April 4th, Saturday Happy Birthday to Joshua today!!!
We got up this a.m. and actually had some hot water & water pressure so Jim had a shower and I had a nice soak in the tub. It was great! The tubs here are kind of nice – they are longer than ours at home – the inside must measure about 5 ft. Because when I lay back I barely touch the end with my toes.
At 8:30 we went with Taylors to the “Cheeseman” a good place to buy cheese, yogurt and a few other groceries and meat/fish. If you want yogurt you must take your own container and they will fill it for you. Taylors bought some raspberry and mixed fruit flavours and she gave me a taste – it isn’t bad at all. Perhaps we will try some next time – if we remember to take a container! We bought some fish to fry – Tilapia (good), cheddar cheese, and a couple other things. There was a Rhodesian lady (white-Zimbabwean) there and we ask her about a couple of things and she was quite helpful. She recommended a couple of things to try. After that Jim and I went to Favco, a store for fruit and vegetables – kind of a hole in the wall place, but their stuff is a good price. They supply to some of the stores. There was no power on there – Taylors had warned us (as they went at 7:30 a.m.) so we took our flashlight as it is rather dark in there. Our splurge there was some macadamia nuts that were $.50/pkgs – so we bought 8 of them. We also bought some fresh green beans ($.80/pint), Cabbage ($.50), lettuce ($.90), really nice tasting apples ($1.00/kg.), 2 lemons ($.19) and some Naatijies (like Japanese mandarins – quite good) ($.70/kg). Our total bill was $9.00 (including the macadamia nuts). Not bad really. We eat a lot of cabbage salads here (coleslaw) as cabbage is cheap – it is a staple food here. Lettuce is not very good – I did plant some in my little garden spot so I will see how it does.
We then went with Taylors to downtown Harare to check out some fabric stores. We were the only white people to be seen but it really didn’t bother us. The fabric stores were quite busy really and there were quite a few of them. We went to 5 or 6 as Sis. Taylor was looking for a particular type for a project. We went to a shirt store – the guy makes them and does nice embroidery work on the front around the neck and part way down the front. I bought one for myself for $10. If I wash it and it shrinks – then I guess I will have to lose weight!! Sis. Taylor was looking for fabric so she could tell the fellow what she wanted – and he would go buy it and make shirts for her to take home to her family.
We will watch general conference here, starting tonight. The first satellite dish was just installed this past week – the first ever in a stake centre here in Zimbabwe. Tonight at 6:00 we get the Saturday morning session. Sunday at 11:00 a.m. is the priesthood session, 2:00 p.m. is the Sat afternoon session, 6:00 – Sunday a.m. session, and 10:00 p.m. – Sunday p.m. session. I don’t think we will see the last one as we don’t really want to be driving the streets here at midnight to get home. It will be interesting to see the turnout – it wasn’t advertised well as wards/branches were not notified about it until a couple of days ago. I suspect the ones that know will want to be there – some of these people walk up to 22 km to come to church. We are usually the only car in the parking lot when we attend the branches that we are assigned to work with (Kadoma & Marondera). People here just don’t have cars for the most part. We aren’t allowed to give rides in our mission vehicles – for insurance purposes. When we have a pastor take us to his orphanage, etc then he has to sign a release form. If we did give rides we would be doing nothing else. People are always along the roads waving their hand – asking for a ride. The combies (small white vans that are like a bus/taxi) drive around and pick people up – I think it costs $1.00) – they just keep packing people in. Today we saw one where the front passenger had someone on his lap and there were 3 guys hanging out the side door; just holding on for dear life. A 7 passenger van holds about 20 plus people. If they have a truck (usually a small one) they just pack the people into the back of it and it can get pretty full too – rain or shine. Beauty, our housekeeper said that sometimes she and her husband can pay only 2/$100. Of course, people are not usually on time for things because of the transportation problem.
Zimbabwe is adapting to using the U.S. dollar but cash isn’t plentiful. Some people who have jobs might get paid by voucher as there is no cash and then they can’t cash the voucher anyway. We hear of lot who are working and not getting paid anything – just hoping to get it sometime. There is no coin used – it just isn’t available - so we have to try and get our order to come as close to an even dollar as we can. Two of the grocery stores we go to give a voucher with the amount of the change on it and we can use it next time at their store. It is time-consuming for the clerks to write out vouchers. At the store this morning they just keep a couple of apples or onions, etc. by the register and if you need to even off the dollar you can buy one or two more things.
We are heading over to the mission office to check emails before conference and Taylors want to Skype their family. We will try and Skype too but no one is hardly ever on. We are now 8 hours ahead of you. Our kids need to get signed up for it!!!!!! We often get to chat on gmail with Pam, Kim and my friend, Ruth – that is always nice. Sign up for gmail and we can chat with you too!!! We are trying to upgrade our skype – it is suppose to give us a better picture and sound but it takes forever to download it here. We will leave it overnight soon and that should work for us.
Have a great weekend watching conference – I hear that Mike and Janeal are at Pam and Jared’s. Have a good time!!
Love, The Bullocks