Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Greetings friends and family!!

Well, August has slipped by.  It is supposed to be summer here…but according to the local people, it is unseasonably cold (chilly really).  The temperature at night is still down to about 10 degrees and that is more typical of winter.  It does however, get quite warm, in the high twenties or even low thirties in the day time.  I love it!!!  The mulberries are just beginning so soon I’ll be able to pick and enjoy!  Today I planted some radishes but don't have much garden space so will settle for having those to add to my salads.

I talk to Glen every couple of days and am looking ahead to when he will be joining me here in Harare.  I'm expecting that will be late October or early November.  

I have been kept busy since my arrival here in Harare.  I am working with the librarian, trying to get some 2000 books catalogued and on the shelves before classes begin.  I don’t think that is going to happen but at least we will have made a dent. This picture is just a sampling of our books with Tapfuma (librarian) and I as we bagan the work of unpacking.  We still have many boxes to go.  It is lots of work but exciting.  I could just sit in the library and read.  There are so many intgeresting books.

Currently we have carpenters making some new shelving for us so we will have space to put all the new books.  So, I have taken on the role of organizer, getting the library cleaned up, hauling out old computer parts and other junk that has somehow found its way into ‘storage’ in the library back rooms. Our IT guy, Tawanda, is fabulous and not only helps me with all my computer challenges but accompanies me if I am going anywhere I’m not sure of.  So together we have been hauling garbage out to the dump and if I have to go into town I do not go alone.  He even came by one evening, with his wife and children, to look at my internet at the cottage. This picture is of his wife and their new baby boy.  They now have three boys.

There are many staff changes taking place here at PACC and so I’m not sure yet of what college opening will look like.  Academic Dean leaves tonight to work on his doctoral studies. So, the keys to the office we have shared for the last few years have just been handed over to me. 
I tried to use my debit card at ATMs the other day to discover for myself, that it is true what they say, and that indeed there is a shortage of cash in this country.  Reports are that there is very little cash money in the country and so Zimbabwe is becoming a cashless society.  The positive side of this, for me, is that most places are beginning to accept international visas or other credit cards, for paying bills, buying groceries, fuel, etc., so that is a good thing.  Of course for the local people that doesn’t really matter as they simply don’t have the money, be it cash or plastic.  It is a strange feeling, knowing that I am privileged while living in a country that struggles so much…and knowing that I can’t help everyone.  But I can make a difference to some and for that I give thanks to God.
I have been visiting a number of different churches within our denomination.  Services are mostly in Shona and so I am trying to arrange with a young lady to teach me some Shona.  I figure after all this time and I haven’t really picked up any of it (my old brain you know) that perhaps I should be more intentional about it.  We’ll see how that goes.  My efforts at learning to speak French over the years has not been anything to write home about; but maybe if I am surrounded with Shona it could have a different outcome.  Although English is the official language and what is taught in the schools, I think learning Shona is a way of integrating more with the culture in this area of Zimbabwe.
Sunday, August 28th, 2016, I went to the Oasis Church which is where my sponsor child, Maka, and her mom regularly attend.  Was invited by the pastor to speak to the church with words of encouragement.  That was a real privilege (even though it was spur of the moment and something I had not prepared for).  Maka turns 13 on Wednesday.  Her brother Panashi turned 17 earlier in the month.  Birthdays are celebrated in church and so I took a birthday cake for each of them and the entire church congregation celebrated with them.  Afterwards I brought the family to the cottage and we had a birthday party, complete with a meal and a few rounds of Mexican- Train after wards.  Grace and King, (Bishop’s help) joined us as well.  They attend the same church as Linda and Maka and live on the same property as I do.  It was a fun time.  Whenever I make a meal for Linda and Maka I always cook extra and send the leftovers home with them.  In that way I know they are eating another good meal.
Here is a picture of Maka and Panashe and their birthday cakes at Oasis church. In the background is pastor Moses.

Yesterday we had a bit of a celebration at the college as a sendoff for our academic dean, Joseph Mufema.  As staff, we gathered together in a time of prayer and then enjoyed banana bread and coke (which I supplied). It felt good to facilitate that in the midst of all the challenges in this country.

Today, Wednesday, August 31, 2016, has been declared a work stoppage day.  No one is supposed to be working…shops are to be closed and the like.  I guess it’s like a country wide strike so I am at home at the cottage. Tomorrow I will be back at the college again…doing some clean up.  Our shelves are supposed to arrive sometime tomorrow.  

Classes start on Monday, September 5th, with block courses.  My classes don’t actually start until the 12th but I’m anxious to get going.

I will be meeting with Rev. Munaki on either Tuesday or Wednesday this coming week to talk about all the changes at the college. I do know that I will be teaching O.T. Major Prophets and Accounting.  Have taught both of those before so am at least semi-prepared.  Looking forward to hearing more details about the changes.  

Enough rambling for this time.  

With love and blessings to all.


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

August 7-10th, 2016

Dear friends and family
Our time in Canada was super and looking back it flew by.  We so enjoyed spending time with so many of you as we waited for our Temporary Work permit.  We thank all of you from the bottoms of our hearts for the many prayers and support for our mission here in Zimbabwe.  So now for a bit of a catch up. 

I believe when I last wrote we were expecting visits from our missionary friends from Ontario and from the US.  We had a fabulous time with them even though they did not all manage to be at our place at the same time.  I've inserted a couple of pictures taken from our deck looking out onto 'Mount Neverest" so called by our great-granddaughter Tika, who when she climbed it with great-gramps a few years back declared when she reached the top "I ain't never going to climb that mountain again"...and so the mountain was named Mount Neverest.  

The first picture is Gaye and Elizabeth Norrie, us and Deb and Mike Wilson.  The second one is again Gaye and Elizabeth, us and Rhonda and Larry Allan. Norrie's will becoming back to Zimbabwe in September.  Not sure when, of if, the Wilsons and the Allans will return to Zim.  It was great to connect, share a time of fellowship and our Zim experiences. 

I arrived safe and sound in Harare on Friday evening at 5:10 pm.  That would be 7:10 am for those of you in B.C., 8:10 am in Alberta and so on and so forth for those of you in other parts of Canada and the U.S.  
Richard Chimbetete, from the Village of Hope, met me at the airport and took me to my cottage.  Thanks Richard, it truly was much appreciated.
Saturday was pretty much a write off.  I did walk to the nearby shops to pick up a few groceries.  Not much else that day.
Sunday, August 7, 2016 – 3:00 pm and I have just returned from church at Fountain of Hope, where I went with my dear friend Nellice. The pastor at Fountain of Hope is both a friend and my colleague from the college; Rev. Fanny Dube.  Service was great and it was good to see some familiar faces in the congregation as well.  Following the church service Nellice and I went for a delightful lunch and I have just now arrived home to the cottage.

 I decided that I should at least begin my Blog.  So this part of the blog will be copy and paste as I can’t access my blog because I do not currently have my phone hooked up and do not have my computer internet connections and that will have to wait until Wednesday at least.  Monday and Tuesday are ‘Hero’s Days’ here in Zimbabwe and public holidays so most services will be closed.  Fortunately I do have Zesa and different from when we left Zim in December, I am told that since end of June we have had no interruptions in Zesa.  Wow!  What a treat that is.  And very different from the 75% outages we had when we were here before.  I’ll just appreciate it while I can and be prepared for whatever lies ahead.  I do have a phone that Glen left here and so have been able to at least stay in touch with Glen.  Both my phone and my computer require that I re-register as I have been out pf the country more than six months.
Well…just paused and went for a walk.  Was gone about an hour and when I came back I had no Zesa and as well, the phone Glen left here, and I thought I could use, tells me it is ‘Serviced Out’.  I guess that means it has to be reregistered as well.  So until Wednesday I am without phone and computer service so this blog won’t get sent out until then.  Success, the Bishop’s gardener is on the property though and he does have a phone I can borrow if I need to make a call before then.  The Zesa outage only lasted an hour or two and is back on now.  So, praise the Lord for small mercies.  Oh, yea, the sermon this morning was all about  ‘power through faith, and relying on God and not on humankind!!!  Just a gentle reminder for me of how important our faith is.
Some of you might have heard via the news of an Emirates Air plane on fire that landed at Dubai on Thursday morning.  I haven’t heard of any injuries, but right now I don’t have access to news.  Much of the airport was closed and Dubai International had only one runway operating for at least a full day.  Many flights were cancelled or delayed, so I guess, in light of that, my 22 hour layover in Dubai was a God-send and our plane experienced no delay.
 Our dear friends, from Leduc days, Reid and Maureen Conrad, have a son, Joel who lives in Dubai.  I have known Joel since he was just a little child and now he is a grown man with a wife and two small children of his own (and a third one on the way).  Joel came to meet me at the airport and it was great to spend some time being escorted around Dubai.  Thanks Joel.  It was fun and certainly help to make my stopover pleasurable.
Tomorrow, I will go to our college (even though it is a holiday).  I am meeting with the Academic Dean to review some things.  I’m not sure what to expect as far as college changes.  I had a meeting with Murray Cornelius (International Missions Rep) who indicated the possibility of some significant changes, but I’ll wait and see.  I understand my role is more of a consultant although I do expect to be teaching some courses as well.
Then Wednesday we have a staff meeting/get together planned as we begin to unpack the library books we so graciously received from the combined efforts of AOG and PAOC.  A huge thankyou goes out to all involved in that lengthy process.  I know our students will benefit greatly.  Perhaps when I actually send this blog out I’ll have some pictures to include.

Monday, August 8th,  I went to the college, met with our academic dean, who updated me on changes.
Stopped and did some grocery shopping; then picked up Maka and Linda and brought them to the cottage for an afternoon visit and evening meal.  Maka has grown so much taller and is currently attending summer classes to improve those subjects she is struggling with.  She is going into grade seven which is pivotal as it determines which school she might get into for high school.
Tuesday, August 9th, 2016.Went on a long walk to stone market to greet friends there.
Lots of challenges, although relatively small such as keys not working.  Etc., etc.,
Write again tomorrow. 

Well, here it is tomorrow already.  August 10th, 2016.  Cut and paste has happened and my internet is now up and running and my phone should be very shortly as well.  Tawanda, our IT guy, took me uptown (I won't drive there alone) so I could get things hooked up.  It really is a blessing to have him around.   Spent the day at the college where I will be working helping to unpack and organize the library gifted to us.  Then on Friday we have a BOA meeting and an APTEA meeting.  So, I guess that will get me updated on what is really going on at our college. and give me some direction as to what my role will be.

Lots of bits and pieces here but I do hope that it gives you an overview of things here in Zimbabwe.

Blessings to all