Happy New Year to all! We hope it is a good year for Zimbabwe and things can get better here for the people. There is concern about the lack of enough rain. They say that a lot of rain should have come in December and it didn’t. The rivers should be flowing by now and they aren’t. Some wells are low.
The zone leaders in Mutare put together a good meeting at the Holiday Inn for the ministers and pastors of other churches. There were over 30 in attendance plus about 10 of us. We explained about LDS Charities and what we do and have done in Mutare and of course, that brought a lot of enquiries afterwards. Pres. Chadambuka, the District President, the elders, and Pres. Dube, the mission president all gave short speeches about the church and that we are family oriented and want to serve and work together with them to help people. They said that if they have service projects that they would like help with that we are ready and willing with a lot or a few people that can help. Afterwards a wonderful lunch was served and they all enjoyed that. There were some really good and positive comments from them. Most didn’t understand much about us and were glad to know more. We were pleased with the outcome and Pres. Dube is thinking that perhaps we should do the same type of meeting in Zambia.
Sign above a toilet at Kwe Kwe church
We stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn as it was too late to drive home – we don’t drive on rural roads after dark. It was New Year’s Eve so there was a fair bit of noise outside most of the night. It seems like the people here like to celebrate New Years!!!
We had a young man about 13 or 14 yrs. old come to the gate on Wed. and ask if there was any work he could do so that he could earn money for his school fees. I was impressed with him for trying to earn his own money so let him work in the garden area for 2 days. He earned $6 a day plus I gave him a school kit. (I think he needs $65 for his fees for this next term starting Jan. 12th.
On Tues. we took ZESA, the electrical people, out to the school to connect the power to the building where the mill will go. It was suppose to take a couple of hours but it took our whole day by the time we waited for them to get organized, do the job, and return them to their office. If we don’t take them out we could wait indefinitely for them to do the job as they have very little diesel for their vehicles. On Wed. we led the way out to the school with the Precision Grinder people to install the mill and dehuller. That also took the whole day. We were to be at their business at 9:30 but didn’t leave until 11:30 when they were finally loaded and ready to go. It got hooked up but couldn’t be tested as the power was out due to a lightning strike. (Note: Zimbabwe has more people killed by lightning strikes than any other country in the world).
Can't flip the switch and test it because the power is not working today!
On Friday afternoon we stopped in to see our investigators, Carol, Ellison, and Dzikamai. They are doing well, especially, Dzikamai. He hadn’t been to church until last Sunday because he had no proper clothes to wear so we gave him a white shirt and tie and I found some pants from our humanitarian clothing. He has attended church in the past when he was in Boston. He said he had forgotten how good it felt and he wants to keep coming and learning. We are going to Highlands ward today so we can be there with them. Hopefully Carol will come – she plays the keyboard at her other church and feels needed there. We could really use her to play the piano too! Later: Only Dzikamai came but he had a good day and we spent a couple of hours after church with him as he had some questions. We also spent time with Seka, as well.
Reeve, Lolly, and Cecilia are back from their golf tour now so they have us back playing ‘squash’ again. My body was a little stiff but is getting used to it again. It is good exercise. Jim isn’t playing as he doesn’t want to put his back out. I have a good trainer – the #1 guy in Zimbabwe on the squash court. Reeve, Lolly and CC help he and his brother a lot and occasionally send them to tournaments and for training in other countries. Needless to say, they are really good. They are gentle with me and let me get a point once in a while. Mayfields are learning to play too and the girls are teaching them. Deppe’s also have played too but Sis. Deppe hurt her hand (doing something else) and can’t play right now. We meet at the court at 5:30 a.m.
The girls (Reeve, Lollie and CC) brought us a nice gift bag of goodies for Christmas. They are too good to us. It included a tie for Jim, scarf for me, Hilary Weeks Christmas CD, chocolate, an Ipod (16 GB) filled with church music, videos and talks. Nice!!
Yesterday we took a Preparation day and went grocery shopping and then we went with Mayfields to the ‘Lion and Cheetah’ Park that is only about 30 minutes away. We took lunch with us, had a little picnic, and saw the animals there – lots of lions, but not the kind we would want to walk with. It was a nice afternoon.
Tomorrow we are back to work again – hopefully getting another grinding mill motor installed. We have 4 grinding mill projects that were approved – a new kind of project for here and our people in South Africa are watching to see the success of them. We think they will be good but will also monitor to see how they work out and report back after a few months.
There are some ladies that want to talk about a ‘sewing’ project that they are hoping we might help them develop. We will look into that shortly too. Some ladies in Mutare at the meeting we just had also approached me about a sewing project. I suggested we could talk more in a couple of months as I want to see about this one here first and see if it is something we should look at or not.
We are off to church (Highlands ward) right now and I will send this letter off after.
Love, The Bullock's