The Same but Different.

Living back in the UK, I do many of the same things as I did in Tanzania, but it’s also very different.

I sleep in a bed, but with multiple blankets rather than a mosquito net.

bedtz beduk

 

 

 

 

 

I get my water from a tap, but I don’t have to filter it before drinking it.

watertz2 watertz1 wateruk

 

 

 

 

 

 

I eat beans, but most often from a tin, and I don’t have to sort and clean them.

beanstz2 beansuk

 

 

 

 

I eat fruit, but apples and pears, rather than guava and passion fruit.

fruittz2 fruituk

 

 

 

 

I enjoy flowers when I walk through town, but crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils, rather than bougainvillea.

flowerstz flowersuk1 flowersuk2

 

 

 

 

I use money, but take a lot fewer notes out of the cash-point.

moneytz moneyuk

 

 

 

 

I have windows, but no mesh or bars.

windowtz windowuk2

 

 

 

 

 

 

I still walk to get around town, but I have had to get used to very different footwear.

feettz feetuk

 

 

 

 

Even if everything else is different, at least I still worship and serve the same God, no matter where I am!


25 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,

    and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
    and they will be discarded.
27 But you remain the same,
    and your years will never end.
(Psalm 102)

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Back in UK, FAQs

Here are some common questions that I’ve been asked since returning to the UK, which I included in my January newsletter.

So, where are you now?
As of the beginning of January, I am based in Gloucester. I am studying at Redcliffe College, finishing off a Masters (which I started before going to Tanzania). The course is about linguistics, and it is taught by Wycliffe staff.

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This is the beautiful view, from one of my classrooms, of Gloucester cathedral.

How long will you be in the UK?
I plan to be based in the UK for about a year, until I have finished the thesis stage of the Masters.

Do you still need financial support?
Yes, I am still a member of Wycliffe, but my assignment has changed for this year from working in Tanzania to completing a study programme relevant to my work.

Will you still be sending out newsletters this year?
Yes! I would like to keep you involved with my work and study, and I need your prayers and support just as much now as when I was in Tanzania.

Will you be continuing work in Tanzania later on?
Yes, I hope and plan to return to Musoma after finishing my studies, to continue with much the same work as before.

What’s the best thing about being back in England?
Not having ants in my food, clothes, shower, hair, bed, …! And of course, seeing friends and family again!

Food fit for a Monkey? Banana Chutney!

Sorry, there are no monkeys in this blog post. (Though there often are some playing on the roof of my office!)

I thought I would share with you one of my favourite recipes: banana chutney. It’s incredibly easy, delicious, and goes with anything!

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  • Ingredients:
    4 cups mashed bananas (1 cup is 2 1/2 large Tanzanian bananas, or 5 mini Tanzanian bananas … I can’t remember how big bananas are in the UK!)
    1 cup chopped onion
    1 cup vinegar
    1 cup sugar

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  • Mix it all together.
  • Boil (and stir a little) for 3 minutes.
  • Let it cool, then add:
    2+ tsp curry powder
    2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • Enjoy!

It can be frozen, or keeps in the fridge for at least 10 days.

Unwelcome Guests.

A week ago I returned from our organisation’s annual conference in Dar es Salaam. It was a very refreshing week, with some good Bible teaching, many times of singing together, lots of fun with friends, and also our general meeting.

I arrived back in Musoma about 8pm at night. It was dark, and I was looking forward to my bed after a day of travelling.

But I found my house surrounded by a cloud of teeny, tiny, buzzing, Lake flies.

This is one of the hazards of living on the shores of Lake Victoria; sometimes clouds of tiny flies come off the lake, and they really enjoy congregating around our security lights and getting into the house through every possible nook and cranny.

This meant that even more cleaning than normal has been necessary this last week …

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Fortunately lake flies live for only a day, so the next day most of them were dead (and therefore much easier to remove!). This is just a fraction of what I swept out of the house.

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There was a carpet of them on our back veranda.

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And yes, the dogs like to eat them … weird …

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More piled outside the front door.

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And heaps on the inside window ledges … bleugh!

But, I’m very thankful for our hoover (a.k.a. vacuum cleaner, for the non-Brits among you), especially for the handle extension which meant I could just about reach the ceiling boards (no photographic evidence, but lake flies make it very clear how covered your ceiling is in cobwebs!!).

Fruit, Glorious Fruit!

This month I’ve been enjoying and experimenting with some of the delicious fruits we have here in Musoma.

We have a couple of passion fruit vines in our yard, and the last two months we have had a wonderful harvest!

passion_vine

passion

There are some guava trees too in the yard, and this year I tried making guava jam for the first time – yum! Definitely something to repeat!

 

We don’t have any banana trees in our own garden, but they are available very cheaply from the market. We were given a gift of a very large ‘branch’ of bananas and, since I was keen to make something with them other than the usual banana cake, a friend gave me a recipe for banana chutney – delicious!

banana_chutney

Also, it looks like it’s nearly orange season again …!

orange_tree

 

A Tasty Treat …

Here in Musoma our spring rains have arrived – hoorah! This means that the weather is much cooler (25C!) and we frequently need to wear jumpers.

Spring rains also mean something else …

Flying termite season!!!

These little guys crawl out of the ground after it rains and like to fly around for a few hours before losing their wings.

termite02

Tanzanians like to fry them up for a tasty snack! (I’ve yet to be offered one though …)

The other evening I sat on our kitchen floor, having a lot of fun, taking pictures of all the bugs landing around me! (My house-mate’s cats like to come in and out of the windows … meaning a handy entry point for flying night-time visitors).

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The ants also appreciate this snack.

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Yes, some land even straight on the hob, ready for frying

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Not a termite, but also a frequent visitor.

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The following morning …

Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to actually try one …

Have you ever enjoyed an unusual snack?!

A Latin American Feast

Beware, this post may make you rather hungry!!

The learning centre here, where my house-mate and another colleague teach some of the missionary kids, are currently studying South & Central America in their geography lessons.

What better way to learn about other countries than through their foods!

Last weekend we enjoyed a veritable feast of Latin American foods from various countries, prepared by all the different households involved.

 

I’m always thankful for the community here, but especially when we cook up such delicious occasions as this!

Next term the learning centre will be studying Asia … yum yum yum!

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The learning centre kids (plus 2 younger brothers) and their teachers.

(Thanks to Michael Nicholls for the last photo.)

 

The side-streets of Musoma.

Yesterday I joined a colleague on a short errand run around town. I enjoyed looking around and watching the comings and goings down some of the side-streets that we stopped in.

Some young men were enjoying the shade outside a little corner-shop:

relaxing_in_the_shade

 

We visited a local carpenter’s workshop:

carpenter

My colleague had had a new frame for a mosquito-net made. I came here a few months ago when my house-mate had ordered some new corner shelves. You can give the carpenter a hand-drawn diagram of what you would like with some measurements, and then collect in a week or so – talk about great service!

 

A woman passed by carrying a sack of flour home:

carrying_flour

(Some of you might to notice the building-site behind her and the hand-made scaffolding – I’m glad I don’t need to climb up there!)

 

Motorbikes are a very common mode of transport here in Musoma, known as a pikipiki in Swahili. There a numerous motorbike taxis around too (bodaboda), a cheap way to get a lift somewhere – you often see women sitting side-saddle on the back with arm-loads of groceries. This is a skill I’d like to master some day, but not quite yet …!

pikipiki

 

A minute later a small group of goats passed down the street, unaccompanied by their owner as far as I could tell! It’s very common to see goats grazing beside the road.

goats

 

And lastly…:

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Most often soft-drinks are bought in glass bottles here and the kids love the bottle caps – the caps from this particular beverage are especially fun to collect because of the variety of names that you can find.

Then the rain came down.

In Musoma we’re enjoying one of our rainy seasons. Everything is so green!

Here, when it rains, it really rains!

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A couple of weeks ago, when my house-mate was away for the weekend, I was enjoying cooking in the kitchen on the Friday evening. It started raining pretty hard, but that’s fairly normal at the moment.

When I’d finished cooking I went into the sitting room, only to find what had previously been a small hole in the ceiling (caused by the resident bats) was now a much larger crack!

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There was water and bat poo, washed in from the loft, all over the floor!

Praise God, it could have been so much worse. The week before we’d moved all of the soft furniture elsewhere, for totally unrelated reasons.
When the ceiling cracked, it would have been right above our sofa; however, as it was, nothing at all was damaged! Praise God for his careful timing!

I was able to elicit helpful advice over the weekend, and on Monday morning a colleague came over with a local “fundi” (handyman), who had already been booked to be working at my colleague’s house that day.

They investigated the loft …

loft

washed out the gutters and replaced missing nails in the roof…

roof_gutters

trimmed the trees whose branches were in danger of damaging the roof further…

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and replaced the damaged ceiling board…

ceiling1

ceiling2

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all in one day!

We’re now thinking of potential mural ideas for our blank canvas!

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All in all, a pretty adventurous weekend, but one that I actually quite enjoyed and which left me feeling very thankful: for helpful colleagues, for hard-working handymen, for my Swahili holding out all day, and for God’s perfect timing and provision.

A weird kind of normal.

Recently I’ve noticed a few things, which would certainly have been classed in my “weird” category this time last year, that have become normal for me here in Tanzania.

Here in the office we get a number of visitors … not all of them human:
monkeys1 monkeys2
These cheeky monkeys are playing and fighting on our office roof almost every day: amusing at times, but they can be so noisy!

When I open my curtains in the morning, I have to try to remember to do so with care, otherwise I may end up with someone landing on my head …
gecko2 gecko1
Geckos love to hide between the layers of my curtains! I mostly don’t mind them, and they help me by catching insects. However, I prefer it if they refrain from climbing on me.
I managed to catch this little guy who was hanging out on the inside of my mosquito net one evening:gecko3

Another animal related one … our neighbour found this hanging out in her yard:
chameleon1Chameleons are fairly common here, but they’re not usually so orange!

Last weekend I visited the local second-hand market with a friend:
mitumba2 mitumba1
You can find some great things there, although I was pleased that I was with someone who knew her way around … it feels a little like you might end up in Narnia!

I also realised last week that there are some things that used to be normal, but now seem very strange …
Our short rainy season has started, and so the weather is a little cooler than normal (getting as cold as 19 degrees Celsius at night!).

Last week I walked to work in the rain, and wore a jumper! Weird or what?!
rain2This was taken from my office during a midday thunderstorm; I was very pleased to be inside in the dry!