Monday, 21 December 2009

More Travels

Last week I was busy with travels of a very different kind. The Wisbeys and I travelled around three of the language areas where we work, to meet with Tanzanian colleagues. There were many things to frustrate us on the trip – such as holding a meeting for pastors at which only five turned up (the last one arriving four hours late, just in time for lunch) or finding there are serious team relationship issues in one of the language offices that is hindering the work, or just being confronted with constant issues of money (or lack of)! It was also very cold most of the time and often raining. However, there were also things to make us smile – like tiny frogs, beautiful surroundings, fun together and the generosity of one of the coordinators in giving us a sack of potatoes (grown on their own little farm). We also became connoisseurs of chipsi mayai (chip omelette) and rice, beans, meat stew and green veg. Tasty as this food can be, we were rather sick of it by the end of the trip!


Pastors arrive at the meeting...Liz waits for things to get started

Matt busy at work with one of our colleagues...Liz and I in beautiful Kinga language area

Friday, 27 November 2009

The bright lights of the big city

Last week I went to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. After being in Mbeya, this visit to the city felt like returning to the UK, with large shopping centres, supermarkets, coffee shops, wide roads, street lights and many other features that are not to be found where I live. I made the most of it! However, I wasn’t there for retail therapy or a coffee fix, I was there to attend a ‘Scripture Use / Translation Consultation’ together with others representing a range of African countries.
Being a ‘consultation’ I expected the majority of the sessions to be discussions, but this proved not to be the case. There were some such helpful times, but there were also a lot of presentations on varying topics. As seems to be common at conferences, the times I found most valuable were chatting to others over break times. It was also interesting (and humbling) to hear of what is being done in so many parts of Africa by the faithful men and women who were there (many of whom have been working for SIL for many years). Can you spot me?
While the consultation might not have been all I had hoped for, I enjoyed the break from the normal course of work and catching up with some friends in Nairobi. I even got to enjoy a bit of culture by attending a concert by the Nairobi orchestra!
There were some other highlights to the trip…I got to fly on a MAF plane! I’ve always been a big fan of the work that MAF does in aiding missionaries and supporting remote medical stations, so I was thrilled to finally have a chance to use one of their planes for a journey that I needed to make (and I was sitting right behind the pilot so I got to see everything).

The MAF plane we flew on
The other main highlight was a day in Dar with the Wisbeys – this special day felt like a week’s holiday rolled into one! We went to a nearby hotel overlooking the ocean where we swam, relaxed in the sun and enjoyed a delicious lunch – my choice being a seafood salad that was nearly all seafood with just a bit of lettuce (I think in England it would be the other way around – nearly all lettuce, with just a bit of seafood!) Good food in a beautiful place
Then we headed to a shopping centre to stock up on breakfast cereal and a few other items and where I was suddenly reminded that Christmas is coming as they had a Christmas tree up and several other decorations around. We don’t see anything like that here in Mbeya! Next it was off to Slipway - a touristy shopping centre where we had a good look around the various stalls selling African handy-work. Finally we headed to Seacliff – another shopping centre where we had a good browse round a book shop, and then entered its main attraction – a delicious restaurant called ‘Spurs’. While Matt worked his way through a rack or two of perfectly cooked spare ribs, Liz enjoyed fajitas and I indulged in burritos. Delicious! It was the most ‘western’ style restaurant (originating in South Africa) that I have ever been to in Tanzania (which the prices reflected). There was a supermarket there too which was a weird experience as it caters to the many ex-pats in the city by selling imported products from the UK and America – I couldn’t believe that they had KP peanuts, when you can buy delicious Tanzanian peanuts cheap from roadside kiosks, and cereal boxes saying, “Buy 2 for £1.99” (they were, of course, being sold for a lot more than the equivalent of this in Tanzanian shillings).
Sadly, this lovely day came to an end and the next morning we were up at 5am and endured a 13 hour bus trip back home.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


On Saturday, together with many of my colleagues, I attended the first Scripture Dedication in our project! To read more about it visit the Wisbey's blog - no point in my trying to write about it when a friend has already written a good one :-)

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Power problems worsen

Just a quick update on the last blog...the schedule for power rationing has changed - we are now scheduled to be without power three days a week, 8am - 11pm. With the help of friends (as I am so slow to go and do these things under my own steam) I've been and bought a two-ring gas stove and a parafin lantern, so I'm a little more prepared to cope! Today it has rained properly for the first time since May - we need more of that to fill up the reservoirs which supply the hydro-electric power stations and to fill up the town's water supplies.
Soon I'll be leaving the office and heading back to the Wisbey's (trying not to worry about the food defrosting in the freezer), where after a candle-lit dinner we'll gather round a laptop to watch some West Wing (having made sure the laptop battery is fully charged here at the office) with some soft lantern-light to lessen the darkness!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Power problems

The whole nation of Tanzania is on power rationing. There’s a timetable for when the power will be cut off for a particular area, but it isn’t proving very reliable. Our part of town is supposed to be without power for 14 hours every Sunday. So, I had invited a work friend (Helen) round for dinner on Friday evening, with plans also to play our instruments together (mine being an electric piano), without any thought of whether we’d have the power to do it. You can guess what’s coming…
…I arrived home from work to find that we had no power, even worse it wouldn’t return until after 9pm. (Oh, I forgot to mention, I have an electric cooker, so no way of cooking). Now what? I texted Helen and we developed a plan B, and I am happy to say we had a lovely evening. We took a walk down to town to get dinner, where I had chicken tikka and chips and Helen had pepper steak and chips. The only problem was having to talk loudly to make ourselves heard over the sound of the generator running outside. We walked back in the dark, under a beautifully starlit sky. Still no power, so we looked at photos on my laptop (which fortunately has a good battery) until…hallelujah – the power returned (9.10pm). Se we still go to make music with the piano and oboe.
Saturday afternoon I invited several friends around for cake. Not long after I had taken some flapjack out of the oven and melted some chocolate to spread on top, the power went off. I figured we’d just have to have cold drinks but…ten minutes later it was back on again.
So, who knows when the power will go off?! Have to be flexible here! And it makes you so much more thankful for lights at the flick of a switch when you’ve been straining to read by candlelight. (And I should just add, the power did go off on Sunday, for 15 hours!)

Friday, 21 August 2009

New territory

This week I visited a language area I have never been to before. It was one of the most unpleasant journies I have been on, on account of the dust. The place itself was hot and dry, with lots of mosquitoes. If it wasn’t so hazy, you would be able to see Lake Rukwa spread out in the plain below, as it was, you could just see the edges of it and the sun glinting off the water through the dusty haze.

Amusing moments on this trip included seeing my Tanzanian colleagues looking as if they had turned old after the journey as a result of the dust in their hair turning it grey! We had a good laugh together about that. The dust didn’t show up on me, but it was definitely there, I could feel and smell it.
Discouraging moments included feeling unable understand conversational Swahili or to communicate my thoughts clearly. (I’m not sure how much of that was due to my lack of vocabulary, tiredness or my mind just being elsewhere!)

Best moments included walking out at sunset and seeing the red sun dropping down and going out at night and being able to see the milky way…my highlights are often connected to God’s awesome creation!
Fun moments included trying some new food, called sharif. It was like a giant samosa, fried in another layer of batter, and with an egg in the centre! It was so filling, it kept me going from breakfast (yes, I had it for breakfast!!) until 4pm, with only a soda in between.

Unpleasant moments included lying in bed and hearing the mosquitoes buzzing all around (though fortunately I was well protected under the mosquito net).
Tiring moments…well, it can’t really be called a ‘moment’ because it was constant – using Swahili all the time – that’s tiring. Most of my trips I make with English friends, but this time there was no chance for me to use my Mother Tongue with a fellow mother-tongue speaker (though my Tanzanian colleagues speak very good English, so I could revert to it if I really needed to).

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

A day is like a week

Matema Beach - by Lake Nyasa
Matema seems to be a magical place. One day there and I feel I have been there a whole week soaking up its beauty, letting the early morning mistyness over the mountains refresh my soul as I sit there having my quiet time and watching the sun rising over the peaks, swimming in the fresh waters of the lake or feeling the sun warm me through as I lie on the beach with a book. That all sounds very romanticised – I’ll put it down to reading Anne of Green Gables! However, it truly is a beautiful spot. The ride there wasn’t quite so enjoyable, but so long as you could ignore the discomfort of sitting on the narrow uncomfy seats of a rattly daladala, it was a pleasant, if rather long journey, made all the more pleasurable by good company – the Wisbeys together with Matt’s family who are visiting (see picture). On the way back from our trip we visited the Bridge of God – a remarkable natural structure (see picture).
This all came after holding a follow-up workshop for Sunday School teachers in a town down towards the lake. The feedback was really encouraging from the few teachers that came – it seems that they have really tried to use some of the things that they learned in the earlier training they received, and that it’s producing results – such as the children understanding better and more children coming.
On arrival back in Mbeya we were confronted with the kind of issue that you might think we face regularly living in Africa, but which we actually face very rarely in our daily lives – the guard at the Wisbey’s compound had sent his baby to a witch doctor because it was ill. I won’t go into detail as it would make a whole blog on its own, suffice to say, this episode, coupled with hearing about the reality of withcraft from a Christian lady working with street children, all in the same week, has aroused fresh awareness of the spiritual battle that we face.
On a happier note – the rest of the day finished off in a fun way as I joined Karin briefly for her birthday ‘party’ and then went out for a Chinese (can you believe we have a Chinese restaurant here?!!)

Monday, 3 August 2009


One thing Tanzanians know how to do is sing (and dance – can’t have one without the other)! We recently held a two-day workshop to train Sunday School Teachers in one of the language areas where we work. One of the highlights of that workshop for me was hearing them sing in their mother tongue, with obvious joy on their faces. Being in that place reminded me once again of the importance of our work – that of Bible Translation. Often I find myself teaching in places where people from a variety of language groups live, so Swahili is heard more often than not, instead of their mother tongues. However, in this particular village, they all belong to the same people group, and lunchtime conversation was nearly all in their mother tongue. I so wished that, instead of just encouraging them to teach the children in their mother tongue, I could have actually given them Bible story books to use or Scripture itself in their language. Please pray for this work!

1) The beautiful location for the workshop 2) A carpenter at work in the village

3) Liz teaching the Sunday School Teachers

Monday, 22 June 2009

Worlds apart

From coast to coast...
...from England to Tanzania...
...two beautiful countries, but worlds apart…

I’m home, that means I am back in Tanzania, and it’s that same feeling once again...that the last two months never happened. Tanzania is worlds apart from England. There seems to be nothing which connects the two lives. It’s a strange feeling. It leaves an uncomfortable sense of disconnectedness in relationships. When I was in England I seemed able to pick up my friendships so easily and naturally, but now I am back it’s almost hard to believe that England exists and those people continue with their every day lives. I love them dearly and I miss them and yet at the same time it’s not as painful as I expected because they’re somehow part of a different life, another world. I think it’s always harder for those left behind. A shame we can’t take our friends with us everywhere and share the experiences together, so that this strange disconnectedness is removed.
That leads me onto another thought…how missionary life is one of constant transition, constant comings and goings – either yourself or your friends never seem to be in one place for very long. It’s one of the hardest things about life here. Every new place we go we have to start again, making new friendships, or if we remain behind as close friends go on, new relationships need to be formed to fill the void. As people come into our lives at different stages they only ever get to know a part of us, unless you make the effort to dig deeper and are willing to make yourself vulnerable. But then comes the pain once again of making a deep friendship, only to have to say goodbye after a year or two. It’s hard to do that over and over again and I think it is particularly hard for singles who face these changes alone.
Anyhow, back to my return to Tanzania… arriving did feel very much like ‘coming home’, which was a relief! I wasn’t sure how it would be, after my trip to England ended up being twice as long as I’d planned. Unfortunately there is one thing from England that has travelled with me – the scar on my arm. Every time I take off my pressure garment I wince in pain – both physical and emotional, as the ugly red patch of skin is revealed. The thought of wearing these things on my arm for two more years is not a nice one (even though they really don’t look that bad – they just make my arm look very small!)
I had a lovely time with friends and family in England, despite my accident, and I am thankful to God for those special shared moments we had. I am also thankful to be back amongst my close friends here, and hope that whatever happens in the future, I will still be able to invest in the friendships I have right now, trusting that God will provide for my relational needs (as He promises to do – Mat. 19:29) when and if they or I leave.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Has anything changed?

I questioned in my last blog whether my old home will seem familiar any more… the truth is, I wonder if anything has changed? OK, so Woolworths isn’t there any more, a garden centre has become Lidl, friends are pregnant and my parents have decorated their bedroom, but otherwise…?!
When I first arrived I was too exhausted to really take anything in having not slept well, if at all, for the previous few days and during travel. Arrival at the aiport was almost just as I imagined, with my parents, brother and sister-in-law ready and waiting with open arms (and a warm coat!) I landed straight into the busyness of an Easter weekend, but sadly I think I was too tired to really appreciate that special time of year, though I’d been looking forward to it for so long. Now that I’ve rested and my energy levels are somewhat restored I am starting to take in my environment more and catch up with people.
Truth be told, the environment is the same, though I am much more aware of how neat and tidy England is, how ordered life is, how people keep to the rules of the road (so that driving proved to be a joy rather than a stress when I took my first trip out on my own) and how there are lots and lots of cars! There’s just tiny changes like more recycling, more people out on bikes and new property developments.
The familiarity of everything, the ease with which one can slip back into life here, makes the reality of being here like some strange time-warp. I know that my stay here is only temporary and I refer to Tanzania as ‘home’, and yet at the same time it’s as if the last two years never happened. Even relationships have been picked up remarkably easily (helped, I am sure, by how faithfully people have kept in touch in my absence). However, at the same time as living here, and going through the motions of normal life in England (even playing the piano at church again on Sunday, which was a real privelage) I feel strangely disconnected… I’m half here and half in Tanzania, living in two time-zones as I keep in touch with close friends that I miss there while interacting with friends and family here that I have missed for two years!
On the positive side, some of the things I am really enjoying (besides the obvious pleasure of being with my family and friends) are eating nice cheeses, yummy meals out, walking in the surrounding countryside, long twilights, a fast internet connection and breakfast cereal!

Out for a walk with family and friends on my birthday

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

What will it be like?

I’ve been musing over what it will be like to return to England. I can’t quite take in that in a week’s time I’ll be on my way. I picture scenes of greeting my family, who I have not seen for two years, with big hugs, and returning to familiar places and ways of life. But will it seem familiar any more? How will it be…
…to drive a little car on busy roads after driving a Land Rover on dirt tracks?
…to walk into a shop and have to choose which brand of margarine to buy, after only having one choice?
…to walk into a supermarket, after using shops that more closely resemble a village corner store? …to pay with plastic rather than cash?
…to walk down a street without being called out to, blending into the crowd?
…to drink water straight from the tap rather than from a filter?
…to be able to put a frozen pizza in the oven instead of making it all myself?
…to be ignored by people walking by rather than receiving friendly greetings as I go?
…to be reunited with people who were close, knowing that I have changed and that they too will have moved on?
The truth is, England doesn’t feel like home anymore. It seems like another world I once read about, my only connection with it now being through emails, letters and the BBC website! How will it feel to walk on English soil once again? Will it then seem like Tanzania is just a dream?
I think one of the hardest things about living here is that nowhere will ever feel completely like home again. I love Tanzania, but it’s not my culture, I can’t feel completely at one with the place. And yet I’ve absorbed something of this place into my being, and so England will never quite be my home again either. Where does that leave me?!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Expect the unexpected

No trip in Tanzania ever goes quite as planned. Things were relatively predictable in England… I knew that if I ordered food it would be ready in half an hour, if a seminar was scheduled to start at 9am it would start at 9am and everyone would be there, if I wanted the toilet there would be toilet paper in the cubicle, if I wanted a shower the shower would work, if I turned on the tap I’d get water, if I needed light it would come at the flick of a switch, if I had a problem with my car the AA were always on call and if I needed to explain anything to someone, they would be able to understand.
It doesn’t quite work like that here. This weekend Liz, Matt and I took another trip. On Thursday we headed out to one of the language areas where we work, firstly to meet with some Literacy Teachers to see how things were going for them. This involved a pleasant ride along both tarmac and good dirt roads, through some beautiful countryside. We enjoyed a glimpse of a crater lake on the way, where we approached by a lady trying to sell us old German coins that had been found in the lake!

After being well fed, and loaded with gifts of bananas, mangoes and avocadoes, we continued on our way to a very hot town called Kyela. Our first challenge was to find somewhere to stay. In order to find a quiet place that had mosquito nets on the beds we ended up in a nice hotel on the edge of town. The only downside was that the air-conditioning in my room didn’t work!
On Friday and Saturday, Liz and I were teaching another workshop for Sunday School Teachers (our third this year). We planned to start at 9am but as usual we began over an hour late and people continue to drift in over the next hour. Tea break was supposed to be 11.30am, but when the caterers never turned up I found out that they were expecting us to come and get the food. Miscommunication. We finally got it at 12.30pm, and lunch was a mere 2 hours late (though I have to say the food was particularly tasty, even though it was the usual rice, beef stew and spinach).
The Sunday school teachers were fun to work with, but the environment was hot and we were tired and dehydrated by the end of the first day. The whole 8 hours I never needed the toilet, but the second day I was more careful about drinking water and had no choice but to check out the facilities. And, of course, no toilet paper, just a rather unusual hole in the ground that I won’t go into detail about, and the usual smell.
The second day of training came to a classic end, as we encouraged the teachers to choose someone to facilitate another meeting for them to get together and encourage and help one another. They held a meeting after the workshop to choose this person, and it turned into a big voting affair, with the choice of a chair-person and a secretary for their ‘committee’! A classic Tanzanian procedure – every church, organisation and event has its committee!
By four o’clock we were ready to roll, and very happy to be heading home. However… within half an hour the Land Rover over heated and steam was coming out the engine. We could hear the water boiling away in the radiator etc. We rolled the car into the shade and waited for it to cool off.

Not sure what to do, as there was obviously a leak somewhere, we made frantic phone-calls to various people. Finally we flagged down a passing vehicle, which turned out to be full of police, one of whom had a bit of know-how and was able to fix the pipe where we had seen a leak. Back on the road, we’d driven for just five minutes when it overheated again. Amazingly, we saw the police vehicle heading back towards us and next thing we knew they had contacted the mechanic they use down the road and we were able to coast all the way there. When John, the mechanic, had looked at the engine, the doom settled as we realised we would need to spend the night somewhere. It was too late to get the parts and fix it now. John lives at a coal mine, in a concrete village built by the Chinese in the 80s. We were able to stay at a house there for guests, which had seen better days. The bathroom had a shower, but there was no running water as the pipe outside was bust, which meant I slept to the constant sound of a waterfall from this broken pipe. However, more disturbing to one’s sleep was the sound of the frogs – incredibly loud! On the bright side, literally, we saw loads of fireflies – specks of light buzzing around, flashing on and off.
The next day John got to work on our car, in the baking sun, while we wilted inside the house, except for a trip to find food for us all. Finally, with great relief, we heard him start up the engine about 4pm, and so off we set, but no sooner had we reached his house than we began to hear the water boiling once again. Another look at the engine, and he realised that replacing the gasket (don’t ask me which one!) wasn’t enough, some plate or other needed grinding down, and he didn’t have the machine for this.

He was very hospitable – we sat in his house watching TV, reading, and eating grilled meat that he prepared, while we waited for colleagues from Mbeya to come and pick us up (a 1½ hour journey). Abandoning the car for a garage to come and pick up (we didn’t fancy towing it ourselves in the dark and rain and on steep hilly roads), we were picked up and headed home, finally arriving around 9pm.
At last, we thought, a hot shower and bed! But the next thing I know, I get a phone call from the Wisbeys telling me they have no power at their house. It had been off since 4am. Food had gone off in the fridge, and the freezer was defrosting. What an awful end to an exhausting trip!
Trips like this really try our patience and wear down our energy levels. It seems that even the most simple things can become stressful, the most carefully laid plans can go wrong and the only thing you can be certain of is uncertainty. Please pray for us, that we would be strengthened, that we would not get discouraged and that God would reveal what He is trying to teach us through these trials.

Snapshots of my life in Mbeya

At the market... this is where I go to buy all my fresh fruit and vegetables and many other things!

My good friends Matt & Liz, who I mention so often, and Liz and I in our locally made outfits.

The view I enjoy on the way to work every day.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Travels and training

Time to hit the road again – or get stuck on it! On Friday & Saturday, Liz Wisbey and I were leading a workshop for Sunday school teachers, training them in how to handle God’s Word carefully when teaching children and interactive ways to help children learn. So, on Thursday we set off to the Kinga language area, together with Matt Wisbey and Frank (a Tanzanian colleague) who had Literacy work to do there. We knew the roads on the most direct route wouldn’t be good as a result of the rains, but we took that way anyhow, despite my anxieties due to having got stuck on that route the previous year! And sure enough, we came to a slippery, muddy halt a couple of times. However, with Matt’s good driving, the faithful Land Rover’s low gears and the help of villagers who seemed to have been waiting for the next vehicle to get stuck, we were soon on our way again.

The Kinga language area is high in the hills – our journey there took us to heights of around 9500 feet (2880m)! This makes it a beautiful but cold landscape, and it rained most of the time that we were there.
We enjoyed good Tanzanian food in the same tiny little eating place most days – usually eating rice, beans, mboga (like spinach), beef and fruit. While waiting for the food we often sat around a little charcoal fire to keep warm. On the final evening we ate at a different place that is supposed to serve more ‘Western’ food – this meant we were able to get pasta instead of rice, but the rest of the meal was the same!
The workshop was fun, though tiring, with over twenty teachers, who particularly enjoyed the games we played with them. However, we have left with the feeling that we are spreading ourselves too thin. We don’t know when we will be able to go back to this place to follow up, as there are nine other language areas to visit. How can we be sure the training has been effective or how can we help them to continue to develop in their important responsibility of teaching children the Word of God? Liz teaching
By the way, we returned safely, without getting stuck, by a different route that was about three times as long!

Monday, 5 January 2009

New Year

I wrote some thoughts in my journal about entering the new year…
I feel both excited and apprehensive…
Excited because there’ll be lots of new opportunities at work, with the chance to grow in reliance on God as we step out in these different activities in faith. Also looking forward to going home, seeing friends and family.
Apprehensive because there were lots of struggles in 2008, so what will the year ahead be like – will I have learned from them and changed for the good – dealing better with the struggles of the future? How will friendships develop? Will I grow spiritually? Will I develop better relationships with Tanzanians, a better understanding of the culture and a closer connection to it? My prayer: Jesus, be the centre, be my source, be my vision, be my satisfaction, be my reward, be the one on whom I rely, be my discipliner, be my friend and brother, be my all in all.

Preparing for and enjoying a delicious New Year's Eve meal in my home. Round the table, L-R, there's Elizabeth (a colleague in Mbeya), Amy (a fellow Scripture Use worker, but in another project), me, Liz & Matt Wisbey, Ollie (a linguist from a project in the North of Tanzania) and Rachel (from that same project).

Out for a walk near my home, in the fresh green growth that the rainy season brings.

Another Christmas in Tanzania…

…A very different experience to last year! Rather than Christmas day with a Tanzanian family eating pilau (spiced rice) I celebrated this year’s Christmas with a group of friends, with some fantastic traditional Christmas food...
Eleven of us met up in Dodoma, the capital city of Tanzania, and stayed with friends there who have a lovely large home that could accommodate us all. We were nearly all missionaries from different Wycliffe projects across Tanzania. I went along with the Wisbeys (good friends of mine who I’ve mentioned before), who had been at language school together with most of the others there. Although I wasn’t at language school with them, I had met them all at our annual conference.
Christmas dinner was an amazing feat of good home cooked food – roast chicken and beef, home made stuffing, bread sauce and gravies, roast potatoes, veg and creamed corn pudding. Dessert was of a traditional American flavour - the most amazing pecan pie I’ve ever had (not that I’ve had very many, but it was truly scrumptious and dangerously more-ish). On top of that, someone made Christmas cake, and a few days previously I’d made mince-pies with Liz Wisbey (making our own version of mincemeat) which turned out really well.

Eating Christmas dinner (that's Liz on the right)

One of my favourite activities of my time there was walking up Lion Rock, from where you get a fantastic view out across the city and the surrounding countryside. However, this walk had to be taken fairly early in the morning to avoid the worst heat of the day – it’s a lot hotter than Mbeya. I also enjoyed going to an ice-cream shop, having crispy duck at a Chinese, reading, chatting and playing games (oh, and sleeping!).

Now back at home I am enjoying pottering around, doing householdy things (I get a strange satisfaction from doing housework) and doing up the lounge. On the way to Dodoma I went shopping with the Wisbeys in Iringa (where I went to language school), where there are several projects run to help people such as single mothers or the deaf. I was able to buy a lovely dyed cloth as a throw for the sofa, and a multi-coloured woven rug for the floor. It’s brightened up the lounge no end! The Wisbeys had bought me a lovely wall hanging for Christmas which just happens to match the colour scheme perfectly, so I can’t wait to get that up, make some cushion covers and so finish off the lounge makeover!