Monday, May 3, 2010

May 1st - 3rd

Hi, We have 15 elders who are going home tomorrow morning and they are so excited. Elder Shongwe, from Swaziland, is the most excited I think. He can hardly contain himself. He has always liked playing tricks on everyone and said he was too smart that they could never get him back - but they did!! With the help of Sister Bester in Jo'berg, they pretended to delay his ticket home by a day or two. Anyway - they got him good and even have it on video!

We were without electricity a LOT last week - due to some festival that was going on that needed extra power. Beauty had to wash out essential clothes by hand. This weeks seems to be starting out better though and we now have our dryer fixed too -- the belt broke and it has taken weeks to find the proper belt to fix it (found it in South Africa). We look forward to having soft towels, etc. again.

Must get to work. Love you.

May 1, 2010 Mayday – a holiday here.

This week has been somewhat frustrating. We paid ZESA some money for the upgrade of electricity and labour to install an 80 amp MCB (breaker) at Kadyamadare School to run the grinding mill. It seems that originally we only applied for the upgrade enough to run the mill and not the dehuller too so we had to pay more. They told us that what we paid included the cost of the MCB and they would go out and install it. A week went by and they said we hadn’t paid yet but we got that straightened out and they went out the next day, however they did not take the MCB with them – they expected that we would supply it. We explained that it was part of the amount we paid but they told us they don’t have any and don’t know when they might get any. If they want to give us back some of the money (which won’t happen), we could go buy one. The mill is running because an electrician moved a couple of the MCB’s that are already there so that it can work so at least they are making some money. We do need to get this sorted out, but man, it can be frustrating.

We took Bruce (Geo Pumps) out to the Kowoyo Clinic to sort out some plumbing problems there. That is where we had a new transformer installed and then got the borehole refurbished. We had to wait for the electricity to be on to go out so that we could test the system. Two of the water lines had problems – one was plugged with mud and needed a piece of pipe replaced and I’m not sure what the deal was with the other spot but they got them working and water flowing into the clinic and into the nurses quarters. They were pretty excited. We also had to get an electrician, who works for ZESA, to work last weekend on his days off, to repair wiring/lights/plugs in the clinic. We paid him too much for the job ($150) but he wouldn’t budge and we had no one else (in Canada, his price would have been a steal, but here it was too much). We bought the supplies (light fixtures, plugs etc.) and he installed them. We went out to check on things only to find that they had no bulbs or florescent tubes so....back to Harare. We bought some and took them out when we went out with Bruce and good news--- now they have light! Thankfully things were working at the nurses quarters (thanks to Bruce’s electrician, who did some fixing for them while they were doing the borehole. Because someone had cut part way through the electrical cable that runs through the vegetable garden, the strength of the electricity was jumping up and down. They had turned on the power to the nurses residence and it had blown the bulbs and their tv etc. (not good), but not our fault, thank goodness. Bruce’s guy fixed it and all is well – they have their stoves and fridges and lights working. They loved that after no power for 3 years. We will cross our fingers and hope that it all keeps working properly!

Today we took Bruce out to the Goromonzi area to look at an electric borehole at Pastor Sikiyani’s place. It hasn’t worked for 2 years. Someone took the pump and cable to fix it and never brought it back (big surprise). Bruce can fix it all for about $1000 so we will write up a proposal and send it in and hopefully get it done for them. The pastor has a preschool there with about 60 little kids and he also has his house there where he takes care of 15 orphans. His wife died a few months ago (3 or 4) and he told us that the church has picked a new wife for him and he is working on the labola and they will get married in July. He said she is a nice lady and he is fine with the choice. He is about 65 yrs. old or so and she is 40. I told him she must be a good woman to take on 15 orphans. He just smiled and said that she is. As we left there the Pastor ask if we had room for one guy to get a ride to Harare. We agreed but then 4 people climbed into the back.  We took Elder and Sister Bowen out with us as they wanted to get away for a while and we already had Bruce and his helper. O well!! All was fine.

We came back to town and stopped at Msasa where there is a nice pottery store. I have been wanting to get a couple of things from there. I bought a table cloth and some salt and pepper shakers to take home with us. I wanted to get a nice card to give to Reeve, CeeCee and Lolly but the stores were closing. CeeCee has already left for her golf tours and Reeve and Lolly leave on Monday. We have one more squash morning with them. We will miss them – they add some spice to our lives! We will still play squash though as they have arranged club memberships for us all. We just have to buy the tokens to turn on the court lights and they cost 25 cents for about 20 minutes.

We are relaxing and taking it easy this afternoon. We need to do that as the past week was rather difficult. Tomorrow we got to Kadoma for church. At the first of the week we will head back to Chegutu, near Kadoma, to arrange for an electrician to wire the building that has been constructed by the community to house the grinding mill/dehuller that we are doing at Danangwe School. We are trying to make sure that there will be no surprise costs on this project as our budget is pretty tight since we ended up having to upgrade the transformer and we hadn’t planned on that in the beginning.

We are slowly getting our projects done. It seems like it should all happen quickly but... nothing happens quickly and easily here.

Monday: We are excited for Curtis and Cindy and their wedding coming up on Thursday. We sure wish we could be there, however, we can’t. We will be thinking about though – but won’t dwell on it too much or I will get get all teary!
WE miss you all!! Love, The Bullocks

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