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.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

A week in the life....

Warning - this picture may contain blood!
It has been a fairly typical, though busy week for both of us. Here's a rough outline to give you a picture of our various activities.

Welcome meal for the college
Alastair's week has followed his usual varied timetable : Monday in the Catholic hospital at Kabanga, 20 minutes from town, to see outpatients. Tuesday operating all day in the government hospital in town - with a lot of sitting around and waiting for things to happen, or not! Wednesday a long operating day at Shunga - an hour's drive away, Thursday a full day in theatre back at Kabanga, and Friday he teaches the senior English classes at college, and leads an English worship singing practice!
 This term I'm teaching a full timetable as I am running an intensive English language course for 12 new students as well as my usual lessons. In the midst of all this it has been chaotic with 30 new students arriving to register.  They are sponsored by their local churches but struggle to find fees, so there are long discussions about whether they have brought enough money. I also struggle with their unpronounceable, and un-spellable names, and that they don't know their dates of birth! I somehow get all this onto spread sheets and sit in finance meetings discussing how much maize we can afford to buy.  There has also been final timetable planning,  rotas to make and the inevitable flow of students who are feeling ill (or homesick?) during their first week at college. Evenings have been dominated by preparing a sermon in Swahili for tomorrow, and keeping up my own MA studies.
Thank you for kind messages about the ordination vote last week. I continue to feel very welcomed and accepted here amongst both clergy and laity.

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