Under azure skies and a sun, we continue to love being in Zimbabwe. As we are walking a lot, the weather loves us. The people also welcome us wherever we go with smiles and good food. :) Sadza is the staple food here; it resembles thick grits. Though electricity is sporadic, we have managed well. Each time it cuts on we quickly plug in anything that needs to be charged and we take turns taking a bath with the hot water (while it lasts). We’re doing our best to learn more Shona each day. Since most people speak English, we don’t have to know their language to communicate, but we are trying to use it whenever we can!
The students at Hartzell High School went home yesterday, as their term was over and they won’t be back until after we have returned to the U.S. So we spent as much time with them as possible on Monday and Tuesday. Aaron played basketball for several hours each day at the school’s outdoor courts. Casey taught a dance class to around 20 high school girls and then they taught her a few of their routines. The students that went home on Wednesday had to leave by 6 a.m. so we all said our goodbyes on Tuesday evening after dinner. The girls gave us their addresses all requesting a pen pal from the U.S. (if you are interested, please get in contact with one of the 3 of us when we return and we’ll set it up!).
On Monday, the HOPE children (Janine Roberts’s program for malnourished and HIV + children) all came to Fairfield to get their weekly allowance of bananas (9 each) and eggs (5 each). Since it was the first Monday of the month, they were also given 2 jars of peanut butter to last for the entire month. Aaron and Casey were in charge of doling out the peanut butter (which is much runnier than our typical peanut butter in the U.S.) and ended up covered in it by the end. (well, at least Casey did)
On Tuesday, Aaron and Casey rode with Janine to Tsvingwe Primary and Secondary Schools to find and check on about 25 of the children in the HOPE program. We got their pictures and had them fill out an information sheet that we can send to their sponsors in the U.S. once we return home in a couple weeks. We also went to St. Augustine’s Secondary School to give one boy a few dollars for his bus fare to return to Fairfield the next day when school was out. However, once we got to St. Augustine’s we were told that school had already gotten out and that the boy had already left, on foot. So he walked for several hours WITH a suitcase of all his belongings back to Old Mutare Mission and we didn’t see him until that night when he got to Fairfield. On Tuesday evening Casey and Aaron went with their new friend, Ben (the Kies’s oldest son who recently returned from the U.S.), to “youth group” game night which is for people over the age of 18 (rather than under 18, as it is in the U.S.). We played cards and ate dinner with about 6 of Ben’s friends and returned back to Fairfield around 10 pm exhausted and ready to get a good night’s rest.
Yesterday we stayed at Fairfield for the majority of the day, playing outside with the children now that they are all done with school. Aaron played soccer with the older guys and Casey tried to teach the younger ones how to share and say please when asking for things. We don’t think they quite understand, but at least they are saying “please” now.
Last night we enjoyed a dinner with the Mashiri family at their home (without electricity, of course). The Mashiri’s are Francie’s closest Zimbabwean friends and live on the Old Mutare Mission Centre. Mr. Mashiri is an english teacher at Hartzell High School and Mrs. Mashiri is a teacher at Hartzell Primary School. They have two daughters, Lisa and Princess, both in high school. At dinner we had an interesting conversation with the Mashiri family about the differences in U.S. culture and Zimbabwean culture. On top of the things we had already learned (like that everyone goes to bed when the sun goes down and everyone rises with the sun each morning) we also found out that when we had been saying “yes sir” to Mr. Mashiri that he thought it sounded very much like the military. Also, in the U.S. typically only men have handshakes for when they greet one another, but in Zimbabwe every time you see someone you do the Zimbabwean handshake (or give them “dap”, as Aaron would say). Even if you give the other person a hug, you still do the handshake following the hug.
Francie has been kept busy by going to meetings with the District Superintendent of the United Methodist Church, the Station Chair of Old Mutare, and the Head of Fairfield Children’s Home. She is also organizing the installment of a generator for the Children’s Home upon the arrival of the container she sent in June. She has also been planning Vacation Bible School sessions for all the age groups that will begin today.
As a final note, yesterday we purchased 36 whole chickens so that tonight everyone at Fairfield will enjoy a chicken dinner! :)
See you. (as they say in Zim)