Latest News from Stephen, on mission in Tanzania

The Second Year

As I write this we are about to start our midterm exams for September and many things have been happening. During February we had visitors from England who started work on a new building for the nursery school and we have most of the walls done now for 4 classrooms (at the moment one class is meeting under a tree near the house, one on the veranda and one in a gap between two walls of the house). In March my host Grace left for England to have her second child. This left me with the task of driving to get shopping until she returned in July. This meant that I had much more opportunity to practice my Swahili than before. During this time we had 1 puncture (very common here and fortunately less than 100 metres from a tyre repair place total cost about £1) and 1 shattered window (not so common but the potholes that caused it are). Work on the classrooms for the school has continued and we now have a roof in place. We have put in a blackboard and lights into one of them and are using it for a class that had been using the Bible School’s classrooms (A five minute walk away which made them late for everything). There is no door or floor or power yet in any of them but it is good to see it being used. We were invited by the Bishop to visit a church in Itagata that was becoming part of the Parish this was about an hour and a half away and led into a honey producing part of the country and went past the old slave route that ran from north to south. We had another litter of puppies born in our bathroom, which were then moved to the coal shed, until they started dying from fleas and we moved them and treated them. The house was attacked by an army of ants that formed continuous lines two inches wide. After three nights of attacking with boiling water they gave up. But they did manage to eat several chicks while still alive. During June the school hosted the Diocese Synod, where we were invited to attend. This wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be mainly because they did provide us with ministers who had some English to translate. After one session I spoke to the Bishop with an idea and he suggested I attend the Diocese Council to talk about it, but no more has happened yet. Also during this month we had a variety of Tanzanians living with us who were either relatives of our hosts or being sponsored by them as they were on holiday from college. So there was anywhere from 2-6 of us for each meal, but we didn’t necessarily know how many until very late, which made cooking for them very interesting although it did allow us to introduce them to the idea of jacket potatoes. In July Charlotte returned to England having spent a lot of time teaching English to the nursery school and developing a craft group from the pupils making items for selling. We are now trying to find a way to continue the group in her absence. Grace returned with her new baby (William) we had elections for the new school government. This time around I spoke with all perspective candidates about interview technique and preparing answers to standard questions which they lacked from last year. August saw Mock exams for Form 4 and Form 2. The results for Form 4 have just come back and I’ve compared them to last year for my subject. The average has increased from 25 to 39 and the number passing from 9/57 to 22/53 which looks like progress to me. I have booked my journey home and should be arriving in the UK on Wednesday December 9th after the school year has finished. I hope you are all well and look forward to seeing you when I return. I have lost the ability to use internet on my phone until I update the software which doesn’t work here and so have been unable to make frequent updates to Facebook as I would have liked

God bless