We wish you all a very happy new year if a little late!
We had a wonderful Christmas with friends from St. Austell visiting us. We had a dramatic start to their visit as Christine and the boys went to Dar-es-Salaam to meet them and spend a few days in the sun. In fact we had 3 days of continuous torrential rain in Dar which caused huge floods and disruption. Our return journey to Dodoma took 11 hours, starting by taking a long detour along dirt roads, and finishing driving hours through storms in the dark! We also had two very large speakers on the roof of the car which we had bought in Dar for Kikuyu Gospel Singers, following all our fundraising last year. We thank God we finally arrived home safely and the rain hadn't got into the speakers!
In general the rainy season started really well this year and in some areas people are already harvesting produce. However, there seems to have been a break in the rain for a while, and a little more is still needed, particularly in the Dodoma area. Please pray for more rain.
We spent Christmas itself in Dodoma and had a few days trip to Kilimatinde on boxing day. This picture shows Christmas dinner with our guests the Clearys (Ian, Marilyn, Lowenna and Samara), together with neighbours Graham and Alison, at the chinese restaurant in Dodoma, which was followed by
a swim in the open air pool!
On Christmas eve Christine became God-mother again, to Patricia shown in this picture with her dad , John who sings with Christine in Kikuyu Gospel Singers. It was a lovely service with about 15 infant baptisms and a fair few adult baptisms, followed by a party back at Patricia's home.
For new year we went with the Clearys to Mikumi National Park and had a lovely few days safari. We camped at a lovely site just outside the park. The pictures show the children washing vegetables ready for the camp fire and a sample of some of the wildlife.
The boys have a long school holiday at Christmas time and have only been back at school for a week and a half. They enjoyed their holidays playing with friends and enjoying their new Christmas presents. One of the highlights was a "Pirate party" pictured here.
Christine has been busy at work since Christmas. The small loans project is now well underway in the diocese of Mpwapwa and we have trained the groups and given out loans (see the ACT youth office blog on the link for more info). We are also planning to run another music and worship seminar in March in the South of Tanzania, and are planning and fundraising for a big national youth conference in September. Please pray for us as we develop all these different projects and try to raise the funds needed for them.
Paul reached the grand old age of 41 last week and celebrated by inviting a few friends over for nibbles in the garden. The highlight for the children was the new zip wire - our latest addition to the back garden adventure playground, that was until Ian, Daniel's best friend from next door fell off it with a horrible thud and got us all very worried as he was unconscious for a while. It turned out that it was just bumps and bruises praise God. Paul's keeping himself busy at work with issues such as the timetable for the new semester starting in a couple of weeks time and is constantly looking for distractions from the dreaded ongoing exam marking - the one part of teaching I never could bear.
In January we welcomed back our good friends Festo, from Kilimatinde and Grace, from St. Austell, who were married in November in St. Austell. We had wonderful party in Kilimatinde to receive them. We were honoured to be the "wadhamini" (sort of best man and best woman) even though it wasn't actually the wedding! This is a picture of us at the party, with two very sleepy boys (it was a late night!) and Grace's mum and dad in the background.
We were recently invited to be guests of honour at a big event for a choir in a village called Msemembo near Kilimatinde. This picture shows the event. It was a fun but tiring day.
The video clip below shows Kikuyu Gospel Singers practising our Christmas song in our back garden (minus Christine as she was filming!)
With much love and blessings to you all,
Christine, Paul, Daniel and Isaac.xxx