Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Our day is winding down and it has been a good one! We attended meetings at the Highlands ward and Elder Bullock confirmed Dzikamai. Merci gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting and did a wonderful job. You would never know she was a recent convert. Malaika (her 5 yr. old daughter) sat with us and so did Seka and of course, Dzikamai. As I sat there I thought, "Here we are sitting together with our Africa family" because they feel like our family. These are the ones we will miss the most when we leave here.

Dzikamai was looking really happy and feeling great. His countenance has really changed since the first day we met him. He wants to prepare himself to serve a mission in a year. When he was in Boston he met a black girl there from Tucson, AZ and she took him to church a few times and she is now serving a mission in Washington DC. She will be excited to hear that he was baptized.

We left there early and drove to the Kwadzana Branch at the West end of Harare. We were to meet Answer and Mary and their two little boys there. Answer didn't come as he had to go visit his ill sister in Norton, but Mary came with the boys. We attended all the meetings there with her and Honest, the 6 yr. old liked primary and Trust the 2 yr. old slept most of the time. It was good. We went on Saturday with Elders Law and Crosley while they taught them and will go again next Saturday. Mary met a lady at church today who lives close to them so we are hoping they can become friends.

Anyway -- it was a great day!! Makes being here in Zimbabwe all worth it!!!! :)

I'm sure there is more to write but my mind is blank at the moment so --

Here are some pictures from the last little while.

26 Jan 2010 - Marondera group that gave us a tour of possible borehole sites and then took us to lunch (chicken and chips)

26 Jan 2010 - Books LDSC donated to this library a few years ago in Marondera

26 Jan 2010 - Elder Bullock and librarian in Marondera

26 Jan 2010 - 012 Giving newborn kit to brand new mother and baby

26 Jan 2010 - I liked the opening and closing times on this sign - funny

27 Jan 2010 - Gave quilts to these two ladies - They gave me us a tea set

27 Jan 2010 - Merci

28 Jan 2010 - Beauty (our housekeeper & she does our laundry). She came in a new outfit today (cute!)

30 Jan 2010 - Bullocks with Dzikamai

30 Jan 2010 - Elder Bullock & Dzikamai

30 Jan 2010 - Dzikamai & Seka

Love to our family and friends, Elder and Sister Bullock

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday morning

We had a good weekend. Jim had meetings with the Coordinating Council on Friday night and early Saturday morning. All the District and Stake Presidents were here for training from Elder Renlund and Elder Bricknell from SA. I know I always say this but there are some wonderful leaders here and it is always nice to see them together.

While Jim was at meetings on Sat. morning I went and stocked up on fruit and vegetables at FAVCO. It is a warehouse that supplies a lot of the stores with their produce. They had just gotten a shipment from South Africa and she ask if I wanted a box of grapes for $10. That is a really good deal because grapes have been selling in the stores for about $12 or more a kg. We won't pay that much. I bought some gem squash and apples as well and also some macadamia nuts that they often have there.

I went by and saw Merci too and she was trying to convince me that we should sell our house in Canada and move here. I said "but what about our children and grandchildren?" She figures they should just fly here and visit us. I told her it would be cheaper for her to fly to visit us. I don't know if she ever will but it would be nice. Maybe her business will do well and she can afford to one day.

Yesterday we went to two different Sacrament Meetings here in Harare. We had Answer and Mary, some investigators, that were suppose to come to one meeting but we got a text message that they couldn't make it. We were really hoping they would be there. We had been to their home on Saturday and reveiwed with them the 1st discussion. They said they had to go out of town so we will see what happened.

Afterwards we stopped by to see Dzikamai. He said he has now had a strong confirmation of the truthfullness of the gospel and he excited about his baptism this coming Saturday. His cousin/good family friend/brother, Wayne was there too. He is 18 yrs. old. He seemed interested and so Elder Bullock explained the Book of Mormon etc. and gave him a copy and the pamphlet of the Restoration. He is a really nice young man.

Dzikamai is doing well and seems much more positive about life. He is talking that perhaps he would like to prepare for a mission next year. He turns 26 in June so I don't know if that makes him too old to go but it would sure be good for him. He can't go, of course, until he has been a member for a year.

Seka had a job interview on Friday and he felt really good about it. He should hear today or tomorrow and we are sure hoping he gets it so he can stay in Harare near the church.

We are still playing squash. Elder Bullock has to be careful and not get too competitive so that he doesn't hurt his back while playing. Merci came and played Friday and Saturday mornings and was REALLY feeling stiff and sore afterwards. I guess she is using new muscles - but she is doing pretty good at it. She didn't show this morning so maybe she is still sore. :)

We are doing fine. As promised, our family is being blessed while we serve!! We are grateful for that. Good things are happening for them.

Love to all, Elder and Sister Bullock

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010


We went to Muzarabani on Wednesday and took Seka with us as that is the area that he lived. Upper Muzarabani is quite lush and green and gets more rain than Lower Muzarabani (on the other side of the mountain). We found once we crossed to the other side it was dry and the crops were not doing well at all. The maize was small and wilted and they are afraid that it is too late, even if rain starts to come now. We had a great day yesterday on our trip and really hope we can do a water project up there. They could sure use it.

Beautiful drive to Muzarabani through the mountains

More landscape

On our way to Muzarabani

At the top of the mountain pass. This was absolutely beautiful from up here.

Down in the valley

Tools for patching the road

Roasting ground nuts (peanuts) for peanut butter. This lady gave me handful of nuts - they were hot and yummy. Her husband was shelling them and she was roasting. She said they were for making peanut butter. They love their peanut butter here.
Muzarabani Primary School

SDC (School Development Committee) Meeting. There was a meeting going on when we arrived.

More attendees at the meeting

Students at Muzarabani Primary School

Elder Bullock teaching them a song

Nice Flamboyant Tree (huge!)

Members of community we met with at Lower Muzarabani
Pastor Mhike had arranged a meeting with the village council, police, etc. etc. We talked about possibly doing boreholes for them. They had a list of 70 spots where they need them - with 32 locations that would be priorities (schools and clinics). It is a dry area about 210 km. north of here. We did see more poverty there and lots of children and adults dressed in rags. We took some T-shirts and gave them all out and could have given dozens more. This area is away from the church's centre of strength but I hope they will consider doing boreholes for them. I think they will - at least I sure hope so. I feel really good about helping these people and we were impressed with them.

Mom and baby waiting outside clinic in a cart.

Seka and his mother at her place.
Seka took us to meet his mother and sister. He hadn't seen her since August and when he met her he shook her hand. I ask him if he wasn't going to give her a hug and he said that is not done in their culture. I ask if I could take a picture of him with his mother and so he went and stood beside her. I suggested he put his arm around her but..... - not done in their culture. I suggested he ask her if it would be okay. He did and I could tell from the look on her face that it was not. She didn't speak any English.
At Seka's mother's roundeval (hut) - We gave out shirts, hygiene kits, coloring books and crayons. We started giving out a few things to a few people and pretty soon we had quite a few. They all got something and were pretty happy. We gave Seka 2 quilts - one for his mother and one for his sister. We didn't have enough for everyone.

Sign at school office

Pastor Mhike, Seka, and Elder Bullock in Muzarabani

Beautiful landscape of upper Muzarabani

Today we went a different direction to Danangwe School to talk to them about the grinding mill that was approved for them. We went into Chegutu and met with the ZESA (electricity) people and took them out to see the site, only to find out that the transformer there is not big enough to support the grinding mill. So now...???

Tomorrow afternoon for a couple of hours we will take Elder and Sister Renlund, from the area presidency, out and show them a couple of our projects. That will be good for them to see some of the things they approved for us and we can talk to them about the problem we discovered today.

We do have a couple of ideas but we may need to apply for some more budget for the project to make it happen.

Must run as Jim is waiting for me. Sounds like there is some thunder out there so perhaps someone is getting a little rain. I hope so. Everyone is so concerned about drought here. The rivers are low and some we saw yesterday in Muzarabani are bone dry and they should be flowing!!

Love to everyone. We would love to get some emails. Elder and Sister Bullock

Monday, January 18, 2010

January 17, 2010 Sunday night

We are home at our flat and there has been no electricity here for more than 24 hours. We are hoping it comes on soon so we don’t lose any food in the fridge. We did turn on our generator for about 1 ½ hrs. this evening to cook supper and let the fridge cool off some. We do keep jugs of ice all the time and put them into the fridge when the power goes off. We went to Masvingo yesterday morning and just got back about 5 p.m. today. We had a nice time there today at their meetings. The branch president has shuffled people around in the branch and there are new Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary presidencies. My friend Elizabeth is the new R. S. President and will do a great job. Change is good!!

Saturday about 5 p.m. we decided to go for a drive up passed the Inn where we stay. There is a dam up there not far that we can see from the Inn. It is quite the sight but I left the camera behind and got no pictures. We drove over the dam and a fair ways up the road on the other side. It is beautiful up there. When we left Harare yesterday morning we put in several hygiene kits, T-shirts, a few stuffed animals and 1 soccer ball (a really nice soccer ball that Reeve Nield gave us to give away). As we drove along we stopped and gave Tshirts to some kids that looked like they could really use one. Some kids were scared of us and would just run away – too bad. We gave hygiene kits to the moms we saw working in their fields/gardens or walking along the road. They are all so appreciative. BUT the best give-away was the soccer ball!! We saw two boys about 12 yrs. old walking along the road and I asked Elder Bullock to stop and go back. We asked if they were brothers and they said they were so we handed them the soccer ball. Well, my goodness!! – you should have seen them!!! I have never seen anybody so excited. It was so fun! It made tears come to my eyes to see their joy and excitement. As we drove away they took off as fast as they could towards their home with their ball.

Some kids we gave T-shirts to on our way to the Inn on Great Zimbabwe

More of the group. They appear to really need the shirts, don't you think?

Nice clear view from the Inn on Great Zimbabwe

This past Tuesday the new school term started here for the kids. They go for about 3 months and then have one month off (3 terms per year). Zimbabwe really had a good school system in the past but with all the troubles here schools have suffered. A lot of kids don’t go to school because they can’t afford the fees. While we were driving yesterday there were 3 or 4 kids that came to the truck window asking for school fees because they really want to go to school badly. Anyway – Tuesday morning as we were driving down the road from the office to an appointment we saw Panashe (our 11 year old boy who was recently baptized). We pulled over and ask what he was doing and he said he was coming to see us. I ask why he was not at school and he said he couldn’t go because he didn’t have the school fees ($30). Big tears started running down his cheeks even though he was trying really hard not to cry. His mom had told us that his uncle was going to pay his fees but Panashe said that he wouldn’t but that he did agree to pay for his school uniform. Panashe had left home before day break and had walked to our office which had taken him about 5 hours (it takes us a good half hour to drive to his home). We had him stay and work in the garden by the office until we got back from our appointment and then we brought him some food and took him home. We paid the $30 school fees for him (my friend Ruth had ask before Christmas if she could send money to help someone). We explained to him where the money had come from. He was one happy boy!! He knows how important it is to stay in school and wants it so badly.

Wednesday we had Zone conference and we had Elder and Sister Renlund from the area presidency here. They are going on the zone tour with Pres. and Sister Dube as they tour the mission (as they do every six weeks). We had a great conference and supper with all the missionaries.14 Jan 2010 - Girl bringing maize to the new grinding mill at Kadyamadare School

14 Jan 2010 - Waiting for maize to get ground. 3 came with maize while we were there. That is great!

Then on Thursday night Pres. Dube took we three couples out to supper with the Renlunds. We had a really nice visit. Elder Renlund has had a lot to do with the young people (YSA) in the church and has done of thinking and research in that area. He said it seems like as these young people are dating and looking for a spouse that generally they know fairly quickly when they meet the ‘right’ one and so it is important to have activities and regional get-togethers so that they can mingle and meet. He talked about keeping them active and getting them back into activity. He referred to Moroni chapter 6 where it talks about how we need to 1) number them, 2) name them 3) know them, and 4) gather them. We need to realize that “It is NOT all about me” and teach that to our young people. We don’t go to church and to activities just for ourselves, but we should go to fellowship and help others. If we can teach this and assign these young people to go and friendship someone it will help those who are shy or reserved to reach out to others and have a purpose. It brings them out of their shells and suddenly we start seeing results.

On Friday we met with the sister missionaries as they gave a discussion to the Dzikamai. He has a baptismal date for Jan. 29th. He is feeling a little unsure as he thinks he needs to know ‘everything’ before he is baptized but we explained that baptism is just a start and there is a lifetime of learning ahead. He is doing well and we can see him feeling more positive about life. He has been kind of depressed, knowing that he blew the chance of a lifetime when he didn’t finish school at MIT in Boston. He had a breakdown while there and had to come back. He lost both his parents when he was 17 and still grieves over that loss. He’s had a hard time. He is 25 yrs. old. I told him that he is still young and shouldn’t give up on his dreams. When he came to church two Sundays ago he showed up clean shaven and looking really sharp so we could tell he is feeling better about life. I don’t know if there is any way he could go back to school or how he managed to get to MIT in the first place or who sponsored and paid for him to go. He must be a pretty smart guy to have been given the opportunity.

Monday morning: Still no electricity at the flat!! We ran the generator again for a while this a.m. It usually isn’t off this long so hopefully it will come back on today. It did rain a little on the weekend in some places. The country is in desperate need of a lot of rain. Usually they get a lot in December and January but have not received much this year and there is a lot of concern. They need it for the wilting maize and to fill up the wells. One community member in Goromonzi said that the government should call for a day of prayer. We suggested that they could do that in their own community and fast at the same time and perhaps the Lord would send rain to their area.

I better get this sent off as I haven’t written for a week or so. Love to all. Elder and Sister Bullock

Monday, January 11, 2010

Letter for the kids

Hi, I found this letter in some papers in the cupboard at the flat that was written by a previous missionary grandma to her grandchildren in 2004. I thought it was a good description of life here in Zimbabwe so I am passing it along.

Dear Grandchildren,
Come with me on an imaginary trip. Pretend you were born in Africa to wonderful black parents. But first, make a list of all the blessings you can think of because you were born in the great free land of America.

May 2004 - Zimbabwe, Africa

Many of you would be orphans. HIV/AIDS is taking a devastating toll on the people of Africa. Many fathers die young from many illnesses because of the weak immune system caused by AIDS they contracted because of their unrighteous life style. By the time he is dying of AIDS he has infected his wife, and if she is expecting a child, the baby is born with HIV/AIDS. Africa has many children with AIDS, most of them orphans. When a husband/father dies, his family can come in and take the home and everything the family owns (that the father provided). This is because of the Tribal tradition of Labola, the buying of a wife which the husband thinks he owns because he bought her. Many women are treated as chattel.

Many of you in the rural area live in a Roundavel, a round home made of stick walls or home-made bricks with a thatched roof and dirt floor, which your mother has made hard and shiny by soaking cow dung in water to the consistency of thick cream and spread it all over the floor which, when dry, is very hard with an earthy smell and can be swept with a broom made of the branches and leaves of bushes. You have no electricity. Usually there are three buildings grouped together. One for sleeping, one for cooking (or cooking is just done outside on a wood campfire) and one for a living room plus there is a small outhouse.

Some of you may live in a home a little better than a Roundavel. If there is electricity to the house, you still don't have use of it because your parents can't afford to pay the electric bill. With over 70% (now about 80 - 85%) unemployment your parents don't have a job! You have no TV, no computer, no phone and no hot water. You may not even have water in the house and you have to go to the 'borehole" (well) to get all the water you use each day. If you live in one of the villages, you may not even have a borehole, so you use surface water. In the rainy season, this becomes contaminated, and for some reason you have never been taught to boil this water before using it so you contract cholera, which can take your life. Your mother washes all your clothes in a tub or bucket. You use a bucket to wash yourselves and you are always very clean! Your entire family may live in one room of the house, with other families living in the other rooms of the same house. We have seen as many as 7 people all living in one 8 x 10 room. You sleep on the floor and may not even have a blanket and in the winter months you are always cold.

In the rainy season, the mosquitoes are bad, and in some areas carry malaria, which can take your life. The rainy season is a favorite time of the year because of all the bugs that arrive - it is now feast time! YES, you eat bugs. The rains come in the summer months of November through January, so Christmas is in the summer.

You have no toys, except the ones you make yourself. A favorite toy is a ball made of a plastic bag stuffed with paper or plastic, then wrapped with string to form a round circle. Another toy is made from wire and odds and ends to make a car with wheels that turn.

You don't have an automobile so you walk everywhere you go. Some people here in Harare walk three hours to get to the chapel for church every Sunday, many of them bare footed. The people in Zimbabwe are very religious and love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and are very happy to belong to the true church.

You love to sing and have beautiful voices. Many of you are very artistic and carve wonderful items out of wood or stone.

Many of you can no longer go to school because the government has raised school fees so high that you have to drop out. If you are able to go to school, you have to wear school uniforms. Everyone in your school wears exactly the same clothes as everyone else. The clothes you wear at home are very ragged but most are always washed and very clean.

Your favorite food is sadza, made from ground maize (corn) and cooked very thick. This you would eat three times a day if you had enough but usually you only have enough for one meal a day so you are always hungry. You eat your sadza with your fingers, forming a scoop shape that you can dip into a sauce that your mother has made out of any vegetables you are able to grow. Some people in the villages own cattle, so you sometimes have meat with your sadza.

All people in Zimbabwe are not poor. We see many Africans well dressed, driving expensive cars. We think that the people are divided into two classes, the very rich and the very poor. Even with all the poverty here the people are very happy. Most of the poor are kind to each other and try to help each other through all the hard times they are experiencing.

We love our mission and have learned to love so many of the beautiful people here. We will never be the same! We know that as Americans we are very spoiled!! We have much too much when so many in the world have next to nothing.

Now, please go back to the list you made (I hope you made one) and see how much you can add to it!!

Love, Grandma

That was written in 2004 but it is the same today in 2010.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday Jan. 9th

We went out with the Precision Grinding people to finish off the mills yesterday. They did get one fixed and then we had to sit and wait for about an hour for the power to come on so that they could test it. Luckily the power did come on without waiting too long. We then went back to the other mill and tested it but there is a problem so they took a part back to the shop and we will take them out again on Monday and with any luck that mill will be running as well. I took an armful of T-shirts with me and handed some out along the dirt road between the mills. That was fun to do – I think the guys in the back seat were enjoying it as much as the recipients. I gave some more out to some kids that live near the mill and they were thrilled. We had Seka with us for the day and he seemed to enjoy it. (we didn’t know we were going to be gone all day – thought we’d be done by noon). During the day, as we had some ‘waiting’ time, Jim (& Seka) taught the guy from Precision Grinders the first discussion and he seemed to be pretty keen about it. He is the same one I talked about in Thursday's letter who is getting married in April.

Today we also spent time with Seka and met his very good friend, January Williams, from Bindura. He is a policeman there. Seka has been talking to him about the church and he is eager to learn more as he has been to church there twice now. He was asking for literature. He had some things to do but may be calling and coming by our office today to talk. We were just talking and saying that perhaps we will drive to Bindura (about an hr. away) and meet up with him and introduce him to a branch missionary couple there. January came to Harare to talk to Seka as he is worried about him. Seka needs a job and was considering taking one that is 350 km. away where there is no LDS church. January told Seka that he should not do that after the progress that he has made with being baptized and all and he wants Seka to stay here where he can learn more and help his friends learn. Seka has 3 friends that are trying to move here so that they can be taught and they are all asking him not to go. We also suggested that it was a better idea to stay here so that he can progress. Seka did say that he thinks the job is just a temptation from the adversary to take him away from where the church is. Seka will be a great leader one day and he is going to bring a lot of people to the gospel. He really has become like a son to us!

We stopped by and saw Merci today and she is doing great. She is definitely like a daughter to us, as well, and Malayka like a granddaughter. This is the nice part of being here – the great people we are meeting! It is just too bad that it is so far from home!

Maize grinder at Rutope School that we refurbished and put new motor on.

New Dehuller at Rutope School

Elder Bullock with Rutope School Development Committee Chairman

Kids in their new t-shirts

Working on mill at Kadyamadare School (the guy in the center of photo is Isaac

Cute kids

This little guy was afraid of us 'white' people

Gave mom and little guy a t-shirt (no the one she has one).

Tomorrow we are off to Kadoma for church meetings. All is well.
Love from The Bullocks

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010

We have had our challenges this week with getting the two mill operations set up at the schools. With any luck we will have things working tomorrow when we take the guys from Precision Grinders back out. The school where we put the new motor for their mill has had troubles because their mill needed some refurbishing which we weren’t planning on. Luckily we did put extra money in the project budget and we will be okay. If we had realized we could have brought the mill into the shop in Harare and had them do the work here. O well – it is getting done but just taking longer than we thought. The new mill that we put at Kadyamadare School keeps flipping the breaker, even after we changed the breaker because they said we bought a bad quality one that was made in China. The electrician from Precision says he can fix the problem tomorrow so we will cross our fingers. If he can’t we may have to have them put in a smaller size grinder with a smaller motor.

This morning we went to a meeting out at the Reimer Clinic (Chifumbi is the actual name of the clinic). There were only 2 that showed up for the meeting but it was good and they have been doing what they need to do to get ready for the transformers and borehole repairs. When we got there the nurse said that they were having a new baby and ask if I wanted to come in. I did but found that the baby was already born a while ago. The mother was being brought in on a tractor and had the baby on the way. The nurse laughed and said all the bouncing on the tractor wouldn’t have helped much.

We enjoy our drives out into the rurals these days as everything is lush and green and beautiful. The crops (maize, soy beans, tobacco, tomatoes, etc.) are growing nicely. They grow a lot of peanuts here too but they call them ground nuts. We found out that when they are in the shell they are called ground nuts but once they are shelled they are peanuts. They make a lot of peanut butter here too and it is used a lot in their cooking – peanut butter chicken, peanut butter spinach, peanut butter soup, etc. etc. etc.

Leechies (not sure how to spell it) are a fruit that is in season right now. They are about the size of a big walnut. They have a thin peel that comes off pretty easy. The fruit is white and there is a pit in the middle. We think they are really good. They also make juice out of them and that is one of my favourites. Mangos are also in season and they are really good too. There are lots of trees producing right now – most of what we see are the smaller fruit, which isn’t as good as the bigger ones because it is ‘stringier’. We bought some big mangos yesterday from a street vendor (at a red light). He ask for $6 and I offered $5 and he took it. Earlier in the day a vendor had approached us by the bank and wanted $10 and would only come down to $9 but I said ‘no’ it was too much which obviously was true as I got a lot better deal from the other guy. We have to be careful as they will be happy to rip us off, especially when they see white people driving a nice truck and think we are rich.

When we drove the guy (Issac) from Precision Grinders out to the schools again and he was telling us that he got married a week past one – which means two weeks ago. They had their ‘labola’ wedding where he has to pay so much to her parents or family. He is 27 and has a pretty special girl who he says was not easy to get. He said, “She loves her husband” and he said that he really loves her. She works at a hospital here in Harare and is a biological scientist. He had to pay $3800 labola (which is a lot here) plus he has to buy the food for the wedding which will cost about $700 - $1000. He then told us that he had it all and on Oct. 28 someone broke in and stole $2000 and most of his clothes, groceries and blankets. I ask what he did and he said that his wife helped him and they were working together to get the money. Once the labola is all paid then they can have a civil wedding. The civil wedding will take place in April and he ask if we wanted to come. Perhaps we will. He is a really nice young man. Lots of people here never have the civil wedding but the labola wedding is recognized. If members want to go to the temple though they must be legally married.

The power just went out here at the flat so the computer is working on battery power. Jim was just going to put a movie in the dvd player so I guess he is out of luck. We will play a game or read by candle light and then go to bed early.

Here are a few more pictures from Sister Mayfield of our walk with the Lions at Christmas time.

Nancy with the lions
Nancy with the lions

Jim petting the lion

And some other pictures you might find interesting:
Another 'toilet' sign at Precision Grinders -- no toilet paper, but I always keep a little supply with me.

Dehuller for Rutope School