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, 28 June 2013


Chips Mayai ....
.. and fruit salad

We left Kasulu on Thursday morning for our journey home. We are now in Dar es Salam, waiting for our flight to UK this afternoon.
In western culture travelling tends to be regarded as something of a nuisance, and the quicker and more efficient the journey the better, with complaints about traffic and road works. In Tanzania journeys are not taken for granted, and people are aware of the difficulty and sometimes danger of travelling. Before we left home many people came to wish us well and to pray for us as we travel. They will be waiting for news from us that we have "arrived safely".
We are of course privileged to be able to fly, as the usual way to get from Kasulu to Dar is the 36 hour bus trip. However we have a night in Mwanza and another in Dar, planned because the flights are unreliable and trying to travel quickly is somewhat risky.  We stay in middle of the range hotels but often find it more fun (and a lot cheaper!) to get meals out on the local streets. Chips mayai are a great fast-food option here and there are lots of stalls along the side of the road delighted to take an order.  It takes about 2 minutes to be ready : take chips cooked beforehand, toss into a frying pan over a charcoal fire, add 2 eggs and some chopped vegetables and seasoning, skilfully flip it over ..... and when ready put into a plastic bag for take away : (or sit on a plastic chair on the side of the road for "eat in"). 60p for a good meal for 2. Another 40p will buy a collection of wonderful fruit from the other side of the road - both these pictures were taken where I bought lunch in Mwanza yesterday.
We're thankful for a long-ish journey home which gives us time to rest, reflect and readjust. We both read a lot and are inseparable from our Kindles. I'm also using the time trying to read 1 Corinthians in Swahili - it's difficult enough to understand in English!
Thank you for all who have sent us good wishes for our journey, and we are very excited to be on our way home!

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