A big thank you to all who helped make our Harvest weekend such a resounding success. It was good to share Harvest celebrations again with our friends from St Joseph’s who helped at the events throughout the weekend and joined in our Sunday services. Thanks to Wendy Stewart for organising the Friday evening Varity Show and all who assisted her to make such a successful evening.
The week-end concluded with a joint morning Harvest service led by our Minister. Sunday afternoon saw voices and musical talents stimulated by the Madding Crowd “Gallery Music” workshop, before singing traditional Harvest hymns during our evening service. Thanks to Geoff Prestage and Mike Perrott for organising this, to Jill Stagg and her team for the afternoon tea and, of course, to Madding Crowd for their patience and help in taking our evening service back to those “pre-organ” days of church worship.
Hello everyone I'm back! It seems like ages since I wrote a piece saying goodbye when I was leaving for Tanzania, look how much I've done since then. It was lovely to see that Mum kept you all up to date on what I was getting up to but I thought I would tell you a bit about the things she missed out...
It all started once Mum and Dad had dropped me off at Heathrow Airport and I was with the rest of Team Tembo. We were through passport control, security and we were on the plane before I knew it. After stop at Dubai, we arrived in Dar es Salaam – the traffic was mad! It took us 3 hours to do a journey that should have taken 40 minutes. Our last night of luxury with beds, flushing toilets and electricity before heading for Madabadaba.
The next day we went as far as Hondo Hondo where we spent the night, then an early start for the final leg to Madabadaba, it was an epic journey in total of 365km (226 miles) over very bumpy roads. We arrived, put up our tents and organised our camp before we fell into our sleeping bags for some sleep.
When we arrived at the school there was a bare shell with no roof, paint or colour. It wasn't long before we changed that! Over our two weeks at the school we had finished all the classrooms and all three offices. Every wall, door and window had been sanded, painted, repainted in the range of three colours (black, white and red). We had also done some murals in the classrooms such as an alphabet, numbers 1-10, a world map, times tables and we even did a tree with all of our hand prints and names as a lasting reminder of our team’s visit to the village. Satisfying work but days from 7.30am-5pm in the heat of Tanzania meant that we were all ready to wash and cool off in the river each evening!
For the opening ceremony, all of the village turned up including all 250 children! Madabadaba isn’t a big village or well-known, however BUS LOADS of people turned up from miles around just to see what these Scouts had done to help the school. You could say it was a good turn out! The children were all so excited to see the equipment we had brought them using the active kids vouchers and we played football with them using their new ball, it was really lovely.
Sadly, the day after the opening ceremony we left Madabadaba. We said good bye to the villagers and children, all the Tanzanian Scouts who had camped with us, our night watchman (who had kept us safe whilst we slept – and had even encouraged a leopard to leave our camp site) and the builders. We had one last wash in our beloved river we set off for the rest of our trip.
We then got to travel around a small part of Tanzania. We enjoyed a safari where we saw so many elephants, zebra, hippo and quite a few lions. One day we had a lovely climb up Sanje Waterfalls, we hiked into pristine natural forest to the top of the 180m waterfall where we had lunch with our legs over the edge and we swam in the pool at the bottom. Then, last but not least we arrived at the beach resort. By now we haven’t seen metal cutlery or china plates for a month so our first meal here was very emotional, especially when they brought us banana split!
I could talk about Tanzania, the experience, my team and the friends I made for ages but I feel I would run out of space! I hope this has given you a bit more of an insight into what we got up to on our month away but please feel free to talk to me about it, as I said, I can talk for ages on the subject!
Thank you all for supporting me so much on my journey.
The Hall may not have been as packed as the old Church Socials back in the early 1900s, but with almost 50 people attending, the Harvest Festival Variety Show proved to be just as successful. The entertainment consisted of songs, poems, anecdotes and even a bit of stand-up comedy provided by guest acts and members of the Church congregation, the highlight of which must have been Geoff's rendition of 'Your baby has gone down the plughole'. A selection of cheeses, pickle, salad and bread made up the Ploughman's, complemented by a choice of drinks and cakes to finish off. Thank you to everyone who attended and special thanks to my husband, Bob, for helping set everything up and clearing it all away at the end. Total contribution to the Fryer's House charity from the Variety Show came to £130.
Why not try our e-magazine to help reduce our carbon footprint as a church? From September you will find the e-magazine on the church website for perusal or downloading at www.abbeyurc.org.uk
So – when you need to find that date or event, or some detail from the magazine, no more searching for your copy. Just pop to the website where it will be ready and waiting for you in full colour! If you like what you see why not sign up for the e-magazine and from 2018 help the planet by dramatically reducing our printing.
Kathleen flew out for her 4 week adventure in Tanzania on 25 July –So by the time you read this she will be home safe and sound. However, whilst writing, it is still a week and a day until she is home (not that we’re counting!). We have been receiving e-mail updates from their team and they seem to be having a wonderful time. Below are some snippets of how it’s going, each paragraph is a separate report we received; we hope you enjoy them! Kathleen will write a full report for the October magazine. So watch this space!
- After nearly 24 hours of travelling we arrived at our hotels in Dar es Salaam very tired but super excited. We were surrounded with friendly faces from the moment our plane touched down. After picking up all the necessary equipment to ensure our building project is successful it’s off to Madabadaba.
- Now at Madababa and set most of the camp up. Yesterday, we woke up at 5:00am to have breakfast at 5:30am and supposedly leaving at 6:00am. We have now learnt about African time as we finally left at 8:00am in 5 coaches, and 10 4x4 vehicles then spent 12 hours on the 'road'. Tanzania's idea of a road is our idea of constant speed bumps (and not the smallest kind). We arrived in Hondo Hondo quite late and set up tents in the dark. We had a quick dinner and then had our final experience of flushing toilets that you can actually sit on. We went to sleep for another early start. The second journey wasn't as long; we arrived at our project at about 4pm. The roads, however, were even worse. Lunch was fish caught from the local river with bread, roast banana and oranges. We set up camp with help from local Scouts, who will be staying with us. It's very hot here (35 degrees) so we finished off the day bathing in the river next to our camp.
- So, today we started work at Madabadaba. After getting up at 6.30am for toast, omelette, very salty sweet potato with watermelon, we broke up into our four small groups to begin our work. The first group worked hard on site, adding a flag pole, campfire, a large shelter, flattened the area, set up washing lines (which yes, are in use!). The second group went shopping for our food and had some great fun at a church service. Afterwards they ran into a mob of 50 plus kids and ran many games for them! Groups 3 and 4 started laying the floor in two rooms of the school and made great progress. During the afternoon, we split into two teams and went to collect wood and more bricks (SO – MANY - BRICKS). We got enough bricks to complete many more floors, which was an uplifting thought. The wood team crossed the river to collect wood for fire and were also around when Jools, the chicken, was sacrificed for our delicious meal. To close the day we gathered around the campfire to sing songs led by the one man band Edmund, as we always call for an encore!
- We are currently with the Asistant Chief Scout of Tanzania eating a delicious vegetarian meal since the cost of the goat was increased because of our western appearance! After our breakfast of pancakes and watermelon, we continued the brick-laying and the building of our camp needs. After using up all of the bricks, half of the team went on a lumpy, bumpy, flumpy, clumpy, tumpy, yumpy, scumpy tractor experience. We trekked down to Madabadaba where, most of us bought some yummy local fabrics which are currently being turned into some special garments by the local tailors.
- Yesterday, Group One went off to Ifakara, a whopping three hours away. The rest of us continued working on the project doing tasks like painting, sanding, painting and sanding. Despite the heat, we all managed to get quite a bit done and it's starting to look less like a building site and more of a school. By far the most exciting thing that happened was that it rained during the night. It doesn't rain much in Tanzania but when it does, it does it hard! Today, we all went up to the project and started painting the walls white. We managed to get most of the classrooms done as well as all of the bars on the windows! The floors are actually becoming stable instead of being wobbly bricks. After work had finished, we all went for a swim in the river and attempted to wash off the splashes of paint on our arms and faces. However, this didn't work and we are still all sat here spotty, but happy!
- Yesterday morning we woke up to a massive rainstorm. We began the day by going round the outside of the school painting windows and walls which instantly transformed it from a building site, to a school in progress. Today one of the teams went to Ifakara shopping, buying the desperately needed fizzy drinks and some blocks of cheese. The rest of the team painted more walls and windows, seemingly endless due to the vast size of the project. As the day of work drew to a close, the team managed to complete its first classroom. Only many more to go!
- Tonight's entertainment included a fully lit catwalk, where each team member strutted their stuff to show off their new garments from the village tailors - baggy trousers, shirts, suit trousers and shorts. We have two days left before the opening ceremony. Today the entrance hall was completed with murals painted and a tree with everyone's handprints on. We are looking forward to completing the project and handing over the school.
- After a mad two weeks at the project we are done! Today we had a massive celebration and opening which included speeches, blessings and some mad Tanzanian tunes. The thanks we received from the locals was amazing. The ceremony was supposed to start at 10am, which in African time meant 12 noon! After the ceremony, we all enjoyed an amazing lunch which included rice, chips, beef and potatoes. So far we've eaten sheep, goat, pig, chicken and even duck! After lunch, we went out to party with the local children, which began with some traditional Tanzanian tunes. We finished our day with the last swim in our beloved river!
- Yesterday, we packed up camp in Madabadaba and said goodbye to our fellow Tanzanian Scouts. It was sad to say goodbye to everyone. Once again, we found ourselves on a bus. We stopped at Ifakara for lunch then took to the roads for only an hour and a bit back to Hondo Hondo. The camp in the daylight looked totally different and sitting on toilets was a luxury we had forgotten, as were hot showers!
- The next day we had a lie in, breakfast was at a late 7.30am. We went on a jungle walk through the Maganboro forest where we saw centipedes, monkeys (not just our leaders) and lots of elephant poo. Today we hiked up Sanje Falls in the blistering heat and enjoyed majestic views of the surrounding countryside. It was a long, steep walk, but morale was kept high because we got to swim. At the bottom of the waterfall, where it was safe, we 'paddled' for an hour in the bracing chill. We’ve now met up with teams Mamba and Twiga. So nice to catch up with them!
- We've now reached the end of the safari. It has been an amazing experience over the past few days. We travelled in 4x4s, saw lots of lions, elephants, giraffes, impala and much more. This morning the tents came down, we packed up camp and set off for the Jamboree with Tanzania Scouts. We’re looking forward to the next few days!
It seems unbelievable that in three weeks they can fit so much in, they have been having an amazing experience. We can’t wait to have her back and Kathleen’s only request for her return is that we actually remember to collect her and welcome her home with a chocolate milkshake!
Thank you all for everything you have done, we really appreciate your support and prayers.
A big thank you to all who helped to make our Harvest weekend such a resounding success. It was good to share Harvest celebrations again with our friends from St Joseph’s who helped at the events throughout the weekend and joined in our Sunday services.
The hall may not have been as packed as for the old Church Socials back in the early 1900s, but with almost 50 people attending, the Harvest Festival Variety Show proved to be just as successful. The entertainment consisted of songs, poems, anecdotes and even a bit of stand-up comedy provided by guest acts and members of the Church congregation, the highlight of which must have been Geoff's rendition of 'Your baby has gone down the plughole'. A selection of cheeses, pickle, salad and bread made up the Ploughman's, complemented by a choice of drinks and cakes to finish off. Total contribution to the Fryer's House charity from the Variety Show came to £130.
The week-end concluded with a joint morning Harvest service led by our Minister. Sunday afternoon saw voices and musical talents stimulated by the Madding Crowd “Gallery Music” workshop, before singing traditional Harvest hymns during our evening service. Thanks to Madding Crowd for their patience and help in taking our evening service back to those “pre-organ” days of church worship.
You have probably not heard of ‘prayer-shawl ministry’ but the idea is that you prayerfully knit, crochet or quilt a scarf which then is passed on to someone who is undergoing medical procedures, is terminally ill, grieving or otherwise going through a time of stress. They are also to mark a time of celebration too, the birth of a child, a marriage or perhaps a significant birthday.
The shawl is symbolic of the unconditional and all-enveloping love of God, they wrap, cover, give solace and comfort to the recipient. There is no time constraint, whether it takes you a month or a year to complete a scarf it does not matter, because the heart and intention behind it is all that matters, and that makes this project special.
We are looking to see who in the congregation at Abbey and Braishfield United Reformed Church’s, or friends of our churches, who would be interested in supporting such a ministry. You can support in many different ways: by creating a scarf (patterns will be available on request), sponsoring the cost of some of the wool for a scarf, praying for those involved in the ministry, hosting a knitting/crochet group, and suggesting names of potential recipients to the minister or elders.
It is with some sadness that we say Au Revoir to our friends at St Josephs as they move back into their church in time to celebrate Easter Sunday. We have enjoyed the opportunity for closer fellowship as they have shared our premises for the last 5 years and shall miss them. However, it is great news for the St Joseph fellowship that they can once again return “home” to their refurbished and improved church. We hope we can still enjoy opportunities to share in fellowship with them and wish them God’s blessings for the future.