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


  1. Not sure why, but several pictures are not coming through on my browser at least. Most are great, but a lot sound interesting, but cannot be pulled up. If I try to link to a missing picture, it tells me it is "blocked"

  2. Leigh, I'm not sure why that would be happening - they all show up on my end.

    Mom and Dad, you're both so tan! It looks like the tour was very cool and that you had a good time. The pictures of the gardens and you guys at the hotel are so nice!