Thursday, April 30, 2009

Good morning to you!

We went to see Pauline and baby Edson today. We gave her a newborn baby kit that we found in the Nield's container (they said we could use stuff from there). It had 4 cloth diapers, pins, an undershirt, socks, 2 bars of soap and a receiving blanket. We took 4 diapers from another kit for her as well. I don't know how the baby is really doing - he doesn't look all that good. I don't think he is out of the woods by any means. She said he is nursing and he did open his eyes but he is VERY small. They don't have much/if any food left and their landlord is after them for rent ($15/month). We don't give out money.

Actually Pauline showed up here at the office this morning to ask for rent money - she had walked here, she said. It is quite a ways for a person to walk. We told her we were planning to visit her this afternoon and that we would give her a ride home. I had Samantha, a Shona lady that works here, talk to her. We were really torn as to what we should do. After consulting with each other and with Samantha we decided to give Pauline the rent money (out of our pocket). We also talked about how Pauline was going to pay the next month's rent. She said before the baby came she sold bananas/vegetables on the side of the road but that she has no capitol to get started again. She needed $6 for that. We gave her $10 and Samantha explained to her that she had to be wise and use it to get her business started. Samantha thinks she will -- and if she doesn't then - at least we
tried to help her.

I know this sounds like it shouldn't really be a hard decision on our part but you have to realize that we have to be very careful because people will just keep coming back for more. Samantha told her that there is no more ever. Hopefully she won't come back asking (but she probably will and we will have to be strong and say 'no'). We don't want a line up of people at our door begging for money.

$25 is nothing really to us in America but.... we could give out thousands and they would just keep taking. Our gate guard has ask us for a loan - we said no. Our housekeeper and her husband, the gardener have ask us for advances on their pay and we have said no - we will pay them at the beginning of each month. (If we pay in advance then what will they do the next month, etc.) Anyway - you can see the problem. People want to be our friend and then ask for
money - if you don't give then they aren't your friend anymore. They would bleed us dry.

I hope we didn't make a mistake helping Pauline today - I guess time will tell.

The missionaries followed us out to Pauline's today and met them. They set up an appointment to go back next Thursday and teach them and left them with a pamphlet to read. They would love to get a branch going in that area. While there a lady sitting outside talked to them and said she used to go to our church and they invited her to come back. So - perhaps something good will come out of this!!

I got a b.d. card in the mail today from the R.S. presidency. That was nice. It came through fairly quickly. Also a small package from my friend Ruth. Our first mail here!!

Must run. Love, Nancy/Mom

Monday, April 27, 2009

Good morning! It is a beautiful day today - suppose to be 83 degrees. Nice! The rainy season is over and so we pretty much get sunny beautiful weather everyday. Things will get dry now though.

We had a great weekend. We took a large generator with us for the branch building as they usually don't have power. They have a nice building that they take really good care of. We left for Masvingo early Sat. morning and arrived about 10:30 a.m. at the church and the branch president took us to the orphanage (I thought we were going to a hospital but..) where the branch was doing the service project of cleaning the grounds and the kitchen etc. They were doing a great job and working hard. We were taken on a tour of the orphanage and I must say that we were impressed with their operation. They have 43 orphans there right now but can have as many as 96. (ages 3 - 17). An NGO (non gov't. organization - charity) named LEADS ?? has helped them set up a garden project and it was wonderful. They supply a lot of their own food and sell about 20% of it which pays for new seeds and fertilizer etc. The watering system was great and the gardens were beautiful. They have the eaves troughs running into their huge water storage container that they can also fill with city water. Then it can be directed into their drip system in the garden. LEADS monitors the project to make sure it is being taken care of properly. It is the best managed orphanage we have seen so far. I will send pictures. We gave each child a hygiene kit at the end of the service project.

Masvingo Branch service project at orphanage

Cleaning kitchen at orphanage

gardens & water tank at the orphanage in Masvingo

happy helping hands young women

Helping Hands digging hole for garbage disposal at orphanage

playground equipment at orphanage

We went from there to our motel - "The Inn on Great Zimbabwe". It was a lovely place with beautiful gardens. We ate our lunch that we brought with us and then Bro. Taylor dropped us off at the Great Zimbabwe Ruins (not an animal park). About the 13th century, a king lived there and had all his wives in the area within a tall rock enclosure that was down the hill. His place was up on top in the rocks with passageways and walls to protect him from his enemies. There were narrow stone staircases - if his enemies tried to get to him they could only do so one at a time and they could be stopped. It was all very interesting -- I would guess there is a website if one wanted to look. We had to pay $4 each to get in and then we paid $6 to have a guide. . We thought that was pretty good and it was well worth it to pay for a guide. His name was Tino and he was very good. It took us about 2 hrs. and we did some serious climbing - I thought I would be stiff but I wasn't.

looking across at the King's place of residence - on top in rocks

Nancy going up to King's domain - The Great Zimbabwe ruins

Jim and our guide, Tino in king's cave where he could look out over the valley and see his wives' residence.

inside King's home (surrounded by rock and stone walls)

going into wive's home area

doorway coming up into King's enclosure

inside wive's residence - they don't know what the tower is - it is solid stacked rocks

inside wives enclosure where they lived

outside wive's enclosure - see design at top

Afterwards we went back to the motel and enjoyed the gardens and then went for supper at 7 p.m. They have a set menu (you do get a choice between 2 main courses). The first course was some avocado slices beside a boiled egg that was topped with some mayo. Then we got a small bowl of vegetable soup. Then we had curried beef or a bed of rice (or we could have had fish). Dessert was chocolate mousse. It was presented very beautifully with our waiter standing close by to serve us. It cost us $15 a piece. Breakfast was included in our stay ($70) and it was wonderful - started with fruit salad (all the fruit was freshly grown on their grounds), cereal/milk, toast, and eggs, bacon and sausage. It was all very nice.

our room - notice the view

view from hotel room

monkey just outside our hotel room

garden at Inn at Great Zimbabwe

Jim and Nancy outside dining room

Jim reading on porch of room at the hotel

We then went to church at the Masvingo branch and saw their garden plots that are planted on the church grounds. The grass was all dug up for gardens about 4 years ago and their gardens looked well taken care of - except they were promised a bore hole a year ago and it still hasn't been put in. We will see what we can do about that. They, like everyone else are asking for seeds and fertilizer and detox spray. We will try and do an initiative so that we can pass those things out to the members. None of the members down there have jobs - as there are none to be had. The branch president is a policeman but seldom gets paid anything. Teachers here work and seldom get paid
either - but if they don't show up for work they will get fired and then don't even have a chance of possible pay. They are all hopeful that things will get better. Some think that things are a bit better since the inception of the U.S. dollar but there is not enough dollars in circulation here for them to pay people so they give them vouchers which they can't get cash for either. There is essentially no cash in the rural areas so it is difficult for people out there. Good thing they have gardens.

We headed home after church meetings and came across a very strange scenario. Taylors said they have never seen anything like it. We came to in intersection that heads to the Mozambique area (we think) and there was a long line of buses stopped there - trying to get onto the road to Harare. As we drove along we passed bus after bus after truck - all loaded to the hilt. It seemed to us that it was a mass migration of people moving back to Zimbabwe. It seems that it is a good thing if that is what is happening. Lots of people have left over the past troubles and no jobs etc. and if they are coming back it is apparently a good sign that things are going to be better. Mines and industries are closed all over the country so all those jobs were lost. It will be interesting to see if anything is in the newspaper about these people coming back.

The trip back was rather nerve racking with all the traffic and the terribly bumpy roads but we made it - with a lot of praying I think. A couple of times (one in particular) I thought Elder Taylor was going to have a head on crash trying to pass a bus. YIKES!!

Back to work today -- but guess what?? No container!! We did go talk to a guy and it did arrived by rail about 250 km. away on April 13th, however, they are very busy and trying to get it trucked to Harare. The 5 containers for UNICEF are there too. Hopefully soon but no promises!!

Love to all, Elder and Sister Bullock

Friday, April 24, 2009


Hi, It has been a good day. We went to UNICEF and talked to them. I hope it went well and they understand!! The church has sent them 5 containers of hygiene kits and in exchange we are suppose to get some things but.... He suggested we write up a request and did say we could get water tablets and soap. They don't want us duplicating where they give out -- but they do huge districts and we do smaller needs - like some of our wards/branches need water purification tablets or an orphanage. We will figure it out. I don't think it will be a problem getting a few things - we tried to make him understand that we weren't wanting a container's worth.

Then we went and picked up our 100 cabbages - actually from Honey Dew Farms - a farm and store just 2 blocks away from where we live. Tabeth had sent out some letters to places requesting donations and that is how she got the cabbage. They were nice cabbages. We took them to Epworth - area we have been visiting lately that is so needy. The people were waiting for us and thrilled to get their one cabbage each. We were late getting there because the cabbages were suppose to get delivered here but then we got a call asking if we could pick them us. People had been waiting for us for a couple of hours - they are so patient!
Picking up cabbages from Honey Dew Farm

People lined up to receive cabbage

He is happy to get the left over leaves

Our baby is still okay - I wish we could weigh him to see if he is gaining but..... I think he is only about 4 lbs or so (that is my guess) but he is eating and is sucking good so I think he will be alright.
Our Baby, Edson.

Our container hasn't arrived yet. Just to let you know what is coming on it, if you are wondering:
15 bales of ladies clothing
15 bales of men's clothing
15 bales of youth clothing
2 pallets mixed shoes
3 pallets hygiene kits
1 pallet newborn kits
3 pallets school kits
2 pallets orphanage modules
2 pallets quilts - double size
2 pallets quilts - single size
1 pallet toy module
2 pallets blankets (wool) 420 per pallet
You can imagine why we are so anxious to get this. There is a lot of stuff. We also have 540 blankets that are ready for delivery to us that were bought here in Harare and some soap. Winter is coming here and people are cold so that will be really good to have.

Elder and Sis. Taylor came by (their apt. door is right next to ours) and said they wanted to take us out for supper for my birthday and I could choose where we go. I chose chinese and it is really good and inexpensive.

We are going with Taylors tomorrow to Masvingo (spelling) where they have a branch (congregation) that they look after. They are having a service project at a hospital in the morning and we are taking some hygiene kits (about 40, I think). In the afternoon Elder Taylor has to do some training but Jim and I may go to a tourist site called "The Great Zimbabwe". Apparently it is a must to see. We will probably take pictures and tell all about it on Monday. We will stay
overnight and go to church on Sunday at the branch and then head home. It is a 3 hr. drive and apparently the roads leave a lot to be desired!

Sis. Taylor also made me a birthday cake and brought it to the mission office along with some ice cream. That was nice of her. She had up a Happy Birthday sign as well.

So - it has been a good day.

Avocados from our complex

Love, The Bullocks

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pictures added

I added some pictures to yesterday's post below.

Love, Kim

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Our Baby

Hurray!! He was still alive this afternoon and has been eating a little. We really were not sure that he would be. His name is Edson. We went to the SPAR (grocery chain) here. We went to the one that Bro. Spencer owns as he carries more items than most - things that white people would want. Sis. Spencer happened to be there doing her shopping and I ask her about the baby formula. She showed me which one we should buy and I told her I also wanted to take them some mealie meal (ground corn maize). Then she said that she would need oil and tomatoes and rape (a green vegetable), onions, vaseline for the baby, soap to wash the nappies (diapers) -- I looked at her and said, "she doesn't have any nappies - well she had a couple of pieces of cloth that were not at all absorbent). They didn't have any cloth nappies at the store but she put in a package of disposable diapers. She said we are putting this on Rob's account (her husband) along with her groceries!! Wow!! We weren't expecting that but this lady did get a lot more than what we could have given.

We put it into a couple of cardboard boxes (so the whole neighborhood wouldn't see) and parked close to her door and took it in to her. She was very happy, of course. We felt good about doing this as she really did have nothing. Some people here lie and put on quite a show to try and get something.

Oh yes! Jim got arrested today!! He went through an 'amber' light (the robot was actually working). The policeman took his licence and said he had to come with him and pay a fine. He only had to go a few steps outside the vehicle where the 'judge' is located with his clipboard. Jim told the judge that he was sorry and that we haven't been here very long and didn't mean to break the law (in Canada we can make a turn on an amber light). He also told him we are here doing charity work. So - luckily he didn't have to pay the fine (they didn't tell how much it would have been).

Yesterday we got stopped as well because we didn't have our seatbelts on. We do wear them - honest! Yesterday we were taking Pauline to the store to try and buy baby formula and for some reason neither one of us had put on our belts. I always wear mine because the traffic and roads here are so crazy!! Anyway, the policeman was nice and just told us to put them on and he let us go. We went through that police stop 2 more times after that and smiled and showed him we had our seat belts on. The last time - they must have been getting ready to quit because they ask which direction we were going - hoping they could get a ride with us! Elder Taylor was arrested once for something and they wanted him to do community service. He explained that he was already doing that here everyday for 18 months - they let him go.

That reminds me of something --- we thought we might need a locksmith to get a key off of our container. It would have cost $30 to have the guy come or if we picked him up it would only be $25. They don't have much transportation so that is what they do - interesting. We asked how they would get it off and they said they would use an angle grinder (couldn't make a new key for it). We ask around here to our physical facilities director and he had access to an angle grinder so they took it off for us. We need it off to open both doors of the container so we can load it IF our container from Salt Lake City ever gets here.

This morning we went to Enterprise and the Branch President and 1st Counselor took us about 25 km up into the hills where 10 of their families live. They wanted us to look at some land there that a lady has offered to let them plant (she will take a percentage). It is about 11 hectares (we think that is 110 acres). It was very nice up there and a nice spot of land but of course they want LDS Charities to provide the money for diesel, seed, fertilizer and sprays. I don't think we can do that but we will ask the brethren from South Africa when they come in a couple of weeks. It was a nice drive (except for some of the roads) and I took some good pictures.

The road to the field the Branch President wanted us to see

On the way to see the dam near Arcturas Gold Mine

The dam

A Good place for a meeting

They want help from LDS Charities to start a garden/farm project. There are a lot of issues - like getting water from the dam to the field, diesel for tractor they need to fix first, seeds, fertilizer,
spray, tools, etc. etc. Notice the bag of corn maize behind Elder Bullock: that is one of the
brothers contribution to the bishop for the storehouse!

This bridge was on the road back to Enterprise chapel. Sometimes we wonder if we dare use them - so far, so good!
Nice bridge - note the railing!

Pretty drive on the way back to Enterprise Chapel

Stay to the LEFT on this road!

Tall grass along roadway

Carrying wood on bicycles!

On our way back we saw a few kids and decided to stop and give each a hygiene kit. Suddenly kids appeared from everywhere so we opened the kits and gave each one a little.
Dividing up hygiene kits

A happy child with a towel and a toothbrush

This bus is really loaded!

Balanced rock

Selling goods along road. We see this everywhere here. This is how a lot of people make a few dollars.

At lunch time we were invited to go out with the Mission President and his wife, the AP's and Elder and Sister Taylor. We went to a nice enough place. I had chicken/mushroom crepe that was very good and Jim had Bream (fish) that was just so-so. The service was slow but they did get most of the orders right.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Hi, Just a quick note. We went back out and checked on the baby. Luckily we did find our way there. He is not doing well at all -- he is so small and he is starving to death. His mother thought he was dead this morning when she woke up - but he wasn't.

We realized that maybe she couldn't give him the milk we gave her because she didn't have a bottle; so we bought one and took it out. First of all I did ask if she had a bottle and she did so I kept the one I bought (maybe we will need it later). She made up some milk and he wanted to eat - he ate about 1 ounce. We didn't want to give him too much because he might vomit. He did keep it down. We took the mother and went to a grocery store to try and find some formula for the baby but the two stores we tried didn't have any. We took her back home and I told her she needed to take care of herself and drink and eat. We gave them a pack of that rice/lentil mix yesterday. She said she had eaten some. I told her to let the baby nurse first and then give him a little milk with the bottle - we need to get the mother's milk to produce. They can't afford formula but if the baby doesn't get some formula it will die. We have found out where there is some and will go get it and take it out to her tomorrow. I hope the baby makes it through the night. His legs and arms are so thin -he is 2 1/2 weeks old and probably hasn't had much nourishment. Pres. Nield's daughter got some baby vitamins in their last shipment so we will get a couple of bottles of that to take as well. Wish us luck! Maybe we will save this baby yet!

The area they live in is terribly poor and there are sooooo many children there. Wow! I just want to cry for them. Such poverty!

Sorry my report today isn't too positive. We will let you know how
our baby is tomorrow.

Love, The Bullocks

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Andrew! Hope it is a good one!

We had an eventful day. We met up with Tabeth, who is a widow and works with other widows to help children in need. She went with us to Cold Comfort Primary school where people were waiting for us. We gave out 1 ½ bars of soap to each family – probably about 50 families. We took a quick tour of the school. People were needy but not as bad as some we have seen.

Sister Bullock with Tabeth

Gave out soap at Cold Comfort Primary School

A girl with her sister holding soap that we gave out.

Last Friday a lady and her husband came to our office asking for help. They have a newborn baby that is sick (2 weeks old). We gave them some blankets, clothes for the baby, soap, and some powdered milk. We wanted to see where they live so Tabeth (who happened to be here Friday when they came) got their address and arranged that we would go there today to visit them. When we arrived there was quite a few people waiting for us – we hadn’t expected that. Luckily we had some soap left and we cut the bars in half and were able to give each family half a bar. I wish that we had given the first group less as this group was VERY needy. We must have had some divine help though because there was EXACTLY enough soap for the people that were there.
We had to cut the soap to have enough to go around

saying thank you for the soap

We saw the baby again and he isn’t looking too good. They had been to the hospital and they had given them some antibiotics for him. He wasn’t eating much – I’m not sure how much milk the mother had for him either. She was concerned about that. I really hope he doesn’t die. We had a package of special food (a rice/lentil dry mix fortified with a lot of vitamins) in the truck so I put it in my bag and took her to her house (so others wouldn’t see it) and gave it to her and explained how to mix it up and cook it. I told her that she needed to eat some so that she could have milk for the baby. She has 3 other children that look healthy – so she knows how to take care of a baby. I have attached a picture of her with her baby on the only bed in their 1 room place (about 10’ x 10’). I was glad we had given them blankets on Friday – they needed them. The kids sleep on the floor. They cook outside.
newborn baby - not doing so well

It is a sad area and I hope that we can go back there and do some more for those people. On our way driving out of the area we gave out 5 or 6 hygiene kits to other people we passed by. I love being able to do that – I just wish I’d had a lot more to give today.

After leaving there we saw the huge rocks that seem to balance on top of each other somehow. It is amazing. Tabeth said that there was a huge boulder in Mutare that fell off once when there was a bit of an earth tremor and it rolled down and destroyed several homes. I’m surprised more don’t fall. It makes one wonder how they ended up like that in the first place.
Why don't these rocks topple over?

more rocks that look like they should fall

uh oh - the bus quit - that happens a lot

a lady spins wool, dyes it and makes rugs

Panashe Chapuruka's baptism day - Sunday, April 19, 2009

Panashe and Elder Bullock before baptism

Elder Bullock, Panshe and his mom, Sister Tadokera

Sunday at the baptism there was also a dad that baptized his wife and 3 daughters. That was pretty special for him.

My turn to give the home evening lesson so I had better get busy preparing something!

Love, Sister Bullock