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, 21 June 2013


New Bible College baby
Sunday School Camp

The picture on the left is of Grace Mary, the new baby of our Bible College Principal, Daudi and his wife Olivia - being proudly held by her big brother Frank! Grace was born last weekend by emergency caesarian at the local hospital. We rejoice with them and thank God that all went well - maternity care here is of course much more basic than at home. I was reminded of our three children being brought up in Africa, and the relative ease of it all - there's no fancy equipment, no different packets of wipes for this and that... just a few old kangas and some nappies, and lots of experienced people to help.
Today I visited the Deanery Sunday School camp in the village of Bugaga. There were an (uncountable) 3-400 children at the camp for the weekend. Each Sunday school comes with songs, readings etc that they have practiced, and there is teaching, more singing, and games. They enjoyed learning the actions to "The Grace"  whcih I taught them (in Swahili of course) -and anyone from Little Church or St Barnabas PCC will know them too! The children sleep in the open, just on the grass for the weekend.
This week I have been teaching a small group of research students which I have enjoyed, and finalising college admin. Our students all did very well in their final, externally marked, exams - so that is a great note on which to finish this academic year. Alastair has been busy with hospital work as usual, though the fact there is no Plaster of Paris in the whole region is causing problems for orthopaedics. And he's busy with the Gloucester Diocese project of building a secondary school - of which he's sort of project manager.
Just 4 days until we start our journey home - a suitcase is already packed with the kangas everyone has ordered.  I've finished my "mother-of-the groom" outfit for Pete and Cat's wedding, which I've made from local African material, on my treadle sewing machine! - the first time such fabric has been teamed up with a kilt I expect!

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