Today we were invited to attend a Thanks Giving Day Program at the St. Charles Mavhudzi Secondary School in the Goromonzi North District (about 60 km. Northeast of Harare). Elder and Sister Hobbs did an initiative there in about 2006 where LDS Charities donated desks and benches, textbooks, exercise books and ball point pens. It is a school out in the rural area with about 450 students. We, as representatives of LDSC, were treated royally. We were seated in the comfortable chairs in the center of the head table along with The Honorable MP of the district – outside under some trees. I will quote a paragraph from the program:
"Belatedly, this day’s programme is a babe of the Honourable MP, P. Zhanda, in which the school admittedly had shelved due to immeasurable challenges bedevilled by lack of resources – is on with much happiness. On this day I feel honoured to gratefully enunciate our inexpressible appreciation to our distinquished guests in their beneficient manner in which they have chosen to stand alongside our needy community."We visited with the MP, Mr. Zhanda, and really like the man. The people love him and he seems to really care about them. He is a successful businessman in the area. He has a daughter going to university in Missouri (his wife was there visiting her). His sons have been to school in Australia and England. We would like to try and work with him some more for this community.
They are hoping we can help them get a grinding mill at a school there – where people can pay a little to grind their maize and the proceeds will go towards helping with exercise books and school feels for the children. We are going to write up an initiative and see if SA will approve it.
Their only equipment for their science lab
Broken school windows - typical
Broken school windows - typical
Most schools here have broken windows -- I guess it doesn't get socold that it is a huge problem!!
There was singing, dancing, poetry and a little drama to entertain us. Due to the MP arriving about 2 ½ hours late they did a lot of extra singing and dancing for us. We did really enjoy the day – we arrived at 9 a.m. and left about 3:30 (just in time to get back home by dark). After the program and speeches (one by Elder Bullock that they hadn’t warned him about ahead of time) there was a huge spread of food (paid for by the MP). They had rice, potato salad, coleslaw, chicken and some beef dish. It looked very good but we did not eat as one of our mission rules is to only eat what we prepare or at established restaurants. We had told them ahead of time that we couldn’t eat there and why (due to the cholera problems in the recent past we are very careful). I think it would have been okay but we didn’t want to chance it.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Yesterday we took a “preparation day”. We will try and do that more often as we do need a break now and then. We went grocery shopping – made the rounds to our fruit and veggie market, The Cheeseman – where we get cheese, some frozen fish and chicken, yogurt and we got some real cream this time. Later we drove out to Epworth to take a pair of shoes to Panashe, an 11 year old boy with size 12 feet! We didn’t have a pair that would fit him when we were there earlier in the week. He was very happy to get them – he threw his arms around Elder Bullock and gave him a big hug and said thank you, papa! (They do call us mama and papa a lot here).
They are starting a new branch of the church in Epworth (at a school) next week. We will try and go as we have had a lot to do with some people in that district lately. It is a high density suburb of Harare where a lot of needy people live. We attended the adult session of the Highland Stake Conference at 4:00 p.m. When we arrived home the power was off AGAIN! It came back on about 10:00 p.m.
This morning we attended the stake conference. It was very good and they had an excellent choir of about 140 people. Elder Taylor played the organ (keyboard) that they hooked up to the sound system and it sounded terrific. Sharon Spencer led the choir and we decided it was the Mormon tabernacle choir of Harare. It sounded great. They held the conference in the ZANU PF headquarter hall – had to do a ton of cleaning and fixing of the building to make it ‘conference worthy’. There were about 1000 in attendance. We sat beside some guests that Pres. Nield had invited – a lady that is the director Of ZACH (Zimbabwe Association of Church related Hospitals). She seemed to enjoy the conference. We, as LDS Charities, do a lot for ZACH, along with Pres. Nield. There was also a fellow there that was a director at a hospital. The talks were good – they have some good strong leaders here.
Mom – when they have the mission president training this month you could look up Pres. Dube – our new mission president. He is from here and is presently a counselor to Pres. Bester and also has been the head of CES here. I think he will be a good mission president. He already has some plans to help bring the church out of obscurity.
We came home and made some cream of broccoli soup for lunch – it was really good. We will go send off this email at the Mission office now with a few pictures and check for emails from our family.
Love, Sister Bullock