Monday, 23 July 2012

Buildings and finance

Zesa is on and, although I have a mountain of washing up to do, after a dinner party last night, I'm choosing to write to you, our faithful followers! Zesa may well go off in the middle, so be warned this post may end very abruptly.. Supplies have been very erratic this past two weeks as the weather is distinctly cold in the evenings and mornings. We managed to track down some coal and have lit the fire a few evenings, but the chimney smokes so badly, its not a pleasant experience!!
The days are still quite hot so its a problem to know what to wear if you go out and are going to be out all day (common to you in England too).

Dave has been getting his hands (and everything else) dirty this week as he has been with the men putting down the concrete slab of Taurai's house. He had to sack the builder as he was pushing the price up all the time, so now it is a do-it-yourself build... Poor Taurai (joking)
They are going to try a new method of building using a thing called Finbuilder. Its a good thing we have Brad on board as the only thing Dave has built is a barn!!
I think he is enjoying doing something practical, although he says he is feeling his age.

I have somehow got roped into helping Taps and others develop workbooks for Foundations 4 Finance for use in life groups. (Finance is a big issue here as nobody has any money, people live by borrowing from friends, family etc.) Gottried Hetzer, who is an academic has written the books and my job is to try to bring the content down several levels for the ordinary man in the street and down again for the rural folk who possibly can't read at all. Quite a challenge, especially as I'm having trouble understanding some of Gottfried's material. Still its keeping me busy and out of mischief!

Taps and Flora are away for a well deserved holiday, without the children for a few weeks.
We are looking forward to a break when Martin and Polly arrive on Thursday and will fill you in on their visit later, hopefully with photos. Until then.....

Monday, 16 July 2012

Kidz Klub and winter has arrived!!

Well winter weather has arrived and it is much colder here, though still with cloudless skies (sorry England!) Most of the trees are bare of leaves, although there are still some colourful flowering bushes around. As we don't have a bore hole here and water is expensive our lawn is completely dried up, but will recover as soon as the rains start in October.  I've just listened to Grahams latest sermon on 'Integrity'. Brilliant, as always, and so helpful. This is a key element missing from society here and, I guess, most places.  People seem to find it easy to lie and so it makes trust a difficult issue! Reliability is also an issue here, so its hard to plan. Despite all this there are some real gems in the church and we love them anyway!

Ma Pirri doing her object lesson
It was exciting to be able to do the first Kidz Klub at 1BD on Saturday. As they had never heard of Kidz Klub or seen anything like it out here, I was a little concerned as to how it would come over, to say the least. But the team came up trumps and it was a great success with about 120 kids there by the end!!( African timekeeping !)

The only problem arose when the three team captains (middle aged ladies) disagreed over the result of a race and had a stand up argument!! It would never happen in Eastbourne...
One of the races
I think it happened because they were all soooo involved! I'm hoping that they soon get hold of the vision and take on more and more responsibility for planning and running the club. We are not officially doing home visiting at the moment as many of the kids live in tin shacks, scattered over a large area, but I'm hoping the helpers who live nearby will keep motivating them and encourage them to come to church. Also home visiting sheets would not work as the kids don't have crayons and we need to get things photocopied at a shop and it is very expensive. I'm sure it will evolve over time.

Yesterday Dave preached at Trenance on 'How to pray' as Taps is doing a 'How to' series at the moment. He based it on the Alpha talk and made it very visual and interactive, because that works best here. Last week Flora and Samanga (the wife of the elder at Hamara) did a tag preach on how to read your Bible which, again was very practical and a couple of people gave a testimony this week of how it had changed their quiet times which was very encouraging.

Next week Martin and Polly arrive for their visit, which is very exciting for us. We are looking forward to hearing how things are going in the Seaford church and how everyone is..We miss friends and especially family, but we know the joy of the Lord is our strength and we hold fast to Him.

Look forward to receiving some messages. (Thank you Ted, you are a star, even if your comments are a BIT CHEEKY!)

Friday, 6 July 2012

Family Fun and Hard Work

Nathy and Danny at Hillside Dams (looking a bit lost!)
Yes we have finally got our residency through and now don't need to go to immigration every month to get our passports stamped!! HOORAY... It also means we don't need to keep handing over money (we do a lot of that here!) and we get to go to the tourist sights cheaper than non residents.WOW. Seriously, it does give us a sense of being here more permanently and we can relax a bit. (but only a bit!!!) Honestly we didn't realise retirement would be so tiring or challenging! But God is good.
On Fathers Day, Heather, Dave and the family arrived for a two week holiday. We had such a lot of fun, have loads of lovely memories together with loads and loads of photos! Unfortunately my son- in- law has such a swish camera I'm having trouble uploading them!! Will keep trying.. I also had a birthday BBQ with friends we have made here.
plucking chickens
We did a variety of things while they were here to try to give them a true picture of Zim. Of course we did the touristy things and saw lots of wild animals which the children loved and also visited people from the church and some of the projects we are involved in. They met our lovely hairdressers and Edmund our broiler outgrower and even saw some chicken being slaughtered, plucked and dressed!

We also visited a small orphanage and school that is running in Trenance and Hamara school which the church has taken over the running of on Hamara Farm. The boys loved meeting the children and even asked questions in a small group to encourage the older children in grade three to use their English. Dave had brought a football from England and gave it to them after demonstrating his skills!! They loved that.

Nathy and Danny at the orphanage school

While we were staying in the Motopos, we visited Stephen and Molly Manhanga in Kezi. Stephen is the leader of the Newfrontiers Crossroads Church. It is way out in the bush and held in an amazing thatched building which the East Grinstead church financed, I believe. They have recently been given a plot of land by a local lady, who we visited as well. Stephen is developing a little farm there with chicken, cattle and pigs and a small area for agriculture. He uses this as a training ground and also a place to bless the community. Most still live in mud and thatch houses, built by the ladies, I must add! Molly regularly writes a blog and interviewed Dave and Heather which they found quite amusing.
The men working on the pipeline for water. (notice Dave is not working)
This week Dave has started employing 5 men to work on the land. Three of them were previously unemployed and one of them homeless. He is staying in the church building at the moment. It is amazing what these guys will put up with in order to have a job! They are happy to sleep on the floor and cook sadsa over an open fire outside. There is still no electricity at the building so its candles and early nights too! We have provided them with work suits which they are very proud of..
They have finished planting up Lewis' land with rape, beans, carrots and spinach and are now digging a trench to get water connected at 1BD. The council put in a meter but connected to the mains at the opposite end of the site to the building. Well This Is Africa!!  Sentences are often finished with TIA when things get a bit frustrating.
As soon as water is in the building (2 weeks?)we will start applying for permission to open an Early Childhood Development Centre. Hopefully this will be quite straightforward as we come under the rural council which has a lot less requirements than the city council.
Kidz Klub (Zimbabwe style) starts on July 14th! We will not run every week to start with but hopefully I will be able to get enough good helpers who will be keen and willing to take responsibility. Language is obviously a problem for me but thankfully Tendai and several others have very good English to be able to translate as the younger children's English is very limited. They can all say "How are you?" "I'm fine" and their name and that is about it, although all lessons are done in English in School.
Sorry not many photos. Rubbish Internet here!