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.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


So sorry for long silence on blogging. It has been busy with lots of coming and going of people, and the students returning to college. I found out today that I have malaria, which explains why I've been so tired and feeling rough. I can now feel sorry for myself, start treatment and justify a few quiet days. Malaria here is very very prevalent - by far the biggest health problem for local people. It can be quite mild - as mine- and if caught early and treated one recovers easily. But for many local people, who already may be otherwise unwell or undernourished, or in young children, it can be very severe. Over 70% of the admissions in Shunga hospital are cases of malaria, sometimes combined with other problems. There is a government bed net campaign, but people are still somewhat suspicious of nets, having an idea that they reduce fertility(!!). More often than not one sees the government issued nets in the gardens to keep the birds off the crops. Alastair is involved in a survey to find out about net usage, and then hopes to start a project to distribute nets in the villages. There's still no vaccination for malaria. I am sure if it was a Western illness a lot of money and research would have gone into it and there would be much better prevention and treatment. It is called the "forgotten killer" and is yet another example of the imbalance of resources in our world.
Becky and Rehema
Enough deep thoughts .....
Alastair is in S Africa this week, working with his PhD student on his long standing research into Cancer of the Oesophagus. He's gone with a shopping list from me! Becky is here which is lovely, though at Shunga during the week involved in the variety of nursing in the hospital. She comes "home" to us at the weekends. I also have Sarah, a lovely American young woman staying this month. She is visiting from the Californian partner churches.
The mouse is still in the kitchen, but I think it's better to peacefully co-habit.
No more Swahili sermons though I preached in the Cathedral on Sunday having been asked to do so during the previous service!

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