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.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

HIV Counselling Course

Our first HIV course for church leaders.

From Alastair : I work very closely with the health co-ordinator for the Diocese, John Mhanuzi, and we were pleased to start our first HIV/AIDS Counselling Course on Monday. 40 church leaders came – pastors, youth leaders and women’s group leaders. Things often take a while to get started in Africa, so it was midday before we assembled participants and speaker in the big rural church at Nyumbigwa - about 10 miles from Kasulu.
Our teacher, Dr Wagwene, organises HIV/AIDS work for the district and we knew he was a very experienced in running courses. We hadn’t realised what an excellent leader he was. He had everyone involved, asking questions, demanding answers and listening intently within a short time, and it was clear that the course was going to go well.
Church leaders are respected in their communities, and if they are knowledgeable and their attitudes to people with AIDS are helpful and stigmatisation reduced, then open speaking about the disease and its prevention will reduce the risks for the community.
By Thursday afternoon we had a group of people who felt confident to advise others compassionately about how to live their lives with HIV. We finished with some role play, which combined serious dealing with the topic with some remarkable acting skills.
This was a pilot for the first of 6 zones -next one when we get funds again.
I'm still visiting Shunga about once a week for surgical work, and have also been asked to do some surgery in the local government hospital. 

Family news : Pete and Cat left last weekend, and had a lovely few days on Zanzibar before flying home. The terrible ferry disaster was the day before they returned.  It was great to be with them but their visit was over all too quickly. Becky went with them, and is now making her way back here on buses via the north of Tanzania, and doing the back packing thing! They all travelled from Kasulu to Dar es Salam on the local bus - 28 hours and 2 loo stops!! I prefer flying!

No comments:

Post a Comment