It’s been a busy three weeks. Our time is mainly consumed with learning Swahili at the moment. We each have two hours of lessons a day and then usually do about an hour homework a day. There’s a lady who comes three times a week to help out with the running of the house so we try to use opportunities to talk with her. She’s also been helping the children learn Swahili and they are both saying a few words now (for Reuben, “kuku” is easier to say than “chicken” anyway!)
Reuben doesn’t really notice that Swahili is different from English, but Tabitha enjoys running off to the housekeeper and asking her what words mean. The housekeeper often talks to/at Tabitha in Swahili and Tabitha rabbits back at her in English and either understand any of what the other says, but it doesn’t seem to bother either of them!
I think we’re all feeling a bit more settled into general life here. All the routines are getting into place. A lot of these routines revolve around food preparation. We mostly eat beans and pulses as a source of protein here and these need soaking. They also take quite a while to cook, so none of this starting to cook dinner 20 minutes before you need to eat! We’re a bit mad and brought a bread machine with us, and making bread is another thing to remember to do each day. We also need to treat rainwater for drinking/brushing teeth etc. We filter the water and also use a method called SODIS to treat it. The rainwater is put into clear plastic bottles and shaken before being left in the sun for a day or two, depending on how cloudy the sky is. After SODISing we filter it before drinking. Tabitha cannot have cow’s milk and amazingly we’ve managed to track down someone with lovely goats that were brought over from Switzerland! There are plenty of other goats here, but they are not usually milked, and it’s nice to know that the goats have a good health record. The milk needs pasteurising though, so that’s another process that needs doing. Finally the all-important treats like cakes etc need to be made from scratch, so that’s another thing to organise. We’re also home schooling Tabitha, which means that when one of us is having Swahili lessons the other usually does some work with her. It’s a bit of a disaster if we fall behind on any of these routines, but I think we’ve got some systems in place.
Picture of Simon collecting rainwater reading for cleaning:
Simon looking proud of his ciabatta loaves…
Tabitha enjoying some goats milk. She thinks it’s hilarious that she’s drinking out of a bowl. I was trying to get the milk to cool down quickly…
Anyone who knows me will not be surprised by this scene. It’s a game of ‘see if you can spot: a maths book, an English book, ink pads for hand/finger prints, green hands, a child wearing pants, paints, glue, cuttings, pens, bug loupe, threading beads, random unexplained mess, other…’
I’m sure our children will somehow learn through the chaos (I hope)!
We’re getting there with working out what you can get here and where from. You definitely need to shop around to get the various bits and pieces. We’re also working out where they give you a fair and sensible price, rather than the ignorant foreigner’s price! A local farm do an order system, which we have only just organised ourselves to do this week. If you know how obsessed I am with vegetables, you’ll know how happy I was to get a really nice variety of vegetables this week! We all feasted on sweetcorn and broccoli this evening, even the children were really excited and gobbled it all up with local style beans and potato wedges! In terms of veg we’ve mostly been eating carrots, green peppers and aubergines, so it was nice to get some variation! I’m probably a bit too excited about the spinach that’s waiting for me tomorrow… I can’t complain though, the market is pretty good and there are a lot of spices and plenty of things like popcorn and peanuts, which make nice snacks, especially for the children.
I had the privilege of taking part in the world women’s day of prayer today. I’m pretty gutted that I didn’t get a photo. We marched as a group of women, on the road for about 1km through town. It was pretty amazing to be part of a group of strong women taking control of the roads and making a stand for God in their town. It was right in the middle of the day and I realised too late that I had forgotten the children’s hats and that no amount of sun cream was going to protect Tabitha’s exposed shoulders! Thankfully Miriam noticed that the other women with babies had umbrellas to shade them with and she ran off and managed to find a huge umbrella. So I walked through town with Reuben asleep in the sling on my back and Tabitha shaded with me under a huge camouflage umbrella. The women sang loudly and enthusiastically the whole way – a great experience. We decided not to stay for the meeting after and I think Tabitha was pretty tired by that point anyway, so it was good to get back home.
I think that’s a pretty comprehensive summary of our lives atm. For those that have asked, If you would like to send anything out our postal address is: Simon and Victoria Ewing, Emmanuel International, PO BOX 962, Iringa, Tanzania. A5 jiffy bags do not go through customs, so we’re more likely to receive what you send if you keep to that size. I understand larger packages do come through, but it’s better not to send items new in packaging, but rather something that can be marked as second hand. If you send out anything marked as printed material, that tends to arrive with no problems…