About us!

We are Amisadai and Louisa Monger (aged 12 and 10). In 2010, we moved to Tanzania in Africa - look at the map below to see if you can find it! We hope you will enjoy reading about our adventures and looking at our photos! Please don't forget to send us a message too!



Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Rwandan Genocide



In 1994, there was a gruesome mass killing in Rwanda as Hutus tried to wipe out the tribe of Tutsis. It was a major and tragic event in Rwandan history, in which over a million people were killed. Innocent people were murdered simply because of the tribe they were born into. People were separated from their families and houses were looted and burnt down. People were jeered at, brutally tortured, raped or cut up before being killed. It was horrific. It was gruesome. It was a country full of hatred, jealousy, fear and bloodshed. And the rest of the world just watched it happen.

It all started with cows, many years before. There are three tribes in Rwanda: Hutu, Tutsi and the minor tribe of the Twa. When the Belgians colonised the country, they decided if you had more than ten cows, you were Tutsi, and if you had less than ten cows then you were a Hutu. Because the Belgian colony preferred the Tutsis to the Hutus. Tutsis, although smaller grew to be the more powerful tribe. This often caused friction between Hutus and Tutsis. Tutsis were given the best jobs, best schooling and the best houses. Over time, Belgians changed their minds and preferred the Hutus, causing further friction between the tribes. When Rwanda gained independence in 1963, the Hutus were in power. But not long after, Tutsi rebels from neighbouring countries came into Rwanda to attack the Hutus and regain their power, but their plan was ruined, because the Hutus had somehow got wind of their upcoming attacks. Many Tutsis were killed, as well as lots of Tutsis in prime positions in government. Other Tustis left went into hiding in other countries.

In April 1994, the Rwandan president's plane was shot down. Both the Rwandan and Burundian presidents were killed. The Hutus say it was shot down by the Tutsi with the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) launching attack. The Tutsi say it was Hutu extremists. Whoever it was, it started the Genocide. Hutus believed that the Tutsis were seeking to kill not just the president but all of the Hutus. They exaggerated reports and spread fear through propaganda. The Hutus said, 'We should kill them, before we ourselves get killed.' So in the early hours of April 6th, the Rwandan genocide began.

Hutus were given their orders, “Kill all Tutsi, even the children. We do not want the next generation of Tutsis to grow up and fight us back. After all, a baby snake is still as snake! We need to kill them! Kill them all! Exterminate these cockroaches!” It started out as just the soldiers killing. Then those in power demanded all normal, everyday Hutus to join in the killing. Some chose to. Others decided it was their duty. But many were forced to, against their own will and better judgement. If they did not fight they were killed, along with their families, for being Hutu traitors.

Tutsi were killed in many ways. Some were shot. Others were blown up by grenades. Some were burnt alive. Most were sliced up by machetes, being tortured first. Some starved. Some were thrown down into latrines and had rocks thrown onto their heads. Some were buried alive or dropped off 200m cliffs. Babies were left to die. People were badly hurt, and then tossed onto to the streets and left to bleed to death. Whipped. Beaten. Stabbed. The Interahamwe (the Hutu paramilitary organization) were merciless and ruthless. Insensitive and brutal. Lost and driven by evil.

Many people fled to churches and chapels, as they were godly places which had always been known as a safe refuge. But the killers paid no attention to that, and burnt the churches down, with everyone inside. If they tried to escape, they were shot.

Soon, neighbours were killing neighbours, friends were killing friends, even families killing families. Many mothers were forced to kill their own children. Hutu children were used a spies, and betrayed their school mates and friends. It was awful. No one knew whom to trust, or if there was anyone to trust.

The killing continued for one hundred days, but in that short time, over a million people were killed. Everything stopped for the killing. Schools and businesses were shut until the “job” was done and all Tutsis were dead. Ten thousand people killed a day. The ethnic killing did end, but the deep cut made from losing loved ones so tragically would never go away; there would always be a scar.

The Rwandan genocide has broken the hearts of many people. But out of the pain, the country is now striving to encourage all people to live out forgiveness. Rwanda is now a very beautiful country, and it is hard to imagine that not so long ago, it was a dirty, unsafe country with streets lined with corpses. Rwandans have made a real effort to forgive one another and to start afresh. Though they will never be able to forget the great loss of thousands of innocent people, they can forgive, and teach the rest of the world to do so as well. They know that bitterness and revenge will not help, but love will. Why do people despise people simply because they are “different”? Why do we not love one another?

We visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial, a place of remembrance and learning. Rwandans want their suffering and their mistakes to be an example to the rest of the world, to prevent the same thing from happening again. To show that it is possible to forgive and to live together as one people. And that is why I want to share this with you.


I highly recommend a book I have just finished reading, called Left To Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza. It is very heart moving and deeply sad. It really captures the story of the Rwandan Genocide through the experiences of Immaculee. It is very well written. It is impossible to really understand or imagine the fear, struggles and torture that this girl, Immaculee, goes through. But it is good for the world to hear her story. A story more than just survival, a story of forgiveness.

Louisa at the graves
As Louisa was too young to go inside the memorial, she visited the burial site and gardens where over 250 000 people killed in the genocide have been buried. (This is like more than the whole population of Basingstoke). While she waited, she made a mini-documentary about it.

Click here or play at the top to watch it now. As you do, remember those that lost their lives and pray for a better future.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Miracle Bunnies

Last Sunday, in the dead of the night, we had a tragedy. But out of this tragedy we have a miracle! Read on to find out what happened...

Last Sunday, Sprinkles, one of our mummy rabbits, jumped out of her hutch when the guard opened the door. Sadly, he didn't notice. The dogs found her and almost killed her, but not quite. They then left her dying under the hutch. The next morning our day guard found her and we placed her back in the hutch. She didn't seem herself; her eyes were half closed and she wasn't moving or eating normally. But even in her struggles, she fed her five babies. She cared for them and loved them, until the next day, we found her lying dead by their side.

It was sad to lose Sprinkles, but now we had to focus on saving her five baby bunnies who were only ten days old. So we decided to move two of them into Sniffles nest of babies (she had given birth on the same day as Sprinkles and had four of her own). We were desperately hoping that she would welcome them, and not reject them. She took one kit as her own, so we put in the second one, nuzzling it in between the other kits, so she wouldn't be noticed so much and she wouldn't smell so different. But at first Sniffles wouldn't let her feed, and tried to eat the poor bunny. We were really worried, but this mum was their only hope of survival.

Now, a week later, the two kits are very happy and doing well with their foster mum and new brothers and sisters.

It would have been too much to give all the kits to Sniffles as she wouldn't have enough milk (and also we weren't sure any foster kits would survive with her). And so we adopted the other three bunnies. We mixed up a formula of milk, egg yolk and honey and have been feeding them the milk from pippettes every day, at 5:45 in the morning, 4:00pm in the afternoon, and sometimes in the evening. We wash them gently with a warm wet flannel and most importantly massage them to help them to urinate and poo as they are too young to do so by themselves.

They are very sweet, but this week has been very tiring! It is seriously hard work and although it was fun at first, it isn't always easy and it takes a long time to feed them all! They are now two and half weeks old and after keeping them alive for a week, we hope they will survive. They starting now to be able to eat some solid food. It is amazing they are all alive! They are all miracle bunnies!

Me feeding the smallest kit
Sniffles' four kits

Louisa holding her favourite, the biggest kit
They are sooooo small, and extremely cute!

Inviting some friends to help to look after the bunnies

Bunny feeding time

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

How Many Things Can You Use a Khanga For?

I have lots of cool pictures to show you! Since my last blog, lots of things have happened, so I have a lot to tell you!
Yep - it's me!
Over the summer holiday, Kathryn and Arron, our friends from England, came to visit us.

That's us!
We went with them to Tunza beach. I was jumping off the rock making silhouettes in the sunset. Unfortunately one time I jumped off the rock but I landed doing the splits which was painful as you could imagine.

Me jumping over the sunset!



Also while they were here, we (the girls) had a khanga fashion show! A khanga is a piece of colourful cloth with pretty patterns and also a Swahili proverb written on it.
A traditional Tanzanian khanga
Do you know that khangas have so many uses?

CAN YOU LIST SOME WAYS TO USE A KHANGA?
See how many ways you can think of and post them in the comments! Watch the next blog post and we can see how many uses there are!
Khanga try-ons
Khanga Fashion

We also had other visitors, Julian and David come to stay. With them we went to the Serengeti which was amazing! We saw everything except lions which was unusual. We were really excited to see a mother cheetah with her cubs. They were so cute!
Can you see the four cubs?
We stayed overnight at a place called Serengeti Stop-over. On the front of the door of the banda there is a picture of an animal. Amisadai and I were standing outside the door with our new Serengeti T-shirts, trying to be the animal that was on the door!
Pretty fierce
But we can also be sort of normal!
... and crazy
On the way home from the Serengeti, we stopped off on the side of the road for picnic lunch....



 

...and the cows wanted to join us!


 Here are some more random photos from our summer holiday...

Amisadai's feet are normally really dirty

Boat out to Saanane Island

Another Jumping Rock photo from Saanane!

Looking for monitor lizards with Arron

Our family relaaaaaaaaaaaxxxxing
 
Crossing the crocodile and hippo river in the Serengeti
(not good for people like me who don't like heights)
That's all from me!
Don't forget to think about what you can use a khanga for (and there's one clue in the picnic photo!)

And CLICK HERE for the answers to Amisadai's Bee Quiz!


Are you a Bee Expert?

Here are the answers to my Bee Quiz from the last blog post!

EASY BEE QUIZ ANSWERS!

1. What is a group of bees called?
A colony

2. Who is the leader of a group of bees?
The Queen

3. Name 2 products bees make.
Honey and wax

4. What do bees collect to make honey?
Pollen

5. What shape do bees store their honey in?
Hexagons

Beekeeping protective gear and smoker

HARDER BEE QUIZ!!

1. What gender are all worker bees?
Female

2. How do bees show other bees how to find food?
They do the waggle dance

3. What is uncapped honey called?
Nectar

4. Name 2 things that happen after a bee stings you.
1) The bee dies
2) It lets off a smell which the other bees pick up, telling them to sting you too, because you are a threat to the hive.

5. Name 2 things we can make from beeswax.
Candles, shoe polish, lip balm and salves, furniture polish

HOW DID YOU DO?

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Bees and a Bee Quiz!

The past two weeks we have been as busy as bees... with bees! So I thought I would give you all a Bee Quiz (see below!)

We have harvested honey from several different places, which has been quite exciting! Our honey is dark, which means it has a stronger flavour. The taste and colour of the honey depends on what the bees forage for. Our bees like the mango trees, which have loads of pollen.

Bees can make their homes in many different kinds of places! In trees, in hives, in logs, in the eaves of houses (the roof), even in tires! And we even had a colony of stingless bees dangling from our dining room windowsill!

I got to help harvest honey and wax from two hives up on top of a container. It was awesome, and very fun. We got a fair bit of honey and mum was bee-side herself with joy! We took the bucket of honeycomb home to filter the honey through into a clean bucket. Then we processed the wax by putting the whole lot of comb left over in boiling water, straining it through a sack and then cooling it down until the wax settled on top of the water.
Here is me climbing up onto the container!
No one fell off!

Here is Louisa all dressed up in the gear and ready to go!
While the others were in the process of harvesting honey in a village called Malya, I got stung! A random bee flew to where I was standing! Look at my face!
You can't really see very well in this picture, but my face was quite swollen!

Bee keeping, in my opinion, is a very good business. It is fun to plan, to harvest and process... and very sweet to eat! We all enjoy that bit!

Yummy!
Just like Winnie the Pooh!

Honey straight off the honeycomb!


Here are some quizzes for you. There is an easier one and a harder one. You can post your answers in the comments below.

EASY BEE QUIZ!!!

1. What is a group of bees called?
2. Who is the leader of a group of bees?
3. Name 2 products bees make.
4. What do bees collect to make honey?
5. What shape do bees store their honey in?

HARDER BEE QUIZ!!

1. What gender are all worker bees?
2. How do bees show other bees how to find food?
3. What is uncapped honey called?
4. Name 2 things that happen after a bee stings you.
5. Name 2 things we can make from bee's wax.

 I will post the answers in my next blog.

BEE FACTS!!!

  • A hive will produce up to 500 pounds of honey a year.
  • Antarctica is the only continent in the world that doesn't have any bees.
  • Only drones can mate with the queen
  • There are three kinds of honey bees: worker bees, drones and the queen
  • It takes the nectar of over 1 million of flowers to make 1 pound of honey
Do you know any other interesting bee facts?
Or have any questions about bees?
 

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Summer Camp! Summer Camp! Oi!

Last week it was Summer Camp for lots of kids with albinism! This was our camp shout: SUMMER CAMP! SUMMER CAMP! And everyone shouts "OI!" A team of volunteers came to run the camp. It was sad that Amisadai was sick a lot of the week, but I went every day from Tuesday to Sunday and really enjoyed it! The volunteers and Vicky and Esther made it really fun for all the kids - they were all very patient and kind! I got to go to a camp in Kenya the week before, but these kids don't get to do things like this, so this was a really exciting treat! Also it is their school holiday but a lot of them don't have a safe or happy home to go to which is really sad for them, so this made everyone very happy!

I went round the different stations joining in with different groups. I also helped with the little children in day care a few times. Here are some of the things we did ...

Art class with Maria (Mama Penina's daughter)
With Mama Laurensia
Emmanuel Festo has been through a very hard life. When he was 7 years old,  his left arm and the fingers on his right hand were cut off. Later on, he went to America where doctors used his toe to make a thumb so that he could grip with his right hand.  I don't know how they did this. But having only two "fingers" it is still very hard to hold a pencil. I was so surprised to see how he drew this amazing tree with the stubs on his hand wedged against chin! I could not do that!

Emmanuel drawing

 

I enjoyed going to the science class! We were learning about what we can do to avoid getting burned by the sun. People with albinism don't have pigment to protect their skin, so they can easily get skin damage and cancer from the sun rays. So one of the things the teachers did was give out these bead bracelets, which are really cool! When you stand in the sun, (mainly between 11am and 4pm when the sun rays are strongest), the beads change colour from white to purple, going darker purple as the sun rays get stronger. They draw energy from the sun which later makes them glow green in the dark! This helped us all week to see when we needed to get out of the sun!
Here we are all trying out our bracelets!
This kid needs to get out of the sun! Her beads have gone purple!
Ashley and Brady, young people from Canada, were leading the sports station! We played hockey and other games. That was a little hard with my sore hand, but they made it loads of fun.
Playing hockey!
The Upenda wa Mama group were selling necklaces, earrings, lip balms, lots of different types of body balms, lots of different types of soap, candles and hand sewn cards. Here I am helping them to set up the stall and help with selling. Lots of the team wanted to buy things and all the kids liked to look at it all!
This cute little girl is Mama Zuena's daughter, Mariam. I enjoyed looking after her!
At the end of every day, everyone came together for chapel. We sang worship songs and we can all dance at the front! Then some of the kids would perform a song and then there was a talk to do with our theme "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13) We also had a theme song which was really fun to sing and a really good thing for the kids who have had bad things said to them saying that they are not important or that they are a curse, to remember. It says, "I know who I am!" So you can see, it was very good camp.

Dancing in chapel


Saturday, 23 July 2016

Loving a Kids Life as an "Overseas Missionary"

Louisa and I just got back from an amazing camp in Kenya which we can’t wait to tell you all about! Also Louisa has lots to say about the awesome Summer Camp this week for Kids with Albinism. But we haven’t had time to write anything yet. So in the meantime, we thought you might like to read a short article we wrote for our Church magazine in England. We were asked to write about what it is like as kids growing up as “overseas missionaries.”

All Christians, young and old, wherever they live, can be missionaries. A missionary is someone who shares Jesus and the Bible with others, lives as a light and helps people practically and spiritually.
For us, being overseas missionaries (in a different country to where we were born) is fun and exciting, but can also sometimes be a little sad or hard at times ... and it can be pretty normal too.

Living Overseas

We love that we see get to see amazing places like the Serengeti, speak different languages (Swahili and tribal languages) and have different experiences. We have adventures that might scare people in England such accidently standing on a crocodile’s head in the river and just getting off in time or finding a spitting cobra living in our garden. We eat food that is really different to Canadians, like green slime with sour milk, hairy goats and cow intestine soup.
The green slime with rice
Learning Kimasai in Magozi
Snake kill
As well as being adventurous, it can be a little hard at times. We often miss our family and friends in England and Canada. Amisadai misses Taste Youth and corner yogurts and Louisa misses English shops and McDonalds. But then when we come back to England we really miss our friends and life in Tanzania and we feel so behind because everyone is talking about new things that just came out, and we have NO clue what they are talking about. Tanzania is home to us, and we feel normal here!

In many ways normal life for us isn’t so different! We get up at 6:20am and leave for school at 7:15am. School starts at 7:55am. We go to an international school (taught in English). We really like it there, and it isn’t that different to UK schools. Amisadai’s favourite subjects are PE, History and Drama and Louisa’s favourites are art and science. We have loads of monkeys at our school, and they are a nuisance! They tip over the bins, steal lunches and break into students’ backpacks. Once a friend walked into the bathroom and found a monkey sitting on the toilet! After school, sometimes we have swimming or other clubs, or we go home and do homework and music practise. We like to do normal things like riding our bikes, going for runs, climbing trees (and playing in our treehouse), listening to music, sketching and emailing friends.
Singing in the school choir

Fun in our treehouse
 

How are we as kids involved in “Mission?”

Sometimes people think only adults can be missionaries. But we all can. Most of our time is at school now, so we can talk to friends about Jesus and what it means to be a Christian. When we go to villages, the main thing is to be with people. They love to see our faces and we love to help out! When we were doing the stoves project, we would sit with the groups and make miniature versions of clay stoves! We can sit and make beads or weave mats with mamas and play games with kids. When mum and dad go to teach about nutrition or SODIS (a way of getting clean water to drink using sunlight) or keeping bees, we can talk too and act out dramas to help deliver the message.


Teaching how to get clean water using SODIS
Teaching the importance of washing hands!
Hanging out with the Mamas Group
Teaching on protective bee-gear
Louisa loves to read the Swahili Bible and lead the singing. And we get to see that God is always at work! God has always been there for us, to help and encourage us, getting us out of danger and healing us from sicknesses such as malaria and amoebiasis. Once when we got lost in a baobab forest with a friend, after wandering round in circles and making our parents rather anxious, He brought us all back to the path. We have seen God heal people who have evil spirits and He has given Louisa the words to pray for people.  He always has a special job for all of us to do!

How have you seen God at work around you?