Saturday, 1 February 2014

Record rain recorded!

Running water at Hillside
After years of praying for rain the prayers have been answered at last! There has been more rainfall this summer than there has been for many, many years. The popular local reason being that the statue of Joshua Nkomo ( a man greatly revered in Matabeleland) has at last been reinstated in the middle of the city! The water levels in the dams are rising and there was 95 mm recorded just last night where we live. This is a real blessing to those who planted maize this year. The congregation at Mazwi (Used to be St Peters) have been very blessed as they have received free seed and have planted their plots, largely through the efforts of Graham and Sarah who lead the church there.  Of course there is a reverse side to the story too.....
Water at Hillside Dams
For the people who reside in the shacks and the poor houses near the church building ramrods of rain is a mixed blessing as the families then live in a sea of mud under leaky roofs, with no way to get clothes dry. These families take great pride in keeping their children clean and well turned out and in these conditions it is a real struggle. I really don't know how they do it! The reality too is that it is a breeding ground for sickness.
Also.... producing vegetables in these conditions is a reckless pastime! Cabbages have drowned, tomatoes are ravaged by disease and weeds are rampant! Working conditions on the church site are also reaching radically difficult proportions as it is heavy clay on the site so the men stomp about in wellies caked with about 6 inches of mud. Very tiring work, for little reward. They are  always cheerful and positive, though and there is a great team spirit among them.
Its amazing to me how quickly you miss the sun! Perhaps God is preparing us for our return to British weather but we hope the sun reappears soon.

One of the children starting ECD in March
 outside her home.
I have realised afresh, recently, the challenges faced by many people here as I have been home visiting the children on the waiting list for ECD, with Samu and Maphiri, two of the teachers who are on training at the moment. We met a Mum who has 6 children but looked so young herself. When I asked Samu about her she told me she had her first child at aged 11, and this is not unusual amongst girls who have not been to school. Like many in these circumstances, she could not even write her name. This encounter served to reaffirm to me just how vital education is as a means of changing lives and giving people hope. Its hard not to react with rage at a system that discriminates against the poor who cannot afford to send their children to school! Not only are the parents required to provide uniform but also books, pens, chalks,floor polish, photocopy paper, levies, fees, teacher incentives, money for building funds... the list goes on! We just don't realise how blessed we are in the UK!

L to R Florah, Katie, Maita,(taps and Florahs oldest)
Nikki,Dolly, Noma
On a social note. We were very pleased to welcome Dolly back to Zim for a visit, after having been studying in Holland for just over a year. She attained a scholarship to study for an MA for 18 months. She was glad to get back to her husband and son for a few weeks and we had a farewell party for her just before she returned a couple of weeks ago. She will be back for good at the beginning of May. What a brave lady to go to a foreign country with all the cultural and weather differences and leave her family behind!Respect and empathy received from us !!!!
Me with Maita and Rutendo

Well, it is rumoured that another rumbustious storm is about to break. Rumbles are again rending the skies above the house. Soon rip roaring flashes will ravage the heavens and rock the foundations and "Raindrops keep falling on my head" because the roof leaks. At this point, there are two things to do... Open the door to a r-e-a-l-l-y radically terrified Izzy, so she can rush to hide under the table (great guard dog, that!) and then shut off the internet so that it doesnt blow up again.
Ready, steady..

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