Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Greetings Again from Zim!

Warm greetings to all
More than 1/2 of the month of June is gone so it is probably time to begin my next blog.  Life has been pretty ordinary for us the last while, with classes, meetings regarding accreditation of our college and life in general. 
Mid-term exams are coming up this week and then more than half this semester is gone.  I'm busy putting together final exams for end of July.  It is easy to be out of touch with what's happening in Canada and the US.  Talking with Geoffrey (our son) on telephone and our niece Michelle via email, this week reminded me that the school year in both The United States and Canada is either over or quickly drawing to a close.  Our school year runs until the end of November and then we are seriously considering coming home to Canada for Christmas again this year.

As usual I am including a few pictures.  The first one is the little neighbor girl (living with her great aunt Grace on the same property as us).  She has just begun school and this was her first day.  The next picture is one of shucking corn (maize).  I talked, in my last blog, about that process but had lost my camera so was unable to send a picture.  Luckily Glen took some pictures so this is from his camera.  The third picture is of a young lady we are sponsoring.  Her mom is a single mom and they struggle to be able to afford for Makanaka to attend school.  I first met Maka, as she is called by family and friends, when she was working at the corner market selling vegetables and other miscellaneous items.  She was not at school at that time.  Maka is eleven years old.  She really touched my heart and has become very dear to us.  Last week we helped Linda (Maka's mom) to move some of her property, that had been sitting outside at the place where she is the house maid, to her stand.  A stand is what we in Canada would call a lot. Linda's lot is a small piece of property in a high density area (very poor) and was where she and her husband planned to have their home.  The husband died when Maka was only a baby and so Linda and Maka currently live in one room where Linda serves as maid.  It is still Linda's intention to build on her stand when and if she can.  We will do what we can to help.

The sadness for us comes in realizing that there are many, many, Lindas and Makas in this country and we cannot help them all.  Even our school staff, such as our principal and academic dean struggle to pay their children's school fees.  So, we do what we can and trust it is pleasing to God.


Here now are a couple of pictures of the high density area where Linda and Maka have their stand.  That is where we moved their belongings to.  One of the pictures is of Maka standing on their empty stand (lot) with her back to the neighbor's property.  That neighbor is the one who is allowing them to store their belongings in a room there.  The other two pictures are simply of the area.  There are high density areas in and around Harare and throughout Zimbabwe which don't have any semblance of housing as you see it here.

Wow...time does slip by.  It has been a couple of weeks since I sat down to write on my blog.  It is now July 2nd, so yes, indeed, Canada Day has come and gone.  2014 is half over. We had a delightful Canada Day celebration yesterday, July 1st.  We attended a reception hosted by the Canadian Ambassador at her residence.  It was an informal garden party and felt good to meet with others from Canada, and elsewhere, serving with various NGO's or missions here in Zimbabwe and in particular, in Harare. 
Mid-terms are over and now it is on to finalizing prep work for final exams for this semester. I am truly looking forward to the break. Plans are well underway for hosting two of my sisters and my niece who will arrive August 3rd. 
I'm inserting a few pictures of the Canada Day Celebrations. The first one is of me with our Canadian Flag outside our home.  There is one of the garden party at the Ambassador's residence and one of her giving her address and Canadian greetings to the gathering.

 It is cold here today and overcast.  Of course it is winter time.  The temperature is about 14 degrees and it is almost eleven am.  Here is a picture Glen snapped one day as I was trying to keep warm in our cottage.  Enjoy!!

With much love and many blessings to all