What a week!

We have two new visitors that arrived this week and started working with us. Liz graduated from high school in May and is starting college in Portland, OR in January. She is a missionary kid born in Zimbabwe—her name is also Tariro and she left when she was 3 years old for Cambodia and eventually Viet Nam and IN. Lauren is from my home church in Sebastopol and is taking a semester off from college in Chico, CA to help us out. It has been a busy week—I hope they don’t think it always like this—if it is I quit now!
We had gone into Harare last Friday afternoon (27th August) after work (Dr. Zimudzi, Carolyn Mereki and I). We got there in time to meet up with Major, Lori and the 2 girls who had arrived Thursday afternoon. We enjoyed some peri-peri chicken and ice cream!
Saturday morning we were all off for the wedding of one of our doctors, Vernon Murenje and his bride Christine. It was held in a beautiful location on the waterfront of a lake. The wedding was to start at 9 a.m. and in typical “Zimbabwean tradition” we arrived at 10:45 a.m. and we were early! It started at 11:30 a.m.! We enjoyed food and dancing and present giving and the girls were a big hit with strangers coming up to have their picture taken with them using their cell phones. They were using the backdrop of a boat and when I finally saw the name of the boat it was “White Mischief!” It is this the prediction for these 2 girls and their time here?
Sunday morning we were up early and did grocery shopping, and then packed what we could in my car and left with our friends from the UK out for a short visit following behind in their own truck. Nikki, Justin and Tom are involved in Zimbabwe Rural School s Development Program, a UK non-profit. They have helped us in building on to schools in our area and helping with desks and furniture for school as well as helping build our new school at Mukowe.
About 50 kms out of Harare we began to see some wild fires burning the bush close to the road. These are very common this time of the year when we haven’t had rain for 5 months. We were just telling the girls “you know in the States they would have the National Guard out to fight this, here we just let it burn, no big deal!” Famous last words…soon we were completely surrounded by fire on both sides of the road with flames leaping into the road and throwing flames across the road. A van traveling the opposite way was suddenly coming towards us in the smoke and we couldn’t get over because of flames, but he saw us and moved at the last moment. The car in front of me stops! It’s a petrol car and the fire is surrounding it! I am yelling and telling them to keep going so it doesn’t explode right in front of us and finally they do and we were all able to drive out. When we got to where we could pull off we waited for the other car and went on. Soon their open truck which had bags and mattresses in the back started smoldering and open flames started! They quickly came out with their drinking water and put the flames out! 1 mattress burnt up! One suitcase a bit melted on one side but no major damage. Boy we gave those visitors a show to remember on the way home! Remember we said no big deal!
We came home from Harare on Sunday and I had 1 hour to cook dinner for 9 people—oh and by the way no electricity when we arrived-ha! I had Carolyn Mereki with me so she quickly made the cake (I have been teaching her to bake and she thinks it is fun!). I put the pot of rice and mince on to brown. Lori cut up peaches and pineapple and Carolyn cut up onions and tomatoes. In 1 hour—walla—we had curry and rice for 9 people and cake for desert!
We went off for church at the hospital at 5 p.m. and came home by 6:15 p.m. to heat up dinner and it was on the table by 7:30 p.m. and guess what? The lights come on for us to eat—go figure! We finally all went to bed about 9:30 p.m. exhausted after quite a start to Liz and Lauren’s African Adventure.
Monday the girls went off with Lori to do 2 well baby clinics. Nikki and Justin and Tom went with Major to see Mukowe school which was now completed. Nikki and Justin were with us in February 2009 and helped to feed many people who were literally starving from lack of food at the time. I went to the hospital and had a long day there. We all got home and had a nice dinner about 7:45 p.m.
Tues the UK guests left us and the girls and I started in on month end reports. About half way through the morning I left them as fevers hit from a bad UTI. I woke up to hear them at lunch with a new visitor who just popped in—Zebedee Togarepi. Zebedee is a good friend who is a minister down in Chiredzi, runs a children’s home and is working with all our Christian schools in Zimbabwe. He had come by to visit our schools. So we quickly made up my guest rondoval for him and went back to work. The same day we received word that the Deputy Minister of Health would be arriving on Thursday to present us with a Lab machine and could we have lunch for 100 dignitaries ready! Major was in Harare and I Skyped him to say help! He bought 25 chickens and hurried home!
Wed major got home at 2 a.m. and we got busy in the morning scrubbing wards, getting menu’s planned and everyone working hard for the next day. Again I had to go home from work for a few hours to rest, leaving the visitors taking blood pressures and weights on 200+ pregnant women who came for their Antenatal Care. By evening I was feeling better and led Bible Study and by Thursday morning my fevers were gone and I was much better.
Thursday we worked hard to rush through all the patients. The minister was to arrive by 12 but luckily he was 2 hours late as we did our theater cases, started new people on ART, saw new out-patients, never stopping for tea or lunch until he arrived at 2 p.m. We (Dr. Zimudzi, Major and I) as the Administration met with the Minister to say thanks for what he did for us and also to throw in a few needs we had. He politely answered how he could possibly help and then we went to meet the public which was about a group of 400+ people that had gathered for the occasion. Finally about 4 p.m. we went to eat a wonderful lunch that our staff had prepared—chicken, beef, veges, sadza and rice! We were starving and tired and ate it with gusto!
By 6 I was home and had a few minutes to get ready for our Area church conference which started with dinner at 5 p.m. and services. Once a year in September we meet from Thurs night until Sunday morning. We have 42 churches in our area that we are responsible for and we have this conference each year to teach and enjoy fellowship with one another. This year we helped 40 people from our further churches in the Tonga areas to come and be with us. They live 5 hours by car one way from here and by bus over 15 hours. They walked together to one spot over 40 kms some of them to be picked up by our cars. They speak Tonga which is a totally different language than Shona and so it is exciting for the people here to learn new songs in a new language and meet fellow Christians who are so different but still worship the same God!
Each day we filled the church with more sitting on the porch outside, so we had over 600 people attend. We killed 1 cow, 2 pigs, 10 goats and 15 chickens to cook with veges and sadza! We enjoyed the singing, dancing and preaching.
For the next 3 days we went between work and church. We went to bed hearing singing from the church late into the night, there is no more beautiful sound then that.
This morning, Sunday, we started with coffee and muffins with the girls and the Mereki family before we headed for church at 7:30 a.m. to end the conference. Many had left walking at sunrise, but still there were over 400 left. This afternoon we are relaxing! What a week for the girls! We hope it calms down more this week—but don’t count on it.


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