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, 23 November 2012

A day in the life....

In response to a request here's a brief overview of daily college life - and my life as a full time member of staff.
The day starts for us at 6 ish when we struggle out from under the mosquito net. It's still dark then, and feels very early. I leave the house soon after 7 to walk (15 minutes) or short drive if I have the car that day, to be at college morning prayers for 7.30am. This alternates between English and Swahili and is led by the students, under my supervision in my role as college chaplain. It's held in the Cathedral, just next door to the college, but hopefully next week our  new chapel will be finished.
Then the staff meet together for a  few minutes to talk through any isssues of the day and to pray. We're only 5 full time staff at present. I'm also "Academic Dean" so keep an eye on the teaching timetable and often have to swap lessons around if staff are away.
The students have breakfast of tea and bread at that time, and lessons start at 8.30am. It's a full time table for everyone, and takes us up to 1pm. I have an office in the college where I can do lesson prep, academic admin work, and see students who come to see me for everything from sore throats to essay problems and money worries. I've also a role (which I share) as "college doctor" - and have a well stocked medical cupboard which saves us sending students out to clinics and hospital for minor ailments.
Then it's lunch - the students have ugali and beans, the standard Tanzanian fare. I try to get home, though often its late before I get away. Dianes meanwhile has been working in the house, cleaning, washing, cooking etc. It's great  to come home to a nice salad and home made bread laid out on the table, as we're often pretty tired. 
Afternoons vary. Sometimes, dare I admit, I have a short siesta. I usually go back to college to help students with their research or essays, I hold extra English classes for some of the slower students, meet with others to prepare the worship, and twice a week have my ladies English class. Occasionally I get a free afternoon when I can do lesson prep or marking, and have my own Swahili lesson.
The students have to help with the cleaning and care of the college, and work in the college garden some afternoons, but also use afternoons and evenings for their own study and assignments. They all live in, in rather basic dormitories.
Kasulu Bible College
I took this picture this week of all the staff and students (sorry I'm not in it!). The white chap in the middle is David, who's been here as full time English teacher for 6 months and will return home to New Zealand next week. We'll miss him and really need a replacement - anyone willing???

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