Saturday, February 27, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
This morning Bigboy, our wheelchair expert, and his wife, Susan, came in to learn about the church. We ask him what had prompted him to ask us if he could come in and talk to us about the church. He said that he has decided he needs to attend a church and he has seen missionaries doing service work in the community and is interested in learning more. He told us that he used to drink a lot at nights and his wife and children were worried about him. He decided 6 months ago to quit. He called his wife and ask her to pray for him because he was not going to drink anymore. When he was late coming home she would call and ask if he was drinking but he never did take another drink after his initial decision.
Bigboy also told us that in 2004 he had a stroke and ended up in the hospital. He told us how he was/is in the business of helping people with wheelchairs after they have strokes, etc. and suddenly he was unable to move his left side. He prayed to God and told Him that his livelihood was helping people and he needed to be able to walk. The next day when he woke up he could move his arm and he could stand up. The Doctor couldn’t believe it. His one side is not quite perfect but he is able to carry on. He works with a wheelchair organization and assembles and fits chairs to all sort of disabled people. He goes around the African countries training technicians to be able to do the same.
We taught them the first discussion. It went well. We thought he lived in Harare but he lives about 60 Km. out but is not too far from Bindura and there are two branches there. He has a vehicle so that helps. We arranged to go to their place on Saturday and meet their children (2 teenagers) and we will review or teach them more.
Jim is busy typing up contracts for the projects that we are working on. Mostly it is fill in the blanks and of course, give some details but it is a bit frustrating. They have to be approved in SA by the church lawyer before they can be signed.
February 26, 2010
O man!! A lot of people here have some sad stories. Lawrence, our policeman investigator, came in to see us. His parents died when he was 14 yrs. old. From that time he has taken care of himself and his younger sister. He quit school and got a job gardening so he could support them and he paid school fees for her so she could stay in school. He managed to do his school at night. He got a job with the police about a year ago and because he has some accounting education they have him working in the office. He really wants to go to school and get a degree in accounting but.........how can he? He is now 27 and his sister is 21 and she is married with a baby boy. The husband is not working and they live with his parents. Lawrence was planning to get married (saving labola) in April, however, his girlfriend, Doreen, is 3 months pregnant. Her parents found out and ‘chased her away’ and she is now with Lawrence. The $200 he had saved towards the labola had to go to the clinic so that Doreen can have maternity care and delivery of the baby. He has a ‘stand’ (small plot of land) that he bought about 6 years ago. If he does not start to build on it by June he will lose it. He needs $240 so he can just even have water and meter run onto the land and that would be enough to keep it. As a policeman he is paid $150/month. His rent is $60 and utilities about $20. The rest goes for food, transport, etc. It just isn’t enough but the gov’t. is not paying more than that. Teachers here also get about $150/month. Some teachers are on strike right now, trying to get more money but unfortunately it is the children who suffer as they are not getting their schooling. It is hard to hear these sad stories AND there are a LOT of them. We wish we could fix things and help everyone but we just can’t. There are a lot of child-run families because of death (due to AIDS a good share of the time).
Mayfields had a wonderful young man come in and apply for a PEF loan for school. He is supporting 3 or 4 younger siblings and wants/needs to go to school so badly but has to work to feed the family. I don’t think they could make it work for him because to get a loan you have to be a returned missionary and he could not serve a mission because he has to support the family. Perhaps they can get an ‘exception’. I’m not sure what has happened with it.
Anyway – sorry, enough of the sadness of Zimbabwe! The auditor is back again this morning to finish off. The SA fellow from the church left this morning early. The audit is going well and they only had 3 or 4 questions for me and I was able to find what they needed. I’m relieved that it all seems in order!!
The electricity is off a lot lately but we are coping. They run the generator here at the mission office when it goes off so work carries on as usual here. At the flat we try not to run the generator too much as it is noisy and we don’t want to irritate the neighbours. We use it to pump the water from the tank for our shower (love having our tank!!!!) and we use it to quickly cook something and then we shut it down. We are doing fine!! Mayfields have moved into the flat next door as of yesterday. It will be nice having them there – nice and close for playing a card game or getting together for a movie night (if we have power!)
I must get back to work. We need to start preparations for our district training assignment a week from tomorrow in Gweru. The topic is ‘the temple’. Elder & Sister Taylor left a nice file of information so that will be very helpful. We just need to come up with a plan/presentation that will take approximately an hour.
Love to all, The Bullocks
I have posted 2 other letters below as well! Kim
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Just a quick email to show you a little of where I live and what I have been up to since the beginning of the year. I know I haven’t written to some of you in a very long time…my apologies, I hope to keep in touch. Work has been hard and I hope it is all in the name of progress. I am great though…still single…unfortunately – the years are flowing by quite quickly these days…its scary! But hope for the best and I am still smiling most of the time. I love my job, as you can see I live in an amazing place. It is high time some of you came for a visit…
These two hippos were fighting… it was amazing to watch.
We were completely surrounded by these…had to wait for them to finish their siesta before we could move.
This guy was right on the side of the road…not even bothered by us.
Blue Cheeked Bee-Eater
…have a great day.
Big Hugs to all
I apologize for my absence however, I have had such struggle getting to my e-mail while in Zimbabwe.
I hope this e-mail finds you well and excited about 2010! IT is a magnificent year that will be filled with fun, laughter and memorable moments. Just don’t forget to record them and keep them. As you might see below, I got a camera for my birthday and are very excited to show you all how I spend my 2010!!
We are now on the road for a month, and the internet is again up and running! So are we!!! We have spent the past four days in South Africa spending time with a friend who is having some health issues, had a golf day with a sponsor and we are now in Christchurch, New Zealand for a week to play the ‘Pegasus New Zealand Women’s Open’ before heading for Australia for ‘The Australian Open’ and ‘The Australian Masters’. This early start of our golf season is ALWAYS a highlight for us as we really enjoy the sunshine, the beach and the ‘Aussie-atmosphere!’
It has been such a busy time since Christmas, however it has been filled with one highlight after the other.
First... My birthday!!! J
Had a fabulous time with MANY friends visiting for the day. We had an ‘afternoon’ party due to the amount of children that were attending and we had a ‘mexican theme’ with enchiladas, fajitas and all the trimmings. It was SO fun!!!
Left: Reeve, Lolly and I with the Missionary couples that are in Zimbabwe!
Right: The entire ‘crew’ that came to the party! It was SO fun!!
Then we were excited to hear that the three containers we had packed and shipped from America, had arrived. We had them off-loaded on the church grounds (for safety and for easy access) and then gathered the troops to help us get organized. We already had one container there, so we un-packed, organized and re-packed the four containers so it now looks like a shop. We can go in there, locate what we need and then give it out to the most needed people here in Zimbabwe. It was SO much work, however SO much fun with the willing souls showing up to help us. What a Blessing!
We spent three whole days, re-organizing and sorting the containers, however we are SO grateful for the help, the kindness and the willingness of the people there. We are SO grateful for the donations and for everyone making these miracles happen. It really is a miracle, as we know that people’s lives will now be changed AND saved by the items in these containers. THANK YOU to all of you who have assisted!
I am a happy camper these days, I am enjoying myself and I’m happy with who I am and where I am..... Are you?? If not.... change it! Life’s too short to mess about!
Lots of love to you all,
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Greetings everyone!!! (This is CC)
Last week we un-packed, organized and re-packed our three containers that were shipped from Utah in December. Everything in the containers needed to be re-packed and re-organized so that the Doctors could have easy access in choosing their necessary medical supplies. We also needed to know exactly what we had and have easy access to it so that distribution could be made easier.
When we reflected on the amazing miracles, the helping hands, the kind hearts, the sweat and hard work from SO many people around the world, we have only two words to say – THANK YOU!!
The overwhelming feeling of excitement, joy and peace came over us as we realized how many people we could now assist and how many Prayers will be answered through your acts of kindness, giving great ‘hope’ to so many Zimbabweans! THANK YOU!
We have had SO many donors assisting this ‘project’ so names will not be mentioned, however know that we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your kind contribution, your help and your effort in making this happen. When the three containers were sent on ‘Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistic’s’ ship from Houston, we were overjoyed and SO very excited! They were on their way! Now we had to go to Zimbabwe to prepare for their arrival.
The rumour had already hit Zimbabwe and the response from everyone was SO fun to see & feel! Willing souls, members and non-members alike, offered to help, so when they finally arrived in Harare on February 12th, we could barely wait to get started! Some land was cleared by our Church building, so we off loaded and lined up the containers so that we could have easy access!
The sun was shining…And so were we!!!
We already had one container lined up so we could organize and create a GREAT store room for all the donated items!
Volunteers came, old and young and as we provided food and drinks for everyone, they worked from morning to night to help us organize the much needed medical supplies, medicines, food, clothing, shoes, hygiene and new born kits, books, toys, school supplies, blankets and quilts! It was amazing to see how excited everyone was to help us!
As we were unpacking, Reg Nield (Reeve’s Dad) pointed us to a little Family that was temporarily staying close by, waiting to attend an ‘Eyes 4 Zimbabwe’ eye camp. The Father was completely blind (unfortunately he may not be assisted as he had measles when he was younger), the Mother was partially blind however this was rectified with surgery last week, and their little Son was bind in both eyes due to cataracts, he received his eye sight completely this last week after two 15minute operations! AMAZING!
We found food, clothing and nutritional supplements for them immediately…an awesome BLESSING to be able to assist them right away!
Each day we opened an un-packed new container and each day screams of joy and happiness came from everyone who was assisting us. The excitement of the
much needed supplies, food, clothing, books, school kits etc, we could hear out loud ! We were SO grateful for everyone’s participation and kind hearts!!!
We THANK each of you for your service, assistance, time, money and efforts that you put into this great project and for believing that it could happen as much as we did!
We pray that you will each understand the TERRIFIC impact that you have had on the Zimbabwean people! You have helped save lives, answer prayers and give joy and hope to thousands of people who currently are struggling to stay alive.
THANK YOU ALL!
May The Lord continue to Bless you and your family!
Cecilie, Laurette and Reeve
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
This has been a REALLY busy week so far. Sunday we went to Kadoma. Two of our missionaries that have been serving here finished their missions and returned home to Kadoma this past Wednesday. The 2nd counsellor in the branch presidency was released and one of the newly returned missionaries was put in that position. It was fun for Elder Bullock to be able to call him. The elder certainly wasn't expecting that. He will do a good job. The other elder was put in as Young Men's President. We were really pleased to see that the Branch president is putting them to work right away. These young returned missionaries are such assets here and are the ones who will be the great leaders.
I gave my talk in church and the two elders both talked. That didn't leave time for Elder Bullock to give his talk so he just said a few words and will save his talk for another day. We heard back from the elders here in Harare that Lawrence, our investigator, was at church and they have an appointment with him for tonight to teach. He had no transport money so he walked to church.
Monday we had a meeting with the committee at the Kadymadare Mill. We invited the MP to join us as we needed his help to solve a problem there. I think I told you about it before -- how one man, the chairman/also a village head, insisted on only charging $.50 instead of one dollar. At the beginning of the meeting Elder Bullock read 'their' original proposal to us requesting the mill and how they were planning to make the project work for them. He explained that they were not living up to what they had proposed and agreed upon.
The MP then took over and talked for quite a while, some in English and a lot in Shona. He explained to them how a business has to run in order to be successful and make some profit. He also explained very well how the committee should work and the role of the chairman. It was agreed that they would start charging the dollar. We then ask how soon they planned to do that. The Chairman wanted to wait until March 1st and one other agreed with him. I suggested starting in 1 week (this coming Monday) so that they could start making some profit sooner. A member of the committee agreed and we told him he needed to make the proposal and it was seconded. We then suggested that there were two proposals and as a committee they should vote on it. The outcome was 7 to 2 in favor of starting to charge sooner. It was really a good meeting and I think the members felt somewhat empowered when they realized they didn't have to feel intimidated by the chairman/village chief. They realized they all had an equal say
and vote on things. We were pleased how things came out and are grateful to Mr. Zhanda, the MP, for helping us. He is really a good man. One thing I keep meaning to tell you is that whenever we have these kind of meetings they always begin and end with prayer. Quite different than America.
Monday afternoon we went with Bigboy (a wheelchair contact that we have talked to a few times) and met with a lady who is over all of Zimbabwe and represents disabled people and groups. They are the ones who we can partner with and they can bring the chairs into the country duty-free. It was a good meeting and we are hoping to get the wheelchair project underway.
When we got back to the office, Pauline was waiting for us. She is the mom we helped several months ago with the tiny baby, Edson, who almost died. We took formula out for the baby and food for the family so that the mom could eat and be able to nurse the baby. Edson is now about 8 months old but looks like he is only 2 months. He apparently has some symptoms of Downs Syndrome (I could see it in his face) and he also has some heart problems. However, he is one lucky baby as he was leaving the next morning with a Doctor who is taking him to Italy for 3 months where he will get some heart surgery etc. free of charge. Pauline was needing help for her 8 yr. old who she said was very sick, had a rash, and was losing strength. She had him at the hospital the day before and they gave him some tablets and said to bring him back to get his temperature taken. However, the combie (transport) would not take him. We drove her home and put her and the boy in the back of the truck (just in case he had something we don't want to get) and took them to the hospital. The husband, Ed, came too. We had to wait for quite a while as the doctors decided to go for lunch just as we arrived. While we were waiting we gave some balloons to the children in the waiting room and that seemed to cheer them up! Anyway, the boy has measles and a problem in his chest and a high temperature. They gave him a couple of injections and sent him home with instructions to go to a different hospital in the morning that would admit measle patients and also he would get a chest x-ray. We haven't heard any more yet. That all took about 5 hrs. and we got home about 8:30 after returning them to their home.
Tuesday we spent most of the day helping Reeve, CC and Lolly and a good group of youth, finish sorting the goods in the containers that arrived last Friday. It has been a big job but it is now organized. I went with Reeve to take a truckload of medical supplies to a Dr. who has helped us the other day with the boy that had terrible rashes all over his head. The dr. wasn't there but we left the things - She will be delighted to have them.
We were tired at the end of the day. Reeve, CC and Lolly left this morning for Australia for some golf tournaments etc. They will be back in a month. We will miss them. They are fun to have around. We will continue our squash playing though and we now have President and Sister Dube joining us in the mornings and learning squash. Fun!
President Bullock has gone right now to a meeting with President Dube to meet with some government minister to explain what the church and LDS Charities does.
Today we are hoping to work on our training session that we are to do in Masvingo on Saturday. We have an hour allotted to us to train on lesson preparation as they feel that too many just read the lessons from the books when they teach (& they do that a lot here). We are
feeling a little nervous about this as we don't feel like we have a lot of expertise in the area, however, we do have "Teaching No Greater Call" and I have printed off some talks from church leaders. We will make a plan and pray a lot!! I better get busy working on it.
One more picture:
We are grateful to you all for your love and support. We have a great family that we are proud of and also wonderful friends! Thank you!!
Love, The Bullocks
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Our policeman investigator, named, Lawrence, texted us last night and wanted to come today with his girlfriend, Doreen, so that we could explain things to her. We gave them the same discussion as we had given Lawrence already. Doreen is really quite shy and quiet but she seemed to understand. They committed to go to church tomorrow morning.
I helped organize some things from one of the containers that Reeve, Lolly, and CC brought over from SLC. There have been a lot of people out there working on it most of the day. I think they have one container done. There are a lot of good medical supplies as well as numerous other things. It is a big job. It will help a lot of people here in Zimbabwe. They had one empty container and put all the medical supplies into it and then sorted the other things and put them back into the first container.
We have talks to give tomorrow in Kadoma and are putting finishing touches on them. We are also invited and need to leave soon to go watch Ishmael play a squash game against the #2 player in Zimbabwe. That should be good. Ishmael is #1 in his age category. They are really quite amazing to watch. We are also invited to go watch Bro. and Sis. Sharp's daughter ballroom dance with the Bell's son. They are super good too and won all the competitions in SA recently and are now headed to Europe somewhere to compete. I don't know that we can
get to both events though. (The squash is closer so... we will try that first).
We went to Sharp's earlier so that Elder Bullock could do a polygamy interview for a lady who wants to get baptized. She works there. While we waited we were given juice, potato chips, small pancakes with syrup and when we left we were given a box of wonderful chocolates
(which we aren't eating - but Mayfields will enjoy them for us!). Sharps weren't home but the domestic help were treating us well. Nice!
Love to all, The Bullocks
Thursday, February 11, 2010
We have had a good week so far. Today we are stuck in the office because our truck is getting serviced. That is okay though as we set up appointment with people who want to talk to us.
Some ladies want to come in and talk about a 'sewing' project they would like us to look at. Pastor Mhike wants to come in and talk about 'doctrine'. He was in yesterday with some paperwork and a map for the water project we are looking at up in Muzarabani.
We are lining up some possible areas that need boreholes and we will get a visit from a 'water specialist' from USA to come and assess them with us and help us develop the projects. We are looking forward to that. It will really help us a lot. The specialists will visit Zimbabwe and also the humanitarian couple in South Africa. We will likely have them for a couple of weeks and then they can also assist us via email afterwards.
We took Bruce, our borehole guy, out to look at a place where we want to replace a 5000 lts. water tank and he gave us a price on what that will cost. On our way back we stopped at the school 'head master's' house and he wanted to give us some mangos and some green mealies.
Green mealies are cobs of maize that haven't had a chance to dry on the cob yet. We were given instructions on how to cook and eat it. So we tried it. It didn't have much flavor (not like the sweet corn). It was rather chewy too but ok, I guess. I don't think I will care if I have it again or not though. We gave away a lot of the mangos - they were the smaller ones that have a more stringy fruit. Everyone loves the mangos and we lots of people eating them right now. They are very good!!
Pastor Sikyani's wife passed away - she had a stroke 2 or 3 weeks ago. We went to the funeral. He told us to come at 2 p.m. and when we got there they were filling the grave with dirt. I guess he wanted us to miss whatever happened before that. There was lots of singing and clapping as the young men took turns shoveling the dirt back in. Then everyone was fed a meal of sadza, meat with a little sauce and some shredded cooked cabbage. We ate too. That is the first time we have done that. We ate it with our fingers like everyone else. They take a bit of sadza, roll it into a ball and make a little indent in it and then dip it into the sauce. *Before you begin eating they come around with a bowl and some water so people can wash their hands and then do the same thing afterwards as our hands are dirty from eating. The sadza has no flavor and the sauce and vegetables are a bit on the salty side but it tasted good. These people LOVE sadza!!
Afterwards we went and thanked the ladies who had prepared the food and got a surprise!! Check out the pictures to see 'what we saw'! YIKES!! I guess it is a good thing we had already eaten or ............. we might have declined the offer.
We had a pregnant lady waiting for us at the gate when we came in a couple of days ago. We stopped and she came to my window (the ladies usually want to talk to me and the men choose to talk to Elder Bullock). The lady said, "Madam, I have a problem". We hear that a lot. I ask what she needed and she pulled out her papers from the doctor and they did say that the baby was breach. She told me she was 12 months pregnant because the baby was breach and couldn't come out. I told her that I have had 7 babies and that it doesn't work that way -- that she is NOT 12 months pregnant. She wanted money from us and we don't give money so she went on her way.
Last Saturday we were invited to Nield's for a birthday party for CeeCee. Her request was for Mexican food and it was wonderful. One of the best meals we have had since being here. They have a great family and we enjoyed our afternoon with them. We bought a couple of bouquets of flowers off the street to take with us. One cost $10 and one cost $5 -- too bad I paid the $10 first because I probably could have gotten them both for $5 as they were desperate to make a sale. O well -- they were beautiful arrangements.
Tomorrow morning we are going for a golf lesson (after we play squash at 5:30 a.m.) so that we can meet a couple that our golf friends know. They are hoping that perhaps we can get to know these people and friendship them. He is a retired Dr. and does some humanitarian work here too.
Our first appointment of the day has arrived so .... back to work.
Hi, We had a good day today. This afternoon two young men came in. One said we had met him at the grocery store a while ago and talked to him and he came to find us because he wanted to learn more about the church. He is a police officer and his friend is looking for work. They were both about 27 yrs. old. One is married with a baby girl and the policeman is working on saving up the lobola so that he can get traditionally married about April, he hopes.
We taught them about the Book of Mormon etc. (1st discussion) and gave them a restoration pamphlet and a B of M each. The police officer had very good English and really understood everything well. It was good!
The lady came in to discuss her possible 'sewing' project and we will go out and meet her group of ladies tomorrow morning and talk with them.
They have a problem at one of the grinding mills. One person wants to only charge $.50 to grind a bucket of maize instead of the normal price of $1.00. They cannot make any money at that rate and possibly not even have enough to pay the electricity bill and the $50 they pay to the miller. This particular person is trying to get points with the people there as he wanted to be re-elected as the SDC chairman (School Development Committee). He did get re-elected yesterday! So, we have a problem. There is a grinding mill committee and they should all be making these decisions but...... The head master came and discussed it all this with us. We were all hoping the chairman would not get voted back. Anyway today Elder Bullock phoned the MP (Mr. Zhanda) that we really like and he really likes us and told him of the problem. He will meet us at the mill on Monday morning, hopefully along with the committee, and talk to them. He is well respected and they will listen to him (we just need the one man to listen, really). I think he will be able to solve the problem for us and set things straight. We are doing several projects in his jurisdiction so he will do whatever he can to help and he really appreciates all we are doing.
We talked to him about the problem the church had recently with getting items cleared through ZIMRA (tax people) - and he knows the head guy and is going to set up a lunch with him and the mission president and ourselves and see if things can't be simplified for us. That will be great it he can help us. Pres. Dube says he will be happy to buy the lunch if we can get these people together.
Elder Bullock has gone to pick up the truck from being serviced. All is well. We were hoping to get our talks written for Sunday but our day just fills up (with good things though, like discussions of the gospel).
Love to all, E/S Bullock