Today starts the holiday weekend here and lots of people leave to go into the rurals to the homes (kumusha) where they grew up. We see buses packed full heading out of town. When I say 'packed full' - it really is - like sardines!!! :)
Monday we head to Victoria Falls for a couple's conference. The new office couple, The Bowens, arrived here so they get to start off with a bit of a holiday. They are really nice people. We have opted to drive (10 hrs.) and 4 couples will take the big mission van. We are looking forward to the trip and will also spend a day in Botswana at an animal park. There are suppose to be great animals to see there. We will take lots of pictures and with any luck I will get my camera figured out so that I can email some home.
We spent two days in Muzarabani this week driving around to where they hope the LDSC will do boreholes. It definitely is an area that needs them as the people mostly get their water from rivers and hand dug wells. When the rivers dry up they dig holes in the river bed and water seeps into them but the animals also drink from there too. Most people do not boil the water so some get sick and some die. This is an area where not a lot has been done. They have had little rain this year and there is no maize (corn) growing. It was planted but dried up. People are hungry there. We took Seka's mother 4 bags of mealie meal (milled corn) and she was really excited to get it. Seka's two young boys are staying with her for now and we wanted to make sure they were not going to go hungry. We also gave her some oil, sugar, salt and some of the Rice/Bean mix that Reeve brought in the container.
We did see a United Nations truck leaving the area and Pastor Mhike said that is a good sign that they are aware of the hunger up there and are checking it out. Reeve, CC and Lolly are putting together a plan to go there on Apr. 12th with us and distribute books and pens and hopefully some mealie meal to the children. They have sent Seka up to make arrangments and get children gathered - as many as he can get. They will arrange to ship the stuff up on a large truck so it will be there when we arrive. We will also load up our vehicles. It will be a great day or two. We will stay up there again.
Our accommodations that we stayed at were just barely okay. (1/2 star motel!!). We took a couple of quilts with us and laid one on the bed and put the other one over us and used the misquitoe net that was there. We chose not to sleep in their bedding - it might have been alright but.... The toilet (with no seat) was in a different room and there was a shower in another small room, which I opted not to use. :( When Elder Bullock went out to use the toilet he saw a fellow outside (security guard) toting a shotgun. He ask him about it and he said it was for thieves. It did actually make us feel better to know that he was there watching out for us and our truck. We were the only ones there and it was out in the middle of nowhere. The place used to be a college of some sort that is not being used right now. It was an African experience!
Bruce, our borehole contractor, is busy getting the electric boreholes at the clinics fixed, now that the electricity is working. We were there for a while yesterday afternoon. He is trying so hard to do a good job and make us proud (as he puts it). He knows we are looking at big water projects and of course would love to be considered for the work. We also went by Kadyamadare school where the grinding mill is. There have been some issues there with the electrical and so we were really excited to see it operating. The MP, Mr. Zhanda (that we like so much) had been there and he had sent his electrician to them and he paid for a replacement part and got things working. He is such a good man. They just can't thank us enough for what we have done for the school - and of course it isn't just us -- it is through the humanitarian donations that are made by all the wonderful members of the church. They will have a 'turn-over' (thank you) ceremony probably in early June. It will be a grand affair with singing, dancing, speeches, food, etc.
We have also received word that in June we have a Measles campaign in Zambia. We still don't know exactly what is expected of us but have heard that it is a fun experience to be part of. Specialists will come here and we will assist them and do what they tell us. :) We will drive up there and likely be there for several days.
We are looking forward to hearing General Conference this weekend. We will be able to see most of the sessions but probably not the Sunday afternoon one as it is broadcast here at 10 p.m. as we are 8 hours ahead of you. Last April was the first time that conference was broadcast in Zimbabwe. The outer branches will have church as usual as they won't get it there.
We miss you all and hope all is well. Elder & Sister Bullock