Sunday, 23 August 2015

Berega 2014 - Week 4

How quickly time flies! Just last week we were saying farewell to our team mates from Congleton, knowing we still had a week left here in Berega. Well if three weeks went quickly this last week has gone even faster. Today (Sunday) we have said farewell at St Mary’s Church to a number of friends old and new. Isaac Mgego the Hospital Director led the service and a number of very kind things were said about the teams. We of course feel that we too have gained so much from the whole experience.

The finishing touches to some of the jobs mentioned in the previous blog will be completed on Monday leaving enough time to pack ready for the long journey home. At the last minute Mike has been requested to help set up a simple accounting package for the hospital pharmacy which he is hoping to finish on Monday with training of the accountant. This will enable better stock, cost and sales control.

Because of the generosity of all those who supported the team they have been able to do even more than planned. They have given substantial donations towards:

  • The building of a house for the Catechist to replace the old dilapidated home
  • Building a new home for the retiring Director of the Bible School, who has hosted a number of teams over the past thirteen years.
  • The connection of 11 hospital workers houses to the electricity supply.
  • The purchase of furniture for the newly built SONAB classroom and Tutorial Block
  • Text books for the secondary school
  • Rainwater Harvesting tank for the Roman Catholic Church. By now certain members of the team have become expert in the construction of water storage tank plinths. Amazingly the construction was completed from start to finish in two days. The Guttering and tank fitting will be completed as our final job on Monday. Well done Joe and Kris! The leaders of the Church were delighted as this will benefit a good number of people outside of the immediate Berega village catchment.

There are always a number of mixed emotions when leaving, sad to say goodbye to the many good friends and work colleagues we have made but glad to be coming home to our loved ones. All the team members are so grateful to their families and churches for the support they have given them to enable them to make this trip. It has been a great privilege to serve God and the people of Berega but in truth we have gained far more that we could ever give. So thank you all for all your help. Hopefully we won’t bore you too much with our stories of our time here in Berega!

Asante Sana (Thank you very much)

Mungu bariki (God Bless)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Berega 2015 - Week 3

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow the Team from Congleton will leave Berega to start their journey home. We will certainly miss them all. Last night (Monday) we had a farewell evening meal with various members of the village community. It was a great mix of informal questions and answers from both sides, learning more about each other and our way of life, along with formal speeches of thanks. One really encouraging word came from Pastor James of St Mary’s Church who said “ I have learnt something special from the way the men and women worked together in the team” This is a great testimony to the unity of the team.

We all enjoyed some rest and relaxation on Friday and Saturday by going on Safari to Mikumi National Park, which is the world centre for the study of Baboons. Believe it or not the animal we saw the least of, apart for the lions, with only one spotted, was the Baboon! Everyone enjoyed the amazing vistas across the vast open spaces along with the animals in their natural habitat.


There is much to celebrate in all that has been achieved, so much that will bring benefit to very many people, through the love and hard work of the Team. Just showing a list of physical things that have been completed doesn't tell the whole story. The friendships that have been forged and the sharing of The Gospel on so many occasions, the prayer with and for individuals, the fun brought into the lives of hundreds of children through the Kids Clubs, not to mention the massive blessing it has been to be here for the Team. We have all learnt so much and it will hopefully transform our lives for good.

So what has been done?
  • The painting of the SONAB Tutorial block inside and out.
  • 5 rainwater harvesting tanks.
  • Building a classroom at SONAB which will be completed before the Merland Rise Team leave.
  • Decorated two classrooms at the Orphanage.
  • Ran three kids clubs.
  • Teaching biology at the Girls Secondary School.
  • Teaching English at the Bishop Chitamau School.
  • Attending outreach clinics with the Hospital Health team.
  • A new roof on the Orphanage Directors shed and storage container.
  • An evangelistic film evening for families, showing the Jesus story in part film and part animation.
  • There will be three follow up film evenings showing what it means to be a Christian run at the Church.
Please pray for a safe journey home for the Congleton Team and for those who remain in Berega for another week.
Painted SONAB Tutorial Block (click for full size image)

Completed Water Tank (click for full size image)


SONAB Classroom Ready For The Roof (click for full size image)

Friday, 14 August 2015

Berega 2015 - Half Way

The team have been working really hard for the last two weeks and this weekend are away on safari. In the meantime we've got some video of them building a water tank plinth.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Berega 2015 - Week 1 Summary

After a long week of hard work everyone enjoyed a well deserved rest. On Saturday we had a long walk to enjoy the wonderful scenery around Berega and talk with lots of local people. Val had a go at using a hand water pump which BREAD had installed a few years ago.

Well installed by BREAD
Well installed by BREAD (click for full size image)

Others spent time in the orphanage or just relaxing. In the afternoon some went to Bayona Stadium to watch Berega FC get beaten 2-0 by another local village in the Bayona Cup. There was a highly excitable crowd of around 200 and we all paid the princely sum of TShilling 500 (about 15p, Premier League take note!) for a very competitive and well played match.  In the evening we had separate boys and girls evening with boys enjoying a pizza around the camp fire followed by some hilarious card games. Not sure what the girls did as I wasn't allowed in! But I know they had a good time.

Boys Night Out
Boys Night Out (click for full size image)

On Sunday we went to the 09:30 service that started dead on 10:00! It was very enjoyable as we had a number of translators to explain the songs and prayers to us. Stanley, the Hospital Secretary, translated the sermon so we were all able to understand the passionate preaching. It was a good message that fitted in well with things the group had been learning in their own studies.

The work completed so far is:
  • 3 plinths for water tanks
  • Guttering at the Pastors house and Church
  • The base for the SONAB classroom
  • Preparation and first coat of paint in the SONAB Tutorial bock (6 rooms and the front outside)
  • Preparation and first coat of paint in the school classrooms at the Orphanage
  • Preparation and carrying out of first instalment of the Children’s Club.
Campleted Water Tank Plinth
Completed Water Tank Plinth (click for full size image)

In addition to this we have been able to use some of the expertise in the team. Princess is teaching biology in the local girls Secondary School, Amanda is helping in the English Medium Primary school in Berega, Jo is helping Mike set up an accounting system for the Hospital Pharmacy. Dave is looking at the diesel engine generator in the hospital and the pump for the village bore hole and Val is joining the Health Care team as they visit local villages helping with pre and post natal advice and care.

Gary and Mike are having various meetings with Village Leaders and department Directors to discuss possible future projects.

The work for most of the team is hard and very physical but everyone is prepared to have a go and are doing a great job. Please pray for the well-being of the team as one or two are struggling with Tanzania Tummy and a good number have mouth ulcers.

Building the base for a classroom at SONAB
Building the base for a classroom at SONAB (click for full size image)

Thank you for praying.

Gary and Mike.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Berega 2015 - Week 1 Update

The teams have already dug and laid the foundations for 3 water harvesting tanks. This is no mean feat in the hard dry clay of Berega. We are now planning to do 7 of these tanks around the village so there's still plenty to do. The painting of the tutorial block is progressing nicely as we renew our friendship with our fundi (workman) Jonny. Jonny has worked with us on every trip since 2002 and we are always glad to see him, not least because he’s a great decorator.

Wednesday saw the first of 3 kids clubs the teams are running at St Mary’s church. despite some set backs, more about that later, around 300 children came. The event was advertised the night before by a man touring the local villages on a piki piki (motorbike) with a loud hailer! They enjoyed games and a story about Jesus with the giant parachute game causing much hysterical noise. It was lovely to see so many children having fun together and to renew our friendship with Mumma Msami the Sunday School teacher who has been there since our first trip.

The one minor set back we have encountered is a problem with bed bugs in a couple of the rooms. Our first attempt at fumigation failed so we had to call in an expert to deal with them and this meant vacating the rooms for 24 hours to allow the fumes to disperse and be safe again. With great grace and patience the team dispersed to various locations across the village and spent what for some was an uncomfortable night.

Please pray for the teams well being and the elimination of the bed bugs!

-- Gary & Mike

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Berega 2015 - Week 1

The two teams arrived to typical British weather, cold and cloudy! They are settling in well and getting used to their new surroundings.

Our building work has been delayed slightly as the village water pump has broken down and we have no water for mortar etc. This should be fixed soon but in the mean time there are plenty of other jobs to be getting on with.

Today, Tuesday, we start painting, inside and out, the SONAB tutorial block that BREAD recently funded the construction of and that has just been completed. It will provide offices for the four tutors and student interview rooms, all of which were a government requirement for full registration. 

This recent breakdown of the village pump has highlighted once again the scarcity of that most precious recourse,water. With this in mind we are glad to report that we will be installing at least five, five thousand litre water harvesting tanks and associated guttering. This will provide good drinking and cooking water for a family throughout most of the dry season when full. Our training for this work starts today.

Please pray for the teams as they settle in to their new surrounding and start work and for the water situation.

-- Gary

Sunday, 2 August 2015

The Teams Arrive

The first team arrived yesterday and settled in. Unfortunately there hasn't been any mains power in the village for a few days so they're surviving on generator and solar power.

The second team arrived today, all very tired but they had a short time of Worship together and the teams have then been getting to know each other.

Tomorrow is a prep day and then the kids club starts up on Tuesday.