with around 30 friends - a very sociable boy!




We were treated to another great show at school at Easter and spent Easter day in Msalato village with Rev. Sambayi, the ex vicar of our church, and his family in their new parish. Christine and the boys had their usual few days retreat to Kilimatinde during the Easter holidays. These pictures show Isaac and some friends enjoying looking at some pigs belonging to our friend Baraka, and the boys singing with Amani on the rock in Kilimatinde.


We also enjoyed a few days visit from our friends Grace and Mark from St. Austell passing through on their way up to Musoma where Grace will be working for a while.

Christine has now started some of the preparatory training work for the small loans project in the diocese of Kiteto and is trying to find funding to continue with this. She is also busy planning and looking for funding for other projects such as the development of a recording studio for youth choirs in dodoma, and various training programmes for young people. This picture shows some of the young people during the initial seminar. Please pray for theis project and for all of Christine's work.

Our English choir CD "Light of the World" has now been produced and is on sale so we are busy promoting it. Next week we will be going to lead a service at the cathedral in town and promoting it there. Please pray for the choir as we will lose many of our members this year as they are final year students in the university. Pray that we are able to find some new members to continue the good work that the group has started in the English congregation.

After a hectic inter-semester break we're now into the swing of a slightly easier paced second semester here at the University. The picture shows some first years working away at one of the electronics practicals. First year and second year labs are going well and Paul is now working on practical tests and datalogging workshops (new for this year as we've recently received the sensors and interfaces from labaid). The Dodoma Physics Teachers Network is at a critical phase. Poor attendance from members so far suggest that it simply is not fulfilling a need and so not worth continuing however Paul has decided to try again one more time, setting a meeting for next month - please pray that if this is part of Gods will for Paul's work here in Dodoma then it may be revealed in new interest (or however God decides to do it).

Many thanks for all your support financially and prayerfully.
Much love
Paul, Christine, Daniel & Isaac

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Travels and treehouses

Dear Friends,

It is now raining again, so much so that in some parts of the country there has been flooding, though in other parts there has been drought. In the Dodoma area the harvest, though not brilliant, promises to be quite good this year relative to recent years. This picture shows the maize crop of one of our neighbours on the university campus.

Christine has recently been travelling to the dioceses of Mpwapwa and Kiteto to talk to diocesan and youth leaders to determine if one of these dioceses is suitable to start the next stage of our loans and savings scheme. Though we have not yet managed to find a grant to continue the project we have a little money which we can use to at least begin the project in one diocese. Please pray that more funds will come through for this project. The picture shows Christine and Beatrice with the Bishop and various youth leaders in Mpwapwa.

Paul, whilst taking a break from writing timetables and collating student results over the short break between semesters, has been very busy building a tree house in the garden which the boys and their friends love. Daniel loves reading and writing these days and now enjoys taking his books up in the tree house to read to himself or to Isaac. This is the house under construction and the boys in the not-quite-finished product. The long awaited Physics Teachers Network has at last met for the first time with a number of interested members from local schools. Please pray that the Network grows and becomes effective in improving the quality of Physics Teaching in Dodoma and that Paul gets the timetable ready in time for the new semester

We have several new mission partners at the university, including the Heaneys, a crosslinks family with a little boy called Sam, who is already Isaac’s best friend. They go to school together. It is lovely to have another family around.

We are beginning to think about our time of furlough which will begin in November this year for 6 months. We plan to be based in St. Austell but although we have a house there, we now have very good tenants who we do not want to lose. So, if they plan to stay we would need to find alternative accommodation. If any of our Cornwall friends have any ideas of somewhere we could stay for that time please let us know. Perhaps someone has a friend with a holiday let which would be quiet over the winter months and we could rent at low cost? Hopefully the boys will be going to Bishop Bronscombe School for a few months. We may also be looking to borrow a car, either for the whole time or just for some of our weekend link church visits, if anyone has any ideas?

This picture shows some of the girls from Revival choir who were cooking in our garden when we had some choir guests last weekend.




Below ore 3 videos - the first is a video of Daniel's birthday back in September. Second, you should find a video of our Christmas break, and finally a video of our English choir when we went to record an album in January. All have been reduced in size (and quality) to be uploadable.
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Thursday, 21 January 2010

New Year 2010

Dear friends,

Happy New Year! The special Christmas blog turned into a special Christmas email – hope you all got that, and hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.

Over Christmas we took a short holiday at Bagamoyo with some neighbours. The boys were particularly excited about having Christmas on the beach and it made a nice relaxing break for us all.

Whilst we were away the rain here in Dodoma was very heavy and this continued into January, though it now hasn’t rained for over a week and if it doesn’t start again soon crops will be badly affected so please pray that it returns soon. The picture shows the usually very dry river which runs through the middle of the university campus, at full flow.

On new year’s eve we celebrated with Christmas crackers and Christmas pudding with our neighbours. This is our neighbour Elspeth and Paul thoroughly enjoying themselves. Christine then went to see the new year in at church at a big celebration with hours of singing and dancing led by revival choir and various university choirs. (unfortunately I forgot to take the camera to this one!) Then on new years day we headed off to Kilimatinde to greet our friends there and for the baptism service of our new God-daughter, Janeth, daughter of our good friends Ema and Beatrice.

The boys are just finishing their long Christmas holiday and are back to school on Monday. Please pray for them as they settle back into the routine of school again. They have enjoyed the break and are now much happier to be left at home with Lidia when Christine goes to work.

Last week we did yet another recording, this time with the English choir. The photos show the whole choir in our new uniforms and the tenors rehearsing in our garden. It was hard work but good fun and hopefully we should produce a good CD.

Today Paul was granted an audience with the Heads of all the Secondary Schools in Dodoma Muunicipality to seek their support as we plan to launch the Dodoma Physics Teacher’s Network. He and the idea of the network were warmly welcomed and the date has been set or the first meeting in February. After what has been a relatively stress free semester, as it draws to its close, Paul is bracing himself for one of the busiest times of the year. He has the task of assessment coordinator for the faculty which requires many hours of slaving over databases and spreadsheets for the next couple of months and also needs to have the second semester timetable ready after what will be just a short break. These big jobs come on top of other tasks such as preparing new teaching courses and practicals and keeping up with the marking but Paul is trying to relax and trust in God’s provision day by day and is determined not to let himself become overstressed as he did last year.

The final picture shows our friend Yohana and his son Joshua (other God-children) having a relaxing sunday afternoon in our garden!


Lots of love and blessings
Christine, Paul, Daniel and Isaac. xxx
















































































Dear friends,

Happy New Year! The special Christmas blog turned into a special Christmas email – hope you all got that, and hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.

Over Christmas we took a short holiday at Bagamoyo with some neighbours. The boys were particularly excited about having Christmas on the beach and it made a nice relaxing break for us all.

Whilst we were away the rain here in Dodoma was very heavy and this continued into January, though it now hasn’t rained for over a week and if it doesn’t start again soon crops will be badly affected so please pray that it returns soon. The picture shows the usually very dry river which runs through the middle of the university campus, at full flow.

On new year’s eve we celebrated with Christmas crackers and Christmas pudding with our neighbours. This is our neighbour Elspeth and Paul thoroughly enjoying themselves. Christine then went to see the new year in at church at a big celebration with hours of singing and dancing led by revival choir and various university choirs. (unfortunately I forgot to take the camera to this one!) Then on new years day we headed off to Kilimatinde to greet our friends there and for the baptism service of our new God-daughter, Janeth, daughter of our good friends Ema and Beatrice.

The boys are just finishing their long Christmas holiday and are back to school on Monday. Please pray for them as they settle back into the routine of school again. They have enjoyed the break and are now much happier to be left at home with Lidia when Christine goes to work.

Last week we did yet another recording, this time with the English choir. The photos show the whole choir in our new uniforms and the tenors rehearsing in our garden. It was hard work but good fun and hopefully we should produce a good CD.

Today Paul was granted an audience with the Heads of all the Secondary Schools in Dodoma Muunicipality to seek their support as we plan to launch the Dodoma Physics Teacher’s Network. He and the idea of the network were warmly welcomed and the date has been set or the first meeting in February. After what has been a relatively stress free semester, as it draws to its close, Paul is bracing himself for one of the busiest times of the year. He has the task of assessment coordinator for the faculty which requires many hours of slaving over databases and spreadsheets for the next couple of months and also needs to have the second semester timetable ready after what will be just a short break. These big jobs come on top of other tasks such as preparing new teaching courses and practicals and keeping up with the marking but Paul is trying to relax and trust in God’s provision day by day and is determined not to let himself become overstressed as he did last year.

Lots of love and blessings
Christine, Paul, Daniel and Isaac. xxx