Back in Zimbabwe--Safe and Sound

It’s hard to believe but Major and I left from the US on the afternoon of Wednesday 12 February and arrived after 3 flights in Harare, Zimbabwe on Friday afternoon on 14 February.

All went well with only an hour delay on the plane from Johannesburg, South Africa to Harare, Zimbabwe due to a bad storm over the airport in Harare.  We finally arrived in rain on and off the rest of the day.

We were met by Major’s wife and driver Clemence as well as a relative of Sylvia’s.  We drove to our townhouse in Harare after stopping at a grocery store and buying some lunch and a few groceries for $850!  (Rate is now 25:1 so that was $34 US).

I rested at home while Major ran around and did some things for the hospital.  We went out for dinner—which cost $1,100 for 4 of us ($44)!  These high prices are reminding quickly of the hyperinflation of the Zim dollar days from 2006-2009!

We spent the night in Harare, and we slept well until about 4 a.m. and then I was wide awake.  Electricity came on about 10:15 p.m. and was still on when we left about 2:30 p.m.

After more grocery shopping of $4,650 ($186) for some basics we headed for home after lunch and finally headed for home about 5 p.m.  I did notice miles and miles of queues for fuel when driving in Harare and all the towns on the way home.  Many stores and businesses had closed in the 5 months I was gone.  

At the grocery store there was a long queue and we asked what it was for and they said cornmeal—the staple of food in Zimbabwe.  The price for 20kg was $295 ($11.80) about a third of an average salary here!  It quickly ran out and many went home empty handed.  That 20kg will maybe last a family of 4 a month if they only eat once a day.

We arrived home at 9:45 p.m. Saturday night to no electricity but it came on at 10 p.m. and was on most of the day Sunday—only off for about 4 hours and then it came back until 6 p.m. Monday night and then only off for 3 hours and then on all day Tuesday—wow what a welcome back!

Sunday, I got 2 of our suitcases unpacked and left one for Monday.  I went to work at 7:30 a.m. on Monday and worked until 6 p.m.  It was a good day but lots of patients in our OPD!   Got to spend time talking to staff and patients.  Everyone came to hug me after devotions and sang to welcome me back!  They had Welcome Back signs all over the hospital and home signed by all the staff!

It’s good to be back and Monday it rained off and on.  Things look very green and maize is growing.  We just hope the rain lasts.  Today—Tuesday it was hot and dry—up to 91 this afternoon!  Less patients in OPD (outpatients) as people went to work in their fields.

The doctors told me they had lost several patients (adults and kids) due to Malnutrition this year.  Most people are only eating once a day.  The hospital is feeding 3 times a day and many people are in because of malnutrition.  We continue to give out drought relief to many needy people and families.

My first visitors arrive Friday but just for 2 days—4 people from my research team.  So, I am preparing for them.

Thanks for all your prayers for safe travel and for Zimbabwe.  Keep praying.  All our cell systems have been out for the past 2 weeks—so internet our only way to communicate!  We are used to this in Zim so no big deal.

Beautiful sights of San Francisco on day leaving US

Golden Gate Park in SF

Flying out of SF

Flying out of Dubai

In Johannesburg waiting to fly to Harare

Arrived at townhouse in Harare

Back in the office again


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