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.


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