Friday, March 27, 2009

More visiting to an orphanage and school

Wow - we had a real driving experience today going out into the rural area to visit a school where orphan children go. The roads have been rather washed out by rains in a lot of places and we had to be very careful and slow driving around the rocks and gullies. It seems like most of the pastors/bishops that contact us and say they have orphanages actually just watch over the children who have lost one or both parents and live with a grandmother in most cases. They help them with needs and school fees and feed them one meal a day after school. This place we went today is quite needy and we could help them with almost anything.
the road to Pastor Mataya's school

more crazy washed-out road

Pastor Mataya took us to see this lady today who cannot walk. She crawls everywhere and has her knees wrapped with cloth. She came crawling out of the corn patch where she was weeding and picking some sugar cane. We will consider her for a wheelchair but her house is not at all accessible but she could get around her yard and if someone pushed her she could go further down the road. She is far from anything though, really. If we give her a chair we will deliver it and take pictures of the event. (If we dare go on that road again!!)
the road to the house of the lady who needs a wheelchair

she can only get around on her knees

Some pictures from the school we went to today:
students in school class

students from a school in the rurals

On our way out of the rural area we saw our first African animal - a Zebra. We got a good picture too -- there was a fence between me and him!!
Our first African animal sighting!

tall grass along the side of the road

huts in the countryside

Love, Elder & Sister Bullock

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mailing Information

I have added some mailing information on the sidebar, so if you're interested in writing "old school-style", the addresses and information is there! :)

Zimbabwe

We have been busy so far this week. We get phone calls from the Pastors and others than are running facilities for children and they want us to come and see their places of operation. It is good for us to go so that we can see exactly what their needs are and decide how we may be able to help.

Tuesday we went to "Trust in the Lord Orphan's Care" where Lettie has 10 children that live with her and they have about 150 children that come after school and they feed them a meal. It was a small house that is very old but it was clean and the surrounding yard (mostly cemented) was swept clean. They do their cooking outside over a fire, as do most people here. Bro. Spencer, who owns a grocery store here supplies them with a lot of their food, at no charge. (maize, cabbage,
etc.)

The children started arriving and are very polite. Jim entertained them with a finger game (Tommy, Tommy....) and tried to teach them to whistle with their hands. They liked that. He played a song-game that he used to do with the kids at school patrol camp and that got a lot of smiles.

Then the kids sang to us and danced some. Their songs are always about God and Jesus Christ and how wonderful They are and how blessed they are. They are happy -- they don't know any different. Most of these children have lost parents but live with grandmas or aunts/uncles or single moms.

Wednesday we went with Evelyn to visit "Just Joy" (a bridging organization). They are a big organization that help about 2000 children. They try to have sports and other things that keep the kids occupied. They pay the school fees and cost of uniforms for some children (through donations) so that they can go to school. Lots of the children are not in school and have nothing to do. They try and give each a toy at Christmas. Often then are left home alone while the parents go to sell veggies/fruit of whatever they can get on the street corners to try and make a little money. The area was high density and extremely poor. (I will try and send a picture or two). There were people everywhere and the homes were horrible with 3 and 4 families in a small apt.

She took us to one home where a grandmother is taking care of 6 grandchildren as the parents have all died (probably of aids). The grandmother is very sick (they said she has cervical cancer) and so 3 of the children are with neighbors (one is a baby) and will eventally end up in an orphanage, I'm sure. The grandmother was laying outside on the cement with a blanket - she couldn't get up. Apparently someone else has taken over the house and she sleeps in a corner with the 3 grandchildren or outside. I'm not sure who feeds them - perhaps this organization or neighbors. I didn't have the heart to take a picture as I didn't want the grandma to feel any worse than she already does.

apt. building in high-density area

apt. building with garbage in front


Now for some good news: two of Pres. Nield's daughters and some of his workers -- he employs about 25 people on his property so he can take care of them - he feeds them and gives them and their families the basic essentials -- anyway, they were sorting out boxes from the container that he received from the U.S. There was some food, blankets, hygiene kits, etc, etc. There were boxes and boxes of clothes and shoes donated by someone (not Deseret Industries). We went out and helped them for about 3 hrs. We sorted clothes into boys/girls/men/women/babies etc. We didn't get finished and had to put the boxes back into the container before it got dark. When I saw all those wonderful things that people had sent it brought tears to my eyes. There was so much but never enough for the needs here. It will help many though. We have a container due next week from DI with more of the same.

Just an example of how desperate these people are - and keep in mind that these are people that Pres. Nield brought to help because he trusts them for the most part. They all know that when they are done they will be given a set of clothes for each member of their family. However, after they had been sorting for a little while someone took a walk around and there were clothes hidden in the corn patch, under the container, along the fence and anywhere they could hide them so they could retrieve them later. Rachael, Pres. Nield's daughter really got after them and told them - that is theft, and we don't do that in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The items were gathered up and put back. The people were all moved to the other side of the container where they could be watched more closely. They want anything they can get -- they can sell them on the street for money.

Container sorting - big job

sorting clothes by container

About driving in Zimbabwe: what an experience. I told Jim yesterday that this is a good way to get over noticing everyone's illegal turns, stops, etc. etc. There really are no rules or if there are everyone breaks them. Pedestrians do not have the right-of-way. If they did the cars would never move. Like I said before the traffic lights (robots) hardly ever work so intersections are a 'take your best chance' crossing. On top of that people are everywhere - crossing streets anywhere and everywhere. Our first impulse is to stop for a pedestrian but they do watch and stop for the cars. Often they are standing right in the middle of two lanes waiting for their chance to run across - at home you might think this would be rather dangerous, but not here. When we were in the high density neighborhood yesterday people were really everywhere - it is amazing that cars can even drive through and that no one gets hit.

people going to town

We have no water pressure again so we are heating our water on the stove. At least we has Zesa (electricity) for now. The phone bills here have been about $10 a month but last month apparently they went to ridiculous prices of about $200 - 400 (as much as $2000) and people refused to pay them. They paid a little bit so that they couldn't disconnect them. Now the Internet isn't working a lot because they say people refused to pay their bills and they needed the money. Crazy methods.

One other thing I wanted to tell you was that there are little bonfires all over (yards, side of the road, etc.) because that is how they cook their Sadza (corn maize) or their field corn on a cob. There are patches of corn growing everywhere and wherever they can. That started because of the shortage of food grown on the farms here. That is why we have the `Prophet's Garden´ (as it has been named) here on the church property. People have plots here and are suppose to keep them up - some do better than others. Mostly they grow corn and a green vegetable that they make a relish type sauce out of. That is pretty much all they eat and they like it just fine - usually one, maybe two meals a day.

Jim went to Marondera today with Elder Taylor, to do the branch audit. They will be back about noonish. I am sorting through some information hoping that it will all make sense one day soon. Last night we joined the Taylor's in their flat next door and we watched the first `Love Comes Softly´ movie. They enjoyed that and so did we - we haven't seen it for a long time. They had a stressful day and wanted to relax - it worked.

spider on our ceiling

Must get back to my paperwork. Love to all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Orphanage Visit

Dear Friends and Family,

I don't want to break any hearts but.... this little girl's parents died recently and she has been taken to Letti's orphanage. Isn't she beautiful? I wish I could send her home to you.
We visited the orphanage this afternoon. They have 10 children that live there full time but they feed 150 every afternoon after school. A member of the church owns a grocery store and he gives them a lot of food - corn maize, beans, cabbage etc. I took some really good video but I don't know how to send it - besides the internet is so slow I don't know if I could. I will try and send some pictures though but I haven't been having a lot of luck with that today either.

We enjoyed our visit - the children sang to us. Their songs are always about God and Jesus Christ and how good they are. Jim teased them and played a couple of games with them. They loved it. His school patrol training camps were good training for this.
Our truck parked in front of our flat.
LDS Charities Logo

making Sadza at the orphanage

Giving out soap and blankets (Jim in back)

View from our backyard

Close up view of our backyard

Love to all, Elder and Sister Bullock

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

From Zimbabwe

Hi, Friday morning here about 10:30 - 8 hrs. ahead now that you are on daylight saving time. We met with a couple of different pastors this a.m. that LDS charities helps. (orphanages, etc.) We will go next Fri. and Sat, and see their places and meet the children. One helps about 200 children - most just come for school in the daytime and go home at night - they feed them 1 meal. The other one sounds like there are 12 children that live with them that they support as well as people in the community. They all have their gardens and rely heavily on that for food - corn and vegetables.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon with Pres. Neilds, who works with Deseret International and Unicef. He has done that for 20 years and is quite an expert at all that goes on here. A container has arrived full of medical supplies from the church. He showed us the process of taking delivery of it - papers to be stamped etc. We learned that it takes a lot of patience as nothing happens quickly here. He hoped to have the container here at our property yesterday but that didn't happen yet -- it was to be here at 9:00 this morning but we haven't seen it yet. It is a large railway container. He has 25 more coming in over the next little while. When we were at one place yesterday (for the 2nd time) the guy wanted him to pay $800 for using the container. Pres. Neild ask why, as it is Pres. Neild's container. The guy didn't quite no what to say about that. He said sorry and went back to his desk. After a while he came back and wanted him to pay $138 for storage. Pres. Neild ask why since they hadn't stored anything. Finally Pres. Neild went down the hall and talked to the head guy and he came out and told them to stamp the papers and that we didn't need to pay anything. The supervisor (lady) over the guy who was originally helping us was quite visibly not happy about that - but they gave us our stamped paperwork FINALLY!!

We will have 3 containers coming soon with wheelchairs - one for Zambia, 1 for Malawi and 1 for Zimbabwe. Each carries 250 wheelchairs. We are also getting a few other things as well - some
clothes, hygiene kits etc. I think we will request Pres. Neild's help when they arrive.

We order and buy the soap here in Harare. Also school scribblers etc. Whatever we can get here is good as it saves shipping costs (which are a lot).

Yesterday a young mother and her baby (with aids) came to talk to us. She wanted food. We don't have food to give. We did refer her to a place down the way that will give food to aids people. Bro. Neild was here when she came and we ask him to talk to her with us as we didn't really know what to do. He talked to her and told her that he could tell she was lying because her story wasn't adding up. I'm glad he was here to help us. We feel really bad for these people but he explained that they are very good liars and with time we will be able to tell who is genuine and who is not. She did have aids and looked thin etc. however he determined after talking with her that she is in medication for aids and is getting some help.

Monday two women came in and wanted to know if we could help them with something to keep the rain out of their residence. We talked and gave them each 2 blankets, water purification pills, soap and a little corn maize that the gardener had. We arranged for 1 to come back and weed and work in the garden for a while (we try not to give something for nothing, if possible). She did come back and then after her work we took her home so that we could see if there is anything we can do for their problem. What we saw was quite heart wrenching - I wanted to cry. Their homes consisted of a pole frame with some metal on the roof and plastic tarp wrapped around the outside. The plastic has deteriorated in places and when it rains they get water in. The floor was cement. It was about 10' x 10'. She has 2 teenage daughters and 3 boys. The other lady has 6 living in her place - a small baby as well. They cook outside on a bonfire. There was a whole village - all the same but most of their plastic walls were a little better. There are also some cinder block row houses there too about the same size - some had two rooms - some had roofs some did not. With 95% unemployment rate here, Pres. Neild says that there are quite of few of those areas. They do have their gardens though - thank goodness for that. Last year was bad for them because a lot of crops did not do well. This year the crops are better.

I think I told you before that all they eat is corn maize and a vegetable mix that they make. They eat that everyday and are happy with it.

We don't have any plastic we can give these ladies. We will keep our eyes open and ask around - luckily the dry season is coming shortly. It has rained quite a bit the past 3 days. The clouds roll through and it rains hard for a bit and then stops and the sun shines and then it rains hard again, etc.

The children at the Village

I wanted to tell you about the traffic signals here!! They are called 'robots'. Most of them do not work or sometimes one works going one way but nothing the other way. We have to be very careful driving through them. It is really quite a mix-up at most intersections. You just put your nose out and go when you can. Most people do not have cars so there is never a rush hour like at home but there is a fairly steady flow. Also the potholes are really a problem - we constantly try to miss them if possible. We saw a huge one yesterday.

When we got home last night the electricity was off (electricity is called Zesta here). We have a generator for our flat so we used that to cook supper and then we played a game by candlelight and went to bed early. It was still off this a.m. so we used the generator to cook our eggs and let it run for an hour to cool the fridge off a bit. It lasts pretty good if we don't open it. There was some frozen milk in the freezer that we thawed for breakfast but it was curdled. Yuck. There are several more packets of milk in the freezer so we will check them out. We may have to toss them.

The Turners that we replaced left quite a bit of food in the flat. They had stocked up when they had been to Joberg and up to Zambia last year when there was no food on the shelves here. (really! there was nothing to be had). They had to take vehicles and make food runs so that the 70 missionaries in Zimbabwe could have some food. It is much better now.

We spent our first night at the flat cleaning out the fridge and cupboards and organizing. She had the fridge packed full but must have forgotten about the stuff at the back because it was gross. We
threw a lot out and defrosted it. We also threw some stuff out of the cupboards too - however, Beauty, the house cleaner, was happy to go through it and took some. I was happy to have her do that. At least what was useable didn't go to waste. We still need to finish off some cupboards and see exactly what we have there.

We will go to the store today and buy some milk (UHT milk in cartons), oatmeal, eggs, and potatoes. We can buy the potatoes on the street if we want. They are okay.

I better get this sent off. Jim is helping do an audit for a branch that we help out at on Sundays (every other Sunday) as we have two. I will go check to see if the container has arrived yet.

Here are a few more pictures:

The Besters and Us

A bus system of sorts

Nancy under the Avacado Tree in our backyard

Love to all, Elder & Sis. Bullock

(see below for a letter they wrote on March 15 that I just posted. Kim)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hi, The internet has been down here for a couple of days. We dropped the Turners at the airport today so now it is just us!! Pres. Bester says to just take it easy and not think we need to know everything and do everything right now. We went for a nice supper last night with the couples and Pres/Sis Bester. Pres. Bester pd the bill. It was an upper class hotel resturant - good food. It wasn't really overly expensive (cheaper than it would have been at home for
the type of restuarant).

Later today we will move into the Turners flat. Beauty is cleaning it right now. She will clean ours tomorrow after we move our stuff over and she will do our laundry. Nice!! I think this flat is maybe a little nicer but the lay out is exactly the same. 2 bdrms, but one is an office for us. Turners had bought a quarter of beef so we bought what was left from them. There is a freezer there that we share with the office couple who live next door. I don't think the beef is
"Alberta beef" quality but they say it is good.

I don't think losing weight here is going to be as easy as I thought. If I want to lose I will have to be careful -- in fact I will have to be careful not to gain any. I will continue to avoid sugar but
avoiding white flour, etc. will not be so easy as whole wheat and brown rice are not easy to come by. We will just try and eat healthy. Cabbage is plentiful - easier to get than decent lettuce. We do need to go shopping for some food (actually I guess I will see what Turners left first).

It is a beautiful day today, as usual. We have gotten up and walked the past couple of days. 3 loops around the complex takes half an hour. They say we are fine to walk outside the complex too (in the daylight) so we may try that soon.

By the way mom, they never did weigh our carry-ons. I think we could easily have brought everything. O well!! I have written some stuff on our computer and want to cut and paste it
to an email but the computer is at home. I will try and do that and send some pics. I wrote about our trip to Mutare and giving to the senior's home and to the orphanage. Good experience. There are so many needy people though and we can only do so much. We constantly are handed requests and people come in asking for help. We have to decide who we can help. Like Pres. Neild said: He helps the neediest of the needy and then he can at least sleep better at nights. He is a white man from here (they call those Rhodesians). He has been successful in business and he really does a lot to help the needy - he even has his own warehouse. We will work with him a lot as he knows a lot of people and has connections. His daughter also does a lot as well. I should say daughters - he has 6 and they are very strong individuals just as he is. They are a real strength to the church here. We are not to mention to his wife all that he does - because she would be frightened to know of the places he goes and what he does.

Mom, please forward this to my kids and Kim can forward it to whoever else. We are doing fine and getting settled in.

Love to all, Jim and Nancy

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

I am writing this on Sunday evening in the flat and will copy and paste (I hope) tomorrow at the mission office. We have just had supper with the other two couples and a single sister who they have been friendshipping. Nice supper of fish (Tepia), potatoes, butternut squash, green beans and rolls. Tomorrow night we all go out to a restaurant for Turners final night.

Thursday we drove to Mutare. Apparently it is about the prettiest place in Zimbabwe and I must agree. It had hills/mountains and the area was very green and pretty – especially with the rainy season. We have 3 or 4 chapels there and the District President is President Chadambuka. He is a really good man. He met us and took us to the senior’s home. The youth (age 18-24) were already there and had been doing some service work on the grounds. They were all wearing the “Helping Hands” T-shirts that the church uses on such projects. We were given a tour of the facility – it is pretty old. Each tenant has a room with cement floors and walls and a door to outside that faces the middle of the complex. They each had a single bed and maybe a chest of drawers. Very meager circumstances. The tenants were gathered under a wooden frame canopy structure and we were introduced and Jim was asked to say a few words - basically telling that we are with LDS Charities etc. Then the youth passed out two blankets and a bar of soap each. (Note: the blankets and the soap are purchased here in Harare. The soap is about 4” X 12” and can be cut into bars. We keep a supply of these things in a container in the garden by the mission office. The container is the type that you would see on a train. We are trying to get another 1 or 2 containers to keep things in – it has been approved I believe. They seal nicely against rats, thieves, etc.

The oldest tenant at the home was a 91 year old lady, Mary. She couldn’t come out of her room so we took it to her. She wanted to kiss us all and hugged the blankets to her face. She offered us some of her Sudza (food) from her cup – we declined! I will try and attach a picture. She was very small. There were a total of 26 seniors there. They appreciated the help.


From there we went to a school for handicap kids and gave them each two blankets (the reason we give two is one for the bottom and one for the top of their beds). The school is in desperate need of anything we could do. They have 20 students coming in May that live there for the term. They mattress pads were pretty much demolished and conditions overall were horrid. We may write up an ‘initiative’ for covered foam mattress pads and submit it to SA (South Africa) for approval and then give more blankets and soap to the students when they come. The children sang to us and then we sang “I am a child of God” to them.

The next morning we went to an orphanage run by some nuns. It was up the hills in a village. The road there left a lot to be desired – similar to driving up in the hills above Mt. View when I was a kid (only I think this was worse). Luckily we have a truck. The “Helping Hands” youth were with us again. We had our introductions again and a tour and then each child received 2 blankets and soap. Sad conditions - but the children seem happy – big white smiles. Mostly all these people eat corn maize and a sort of relish they make out of green leaves. The orphanage people wanted the youth to move some bricks for them with Pres. Chadambuka’s truck. We tried to drive up to where the bricks were and after the road getting narrower and going across a couple of streams – there was a tractor on the road and no one to move it so we had to turn around. While doing this the youth found a guava tree and picked a few fruit – so we tried our first guava. It was good!

On to the next orphanage about 15 km away. It looked nicer than the last but we didn’t get a tour as the head person was not there yet and we couldn’t wait because we needed to get home to Harare before dark. Pres. Chadambuka and the youth waited and did some work cutting down grass etc. We did play with the kids for a little while after they got brave enough to come close. They wanted candy, biscuits, or popcorn but we didn’t have any of that. They were all quite young. They held my hand and would rub my ‘white’ hand and arm – they don’t see white people much. Jim started playing and flipping them over – they all wanted turns. They are really cute kids.

We are already seeing that there is SO much that we could do here and we have to decide what we can do and for whom. There is just no end to the need. We have to try and help the neediest of the needy!! People hand us letters asking us to help them – one asking for a wheelchair for his friend, a motor for a maise grinder as theirs was stolen, mattresses, water pump, etc. We have a few wheelchairs in our container and may be able to do that if it checks out. We have to be careful because people ask for things and then may just want to sell them.

This couple of days in Mutare did give us a taste of what we will be dealing with over the next 18 months. It is nice to be able to give what we can through LDS charities. There are some initiatives in the works and we will find some of our own to do. Anything less than $15,000 can be approved pretty quick through the area welfare people in SA but if they are more than that it must go through Salt Lake. Lots of paperwork. (I will learn more about that tomorrow).

This mission will definitely change how we look at things. We waste so much in America. By the way, we did get our first shower in Mutare at the motel, however, it was in the dark because the power was out!! We had candles and an oil lamp. Our toilet in the flat here has a problem today. The drain pipe going out the back wall has corroded away and there is a hole – so when we flush – quess what happened!! Yup, it was on our floor! Luckily we have 2 bathrooms – we will just have to carry our bucket of tub water to the other bathroom so we can flush. The mission will get it fixed. (Monday: They checked it out today and will fix it. We will move over to the other flat on Tues. Or Wed.)

We went to church today here in the Harare Highlands Ward. Lots of people there and a mix of whites and blacks. (Note: native whites are called Rhodesians). Most wards or branches are all black. There are some really good strong members.

Monday: can’t get the internet to come up yet. Just had a couple of ladies come in asking for some help. They have 13 of them in two enclosures and have no roof to keep the rain out etc. One of them will come back on Wednesday and we will go out and look at their place and see if there is anything we can help them with. We don’t do building with LDS charities but we can perhaps give them some plastic or some scraps from a building that they are redoing here by the gardens. We did give them each 2 blankets, soap, a little sugar, some water tablets and a bit of maize that the gardener had harvested last week and was drying. That will help them a little. We don’t generally give food but had the maize. They seemed happy with anything we could do to help. I think what we will see on Wed when we drive out could be heart-wrenching. One lady had a baby on her back.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Still No Water

We couldn't get on email yesterday and when I did for a minute and wrote a note I lost it because I lost the connection in the middle of sending.

We still have no water in our flat. We haul it from the Bore hole a few houses away. We filled our tub this a.m. and our three 5 gallon buckets. We use this for bathing, flushing, washing dishes (with some bleach (called Jik) here). We get filtered water from the mission office and keep several ltrs. of that on hand. It tastes fine. We get enough water through the toilet line to flush once a day, maybe twice, if we are lucky. Haven't had a shower yet - still using a cloth and small pan of water. It works fine.

Yesterday we had our house cleaned and our laundry and ironing done by a lady named Beauty. She did a good job and it cost us $10 for everything. That is a good deal for us and a good deal for her. We will get her each week. I gave her two little candy bars that we got on the plane coming over and she was thrilled. Our rent on the flat is $300/mo. and the truck rental is $50/mo. LDS Charities that we work under pays the vehicle gas and expenses.

Food is about the same price as at home. We can get some ok stuff - however, it is hard to find whole wheat bread, brown rice etc. so our eating is changing some. We did find a place that sells nice fresh bread (really good) and did get 4 loaves of high fibre bread yesterday. It was $1.25 a loaf for wheat and $1. for white. Today we bought some cheese to try and a jar of macadamia nut spread (like peanut butter). They apparently have really good ice cream here but I am still going to try and avoid sugar.

Today we gave a Pastor some blankets, hygiene kits and some bars of soap for 45 children he is helping and 8 widows -- also two mothers; one had twins and one had triplets. We wish we had some new-born kits, but we are out. He is a good man and we will work with him a lot when we can help.

Tomorrow we leave for Mutare (near the Mozambique border). We will stay overnight and will visit 2 orphanages and a seniors home to give out blankets. We will stay overnight at a motel (we will get to shower!!). LDS charities pays for the hotel when we need to travel.

I will try and send some pictures when I have some time. We have been busy trying to learn before Turners leave on Tues. We will be on our own then but feel like we are getting a bit of an idea of what we need to do and how to do it. We still have lots of paperwork stuff to learn.

We can't say enough about the perfect climate here and the beautiful trees and flowers. The people are so poor though and they are everywhere. They walk and walk and walk!! They try and do whatever they can to earn a little money.

I don't remember if I told you what the church is giving the most needy for food. There are 6 things: mealie meal (corn meal), oil, sugar, beans, salt, and soap. That is what most of them eat along with whatever fruit or veggies they can find.

They are a gentle patient people. We hope things are getting a little better. There is food on the store shelves again but most people can't afford it. They are using the U.S. dollar instead of Zimbabwe dollar (as it crashed about 3 weeks ago).. That is actually helping things but hopefully it will last.

We went to the Mission Pres. home last night with 3 other new missionaries for pictures, meeting and a delicious supper. It was a very spiritual and enjoyable evening.

We are doing fine so don't worry. I wish I could write everyone an individual letter but that is just impossible right now. We would love to hear from you though.

Must run as they are locking up the mission office and we have a meeting in half an hour with the LDS Charities advisory board.

Love to all, Bro. and Sis. Bullock/mom and dad/Jim and Nancy, etc.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hi, We are at the mission home checking emails. We have had a busy day that started with a meeting with the area authority from South Africa and all the stake and district presidents, mission president and welfare humanitarian couples (that is us). It was very positive and we were so impressed with those men and what they are trying to do.

This afternoon we met with the Turners for a few hours and are trying to learn some of what we need to learn.

Things are actually getting better here for the people. There is food back on the shelves at the stores if they can afford to buy it. The unemployment rate is 95% so they are trying to do whatever they can to exist and make a few dollars. There is hope that things are starting to improve. The U.S. dollar is being used now and the Zim dollar will no longer be accepted after June. It seems that will help a lot as one zillion Zim dollars equals less than a U.S. dollar. Maybe I can get some zillion dollar bills to bring home.

Tomorrow we are going to a branch about 1 1/2 hr. away. On Thursday we are going to another town to deliver some blankets and soap to a couple of orphanages and a senior's home. We will stay overnight as we have 4 appointments and we cannot drive home after dark. It is suppose to be a beautiful place. We will be with the Turners. They leave on March 16th so we are trying to get a grasp on how to do some of these things before they leave us. We are rather overwelmed but it will come.

Dad is talking to Kim and Brianne on skype so I better go get in on it. We will have to figue out a regular time to skype so family can plan to be online.

Love to all, Mom/Nancy/Sis. Bullock

(P.S. The time-stamp is MST - they are 9 hours ahead. Kim)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Comments

Hi all,

Kim here. Please feel free to comment on the posts here if you would like. You're still welcome to send Mom & Dad notes to their email address, but this might be a good place for little comments, as it will be a quicker to view them all in one place (good old dial-up internet makes life a little slow...er...challenging!).

Thanks for stopping by and don't hesitate to check back often for updates!

Thanks!
Kim

We're here!

Hi all,

We have arrived safe and sound - yesterday.  It was a long trip,  It is beautiful here and nice and warm.  Our flat is nice enough.  We will move into the Turner's flat when they leave on the 16th.   The yards are lovely with a variety of beautiful plants and flowers. There is an avacado tree in the yard.  I heard a rooster crowing this a.m. and some strange bird sounds.

No water when we arrived.  We had our first sponge bath with a gallon of water.  We got a dribble of water last night and filled up the tub to use for bathing and toilet flushing.  Turners brought us a couple of 2 ltr. bottles of filtered water for drinking.  We have a filter but no water pressure to get the water to us.  They say there is a bit of pressure early in the mornings and to keep our tub filled.  The Turners flat has more pressure so it will be a bit better for us when we move there.

The Turners and Taylors fed us Chinese food for supper.  It was good. We had our bowl of oatmeal for breakfast with a banana. They are showing us around.  We will check out the grocery store later and pick up a few things.  They say there is a little more food on the shelves since they started using the U.S. dollars recently. There is lots to try and learn in the next week.

Our flat is safe -- in a compound.   They haven't had any problems. We slept good last night -  Jim better than me.   We feel safe and had no problems with safety on the trip here.  We got our 30 day visitor visa at the airport and hopefully our Temporary Employment Permit will be granted soon.   They don't seem too worried about misquitos (malaria isn't much of a problem because of the elevation of Zimbabwe).  We can open our windows (some have netting on them).   We will take our anti-malaria medication just to be safe.

Love to all,  Elder and Sis. Bullock

Monday, March 2, 2009

We're finally going!!

Hi,  Just a quick note to let you know that we are leaving for Zimbabwe tomorrow @ 1:25 p.m.   We got the go-ahead today and they didn't waste any time getting the flights arranged.
 
We are excited and nervous.  We arrive there on Thurs. about noon.   I guess we will find out soon what is what!!!
 
Thanks to all our friends and family for your support.
 
Jim and Nancy