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June 10
Ian is writing up his travelogue from his journeys through Southern Africa. These are not a report on his work, but just a review of his adventures. The first part is below - if you're interested in reading the second part, you can download the pdf here

June 2010 Prosper's Opportunity

Prosper has had the opportunity to go down to do a short volunteer contract with Viva network in South Africa. He is involved with a kids programme in the townships while the world cup is going on.
He writes:
"Its a holiday programme called ' Keep Them Safe' for all children - 80 thousand are expected altogether. Its to take place in 13 different townships. Hundreds of kids per project are to be taken through different activities and workshops in the four divisions
1. Culture and performing Arts
2. Art and crafts
3. Sports
4. Entrepreneurship.
I am kind of in a supervising role, so I get to go around all the projects (which are quite far apart) ensuring that all is running smoothly. Some project facilitators do not have prior experience in this sort of thing.
At the end of the month, the different projects will all come together and compare the different creations. We will also have a performing arts show off and presents awarded to the best.  I will also come in in the third week as a skilled facilitator in  different projects to assist them to polish up their presentations for the final performances."
We are hoping he will be able to travel back through Zimbabwe and follow up all our new contacts there from the training Ian did.

Tuesday 18th May 10 - report on minibus accident:

"Firstly all seem to be well. Ray has a bit of backache. I spoke to Carol this morning and she is tired and resting but otherwise ok. Nelson is staying with us till tomorrow when he will head back up to Kakumiro. He is ok. The wound on his leg is quite minor and is healing well. He does not appear to have any other ill effects (except tiredness).

The accident happened on a new piece of road not far out of Mbarara. They were travelling on good straight tarmac in a steady line of traffic at around 80km per hour (50 mph) They had recently stopped for a break and the bus seemed fine.
In a matter of seconds various things happened. The car behind started hooting. Ray looked behind to see what was up and heard a noise as if they had been hit from behind or a tyre had burst (neither had happened and the tyres all had pressure even after the accident). The bus then seemed to swerve around and he could not control the steering. It began to cross over the road and he had to fight it back. It then seemed to lock up and turn about resulting in them hitting the nearside bank and hedge pointing back the way they had been coming. He reckons all this took place in a matter of 15 to 20 seconds.

He and Carol were belted in the front but Nelson was in the back unbelted and sleeping. He was thrown out of the side window when the bus turned which is how he damaged his leg. Fortunately he landed in soft mud and bush.

From those who saw it happen and from Rays point of view it would appear something went wrong with one or both back wheels causing them to lock up thus losing control. The bus had been fully serviced the day before they left for the trip. It had been working fine in all respects. It is permanent 4WD so we are wondering if this in some way malfunctioned. While up country they were mostly on bad, muddy and rocky tracks  (quite normal for here)  but this could have put a strain on components that broke when they got on to good road and picked up speed.

The bus is damaged badly down the whole drivers side. It is hard to determine what the next move is just yet. Ray is going to head back to Mbarara on Saturday with our usual mechanic to see if he can firstly diagnose what went wrong and also to give us an opinion of repairability."


April 10
Ian is writing up his travelogue from his journeys through Southern Africa. These are not a report on his work, but just a review of his adventures. If you're interested in reading this, you can download the pdf here

Monday 15th March 10 - message from Ian on his travels north


Well I last emailed from Masvingo on my last day with Brett and Odette...

Took a ragged old bus from Masvingo to Bulawayo. Overloaded with everything and stopping in every village it struggled its way through and disgorged us in a bus yard way out of the city centre. With no idea of my bearings and needing to get to the railway station to book my ticket..... the 1st people I stopped for directions turned out to be youth from Bulawayo Baptist church who knew Asafa (and the way to the station)

I got my ticket ($7 for an overnight sleeper) to Vic falls and then killed time all afternoon exploring Bulawayo. I found an excellent Coffee Shop...

The train left on time and trundled through the hot night down to Vic Falls. I slept pretty well and shared the compartment with a friendly Zimbabwean and an equally friendly Zambian. The latter gave me vital onward travel info.

I met up with Brett and Odette's sister in law in Vic Falls  and had a most comfortable night in her thatched cottage with a sundowner trip to the boat club beside the Zambezi.

I almost forgot: Vic Falls is INCREDIBLE. Just visit. I wont try to describe it.

The following day I took one of the worlds most spectacular border crossings from Zim to Zam.......across the Zambezi gorge bridge with the spray from the falls drifting across.

Polite and organised Zambia welcomed me. I spent a night at the backpackers then yesterday took a new air conditioned bus up to Lusaka.

Lusaka is a useful truck stop. I am catching up on communication and have booked an overnight bus tomorrow to Mpulungu (southern tip of lake Tanganyika). This will get me there on Wednesday morning so I have a couple of days to sort out the un-bookable ferry to Kigoma. I made a room booking just now in Mpulungu and the lady on the phone seems to think getting a birth on the ferry "should be no problem"!!!

Chat soon and if you want to call me try +260 964 139912

God bless

Tuesday 2nd March 10 - message from Ian in Zimbabwe...........

I am having a very productive and interesting time here in Harare. Not much time to explain a lot now so that may need to wait till I meet up with Steve in Burundi in a couple of weeks. Arrived on Friday afternoon and got stuck in straight away by meeting up with 2 youth groups at Central Baptist Church. Then had an all day training in Foundations of Youth ministry with about 40 youth leaders from the various Baptist Churches from the greater Harare district. This was very well received and it would appear from the feedback so far that the training we are offering is both new and needed. Yesterday I got a grand tour of the city (exhausting) then met the Central Baptist youth team for an evening training session. In this time I did a focussed youth ministry clinic looking at the issues/challenges they have with the work they are doing and looking specifically at how to make their work more youth friendly. Central was originally a traditional, conservative, white church. It is now about 80% African but still has a fair amount of left over tradition. The encouraging thing is the obvious desire to change and grow, especially noticeable when talking with Asafa who is both pastor and president of the Baptist Union for Zimbabwe. He and his family are hosting me.

Today I will be meeting with a group of seminary students who are involved with youth ministry.

Jan 2010: A Small Rant from Ian..................

Everyone comments on the road outside our house. Many photos have been taken of it. Arguments have raged about it. Long and intense discussions have taken place about it.

But it remains a muddy, wet, dirt track….

Well, remained! It has just gotten a whole lot worse. And typically on a day when we had a team of guests arriving.

Mid afternoon I returned home from Entebbe to find multiple piles of dirt, big ones, in regular heaps along the entire stretch outside our compound, with our gate in the middle. An hour later I went out again, in our 4 wheel drive to pick up a group of guests.

On return we found that the heaps had been spread, not with a grader, not with a roller, but with a small mechanical digger!!!

Even in 4WD and low ratio and diff lock……. We failed to get through.

The neighbours delighted in seeing all the luggage being heaved over the wall and a bedraggled group of bazungu (plural for white people) getting plastered in mud on their way into my house.

Today the boys have spent 5 hours with hoes and shovels trying to sort the mess out. Result? Well almost…..I just about got in this afternoon in 4WD and low ratio and diff lock…….Yup! An improvement!!

But now its raining………………………………..