Friday, April 3, 2009

Dear friends and family,

I am breaking with the tradition of having Nancy do the writing. I doubt that it will be the quality of her letters, but I can’t just sit back while she does all the writing.

We are a day away from being on our mission for two months, and 5 days from being in Zimbabwe for 1 month. There has been an awful lot happen in our lives in those two months. It seems like a blur it has all happened so fast. From entering the Mission Training Center, to possible cancer, to biopsy operation, to clean bill of health, to get on the plane and get over there, to two weeks of being driven and driving to places, not having a clue where we were, to being on our own with the departure of the Turners, to going into the deep rural of the areas around Harare, and seeing such poverty in the city, that it is hard to imagine.

There is need everywhere you turn, and people asking for assistance all day long. There are pastors, reverends, bishops, orphanage directors, school directors, hospitals, and individuals all needing help of some kind or another. We need to work out of our home often to avoid the onslaught at the mission office. If we didn’t we would never get anything done. We try to be at the office on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to meet with, and talk to those who walk in off the
street. That way the secretary can tell them a day to come in and see us.

We are learning how to get from one place to the next by the main roads. I am still twisted in my directions, but know where to turn by landmarks. It is not like being in relatively organized streets in Calgary, and there does not seem to be any traffic rules, here. Those fine officers in Calgary would have a field day writing tickets. The trouble would be that most of the traffic lights do not work fully. There might be one light for northbound that works, but all the southbound lights do not. You have to look and see which direction cars are stopped, and which way they are moving, and even then proceed with extreme caution. If you are stopped by the police, one of the
officers is designated as the “judge”. It is easy to tell which one is the judge, because he is the one carrying the clip board. Fines are determined on the spot, and you have to pay right now. Fortunately, we have not had the pleasure, yet. The fact that the lights do not work has little bearing on the on the facts in issue.

When we submitted the paper work for our mission, we used my Canadian Passport on all the documentation. As we left the training center, they told us to use my U.S. passport to enter Zimbabwe, because it was much cheaper for the visa. However, it caused a big problem when it
came time to get my passport stamped for the Temporary Employment Permit (TEP), because I was supposed to be Canadian. It was going to be a one hundred fine! They finally agreed that it was an honest mistake, waived the fine, and stamped my Canadian Passport, allowing me to stay, and not have to leave and re-enter. We got the final word on that today, so it was quite a relief. Tomorrow Nancy should get her passport stamped. Our TEP’s are good for one year from time of
entry, so we will need to apply for an extension as we near that one year mark.

We continue to struggle with water shortages. I think I have had two showers since we arrived. We are getting pretty fast with sponge baths. We heat the water on the stove, pour it into the bathroom sink, add a little cold water, and voila, clean as a whistle. I had my first hair cut today. I was getting a little scraggly, and finally persuaded Nancy to cut it. We found a good set of clippers
when we moved into the flat. No sense taking that weight when you leave to go home.

I suppose there is more to say, but it is getting late. We have been trying to go out and walk for 30-45 minutes in the morning, at 6:00. We have a meeting with the bishop of the Highlands Ward at 7:45 in the morning. He is helping us with the cost, and amounts of fertilizer needed for the gardens around the church buildings. We want to try to stock-pile some for the next planting season.

Better run. Love you all!
Elder and Sister Bullock

1 comment: