Helen and Alastair - some background

Helen and Alastair - some background : We have always hoped to return to Africa once more before we're too old (perhaps we already are!). Alastair first went to Africa in 1974 as a junior doctor, working for the Church of Scotland in a small hospital in Transkei, South Africa. I met Alastair there in 1982, were married in 1984 and continued in Transkei until 1988. From there we went to Kenya, as employees of the Church of Scotland, where Alastair ran Chogoria Hospital. We left in 1995, with Alec, Peter and Becky to establish the children's schooling and our work in Britain. Here Alastair found himself as consultant in Breast cancer surgery, and Helen initially trained and worked as a GP before "evolving" to full time ordained ministry. Alec is now married to Ruth, and they have baby Zach; Pete is in his final year of medicine in Edinburgh, and Becky half way through nurse training in Oxford.

The Diocese of Western Tanganyika is a partner of Gloucester diocese. The plan is for Helen to join the teaching staff of the Bible College, teaching those preparing for ministry. Alastair will teach English to the students at the college, as well as doing some surgery at the church-run hospitals, and helping with project management in the Diocese.
We will keep you updated on our plans over the next few months and will greatly value your prayer support. Our current prayer requests - and thanks to God of course - will be posted on the side bar.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Sun and Students

It's beautiful weather here now : the rains are almost finished so everything is very green and fresh, and the sun is shining. Quite hot in the middle of the day, but by late afternoon cool enough to enjoy a walk. Our house stays cool (so far) as it has a big overhanging verandah. Domestic excitements this week have been 1) the sitting room wall has beeen painted - it was black and mouldy, so I'll now finish the curtain project. Have hung up Sarah Skitts wall hanging!
2) found some wonderful fresh fish in the market yesterday, rather like trout. Also found English type new potatoes. Never understimate the simple pleasures of life! 3) Not leaks at all in the bathroom.
I've suddenly got really busy - like usual! - late to bed last night preparing teaching material, exam board questions... for students who start next week. I've 5 main classes to teach - parish finances (don't laugh - God sets us these challenges!!), Mission, and Theological Reflection. - also lots of extra things in college including the 25 wives who will come for 6 weeks to learn wifely things. Will update you on that as it sounds fun. I'm to teach them to make scones, (though not sure how to do so without an oven... any suggestions???) and about health, as well as Bible study.
The College struggles so much as it has no secure income. It's such a shame as the staff really want to teach and take the college forward but they're always having to talk about how to buy food etc for the students, and even the staff don't always get paid so they get despondent. The students often have to find labouring work for evenings and weekends to support themselves. These are really great guys training for minsitry and their faith and loyalty is inspiring. I'm thinking of a "sponsor a student" scheme for overseas donors - anyone interested??
This is a picture of our usual walk to and from town (you can see the start of the market in the distance). It's about 10 minutes to the "shops", and another 5 to college. On market days the road is busy with people, bicycles, old pick ups ... all carying things to and from market. There's a lovely expression here "Window Shopping" - which means wandering rather aimpessly around the shops looking at things, but makes me laugh as there's not a window in the whole town!!

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