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, 30 April 2013


 Sorry for blog delay - bad African tummy event for a week or more! - I'm getting better now.

Ester is one of our students' wives who has come for the six week course.  She is in her 30's and has 8 children. Unfortunately Ester never had the opportunity to attend school when she was a child and she is completely illiterate. Once we had realised this - and her consequent reluctance to attend any of the classes or mix with the other women - we have started to help her. We have found a private tutor for her, a retired primary school teacher, and today she had her first lesson in reading and writing. She is so excited and could barely wait for her first lesson. The word for flower in Swahli is "ua" - a good first word to learn!!
The literacy rate for women in Tanzania is still only around 65% although more children these days are having the opportunity to attend school.
For me, it has been my first time to be so directly aware of the huge problem that illiteracy causes - and the fear and alienation from so much of life. For Ester it would cause great difficulty in her life as the wife of a pastor. It's one tiny drop in the ocean of adult literacy - but an enormous step for Ester and her family. I'll let you know how she's doing at the end of the month!


  1. I hope and pray that Ester enjoys every minute of her new adventure. Also that God gives her new confidence and joy with her peers.

  2. Also praying for you and all those you care for and work among. God bless all your endeavors.