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, 13 October 2012

Local life

Daniel in his Christian bookshop

on the way to market
Many thanks for ideas about things to include on the blog  - please keep them coming. I've been asked about the local community, and how people live. Kasulu is a very, very  busy market town, with main market days on Tues, Thurs and Saturday. Local people come from 10 - 15 miles around with bananas, pineapples, vegetables, firewood, sugarcane, chickens, furniture..... to sell from their own land. Early in the morning the roads from the surrounding hills are crowded with people carrying things on their heads or on remarkably loaded bicycles. The usual load is 5 large hands of bananas on one bike (or 6 mattresses!). It's difficult to get photos of the bustling, colourful markets - so you'll have to come to see for yourselves. In the surrounding villages nearly everyone is a self sufficient farmer, with a few acres of land. Kasulu thrives on the business from the markets, and from its geographically central position in the region. A lot of transport comes through this way, and there are numerous guest houses and hotels. There's no industry as such, but schools, a teacher training college and a rapidly growing number of small businesses. The above photo is of Daniel, a good friend, who recently opened the only Christian bookshop in town. He's doing well, and as well as selling books he sits at his sewing machine making leatherette covers for bibles and prayer books. (about £1-00 each, with zip and handle - place your orders!) People are remarkably industrious in creating and supplementing income, so as to improve the opportunities for their children.
College students on holiday for a week, so time to catch up on admin, learn more Swahili, and prepare for mega-trip away next week. More news anon.

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