We are writing this update not knowing quite when we will get to send it. We are having fun trying to get internet set up as well as mobile connections. Whatsapp seems the best way to make contact as it is free but it needs internet access. I’m sure we will suss it soon. We are now able to update at least once a week as a local High School has allowed us to use their internet.
So what’s been happening?
Wednesday 9th September
We had an eventful flight, a ¾ hour delay at Heathrow meant our 1 hr 20min connection in Dubai looked tricky. To their credit Emirates met us off the plane in Dubai (if you have ever been through Dubai airport you will know how vast it is and it can take up to 45mins to reach a gate!!). They whisked us to a waiting bus and to our gate. There were a few of us and they had already taken us off the flight but reallocated our seats and we made the flight. We arrived in Harare only to find that our luggage had not and would not arrive till the following day on an equivalent flight. We have been so blessed by family and friends in Zimbabwe, we were met at the airport by Para and Rati (Edline’s relatives) and they put us up for a few days. We had planned to leave for Sanyati on the Friday but strangely Edline wanted to wait for our luggage!! So we stayed another night. Taken out in the evening to a local bar where Para invited me to play football on Saturday for his team ‘Elders’, how could I resist! It would mean staying with them another day but we and they were more than happy and it has been great catching up with them and their plans for their wedding in 2 weeks time.
While Edline went shopping with the girls, Para and I went off to footy. Thinking I might only play for a few minutes in the heat, I was asked to start the game. I soon got into it and even managed to score and played the full game. They called me ‘Rooney’ & as they said I was the first white guy to play for the ‘Elders’, a great honour! They offered me a contract and asked if I could play every week – ha ha shows how desperate they are.
The next day (Sunday 13th September) we set off for Sanyati, but not before we were given a vehicle to use for the full 2 months, a real surprise and a great blessing. We can’t thank Para and Rati enough. Our drive to Sanyati was not too bad, even the road from Kadoma to Sanyati didn’t seem quite as bad as we remembered. We arrived at Edline’s Mum’s around lunch time and were met with a big smile and food.
We had planned a meeting with the local Councillor for the area Mr P Chakauya, thinking we would travel to him, but instead he came to see us Monday morning, 14th September. He arrived on a motorbike (must be fun riding on these roads) and was younger than we expected, probably in his early 30s. The meeting couldn’t really have gone any better, he was very interested and supportive of our ideas and plans. He gave us the main 3 areas of need in the area – Orphans and disadvantaged children, the disabled and Widows. Pretty much what we had thought. We had decided not to mention Orphans ourselves as we had been told this can be a tricky subject, but it was the first thing he mentioned. He said he didn’t see any problems with our ideas and would take it to the other local people/authorities and also arrange visits to the 5 local schools in the area and that he would be happy to take us. So we wait on him coming back to us with timings and thank God for his hand on this meeting.
We have also started to measure the land and buildings to see what we have and plot it out, so we can start to see how to use it best and are having lots of discussions.
One area that has come to our attention is water supply or lack of it. We visited a friend of Mum’s and he was telling us how they had lost all their vegetables when they had 4 days with no water. Their vegetables are used to feed themselves but also for income and as their vehicle is off the road they couldn’t drive to collect water from the local borehole. There is only one borehole in their area, so when the local water supply is cut off, you can imagine the ques for water. We all just take water for granted but here it is so important and this has been brought home to us so clearly. He also indicated that things here are really getting worse and worse, along with water the power supply is turned off every day and usually put on again during the night. Even for those like Mum who have a borehole, if there is no power it is very hard to pump the water. So she has been out at midnight watering her vegetables recently to keep them alive. It is getting hotter here at this time of year, in the 30+ so it really is crucial to be able to water your produce as well as livestock every day.
We will update you again soon.