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, 11 June 2013


The Mother's Union choir sing at the Sherehe
Sherehe is the word for a celebration.  Sherehes are held for all sorts of reasons and are a wonderful gathering of people, noise, food and joy. On Sunday we drove over an hour - the last 20 minutes on a narrow stony track  - to the edge of a tiny village in the hills to celebrate with one of our newly ordained college students. There was a torn tarpaulin awning outside their house, the sitting room furniture had been brought outside, the church choirs had all come with their instruments and loud speakers (and tiny petrol generator), and friends and neighbours were cooking enormous pots of rice and bananas on open wood fires.  Some guests are invited, but others just gather around to enjoy the music and hope to get a taste of food.
Others just gather to enjoy the event
We were  - as white people and college tutor - guests of honour so sat on the sofa and had the first use of the few plastic plates and spoons. As at all sherehes there were speeches and prayers, and many songs written especially for the occasion. The choir in the picture sang to the wonderful accompaniment of a drum and a nail rubbed against a ridged Fanta bottle. And then we were all invited to bring gifts - these are presented with more singing and dancing and everyone comes forward to offer congratulations.
Such events make our "stand-around-balancing-a- drink-and-sausage-roll" parties look rather tame!

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