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, 23 May 2014

Exam week - and final surgery

Difficult questions!
 It's the beginning of exams for our students, and today 35 of them are sitting an external exam in Bible Knowledge. I have been teaching extra revision classes for 2 weeks, but because it is in English they are really struggling. Exams will continue all through next week, and as 'Academic Dean' its my responsibility to organise everything : buying paper, collating exams questions, ensuring discipline, overseeing the invigilation etc. Therefore not much chance yet for thinking about packing for coming home. However by way of relaxation the other day I used all my scraps of African fabric to cut out a decade's worth of jolly jam pot covers to bring home!

Successful surgery

From Alastair: I am tailing down my surgery commitments as we get ready to leave.  I have one list only next week, and have been looking back over the last two years work. About  700 operations, 40% of them major.  Shunga hospital, where I have worked consistently with Dr Henry Ndege, has the biggest operation  total, but operations by me have dwindled to almost nothing as Dr Ndege has grown in confidence and competence. My visits there are now usually for support and encouragement rather than operating.
Our patient whose femur I repaired by inserting a motorcycle throttle rod  was delighted to have his picture taken standing happily on the injured leg -  now healed, and with the rod out.   
I have also worked a lot with Sister Saba at Kabanga hospital. She is a nun, qualified as a doctor a few years ago. She is very able, good as a surgeon, and has increased her range of operations.
On 30th May, Shunga village sees the celebration of 100 years since the first Christian mission to this area of Tanzania occasion.  We’ll be there with hundreds of others for this wonderful

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