August 15, 2018

19 Aug

Journal 17
August 15, 2018

Greetings in Zimbabwe,

While I was in SA, the cold left and we now have summer.  So far the weather has been mostly pleasant, except for the wind. This is August and the wind blows much of the time.  Sometimes, it is extremely strong.  I am grateful that the plumbers have put the solar water heater at the processing building on a stand next to the building.  The stand is anchored in cement.  That should provide stability and prevent damage to the building during high wind times.

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August 9, 2018

12 Aug

Journal 16
August 9, 2018

Greetings from Zimbabwe,

I returned to Zimbabwe on Tuesday evening.  I didn’t get back out to HCOC until late afternoon on Wednesday.  There are always many things to do when a vehicle goes to Harare.  Unfortunately, not much happened while I was gone.  I had suspected that would be the case.

This morning, Thursday, a group from Leeds and USADF were scheduled to come for their evaluation.  The individual from the USADF office in the U.S. was in the country.  She is the caucasian woman on the left.  Her job is to evaluate the work that is being done with USADF funds.  The gentleman in the left hand corner is from Leeds here in Harare.  He is over the people that come here periodically from Harare to look over the project and to look at the accounting of funds.  He is very familiar with the project.  He has worked with this project from the beginning.

Before the team left they toured the poultry project.  Since the first funding, the focus has been the poultry because it is a major source of income. USADF encouraged Albert to run the project at full capacity.  I had been concerned that some of the space for chickens was being wasted.  However, at the moment Albert is having difficulty getting day old chicks.  For some reason day old chicks are in short supply.  Albert explained that day old chicks are in high demand at this time of year. I feel that he should look for another supplier.  It is a shame to have facility sitting idle.

Albert took the visitors to visit one child headed household.  This boy lives alone.  He takes turns with other boys herding cattle for his uncle.  This causes him to miss school when it is his turn. We were told that he is not paid for herding the cattle.

His house is in a state of very poor repair.  The only clothes he has are what he is wearing.  They looked like if they were laundered they would fall apart.

This is an example of a child that should be in an Orphan Care Home

Albert is introducing Edwardo to the staff.  Eduardo is from Brazil and has been in Zimbabwe since January.  He will be returning to Brazil in October. Various families have hosted him during his stay but he indicates that he has not done much.  He has visited Victoria Falls.

Eduardo was brought here on Thursday by a Rotarian from Harare.  I have found him very interesting to talk to. He will be staying here for a bit over one week.  I had an opportunity to spend some time with him talking about HCOC on Friday.  He is so excited about Moringa and plans to go home and do some research.  Both he and his brother are lactose intolerant.  He is convinced that Moringa is the answer for them.

The foundation for the clinic is complete and it has been back-filled.  It needs to be settled and compacted.  Then water, sewer and power must be laid before the flooring is poured.  I have no idea when this work will be done.

There are plumbers on site.  They are working at the Moringa Processing building at the moment.  I suggested to Albert that he get a quote from them for the work that needs to be done.  I don’t know if Albert has talked to them.

Time schedules here are so different from the Western World.  It is a big adjustment.

I am getting very nervous that I am not going to be able to begin training on the schedule I had planned.  I had hoped to be able to begin training when I returned from SA.  That obviously is not going to happen.  It looks like it will be at least two weeks at the best before I can even begin with the training.  That will leave me only two weeks for training and one week to observe the workers in action.  It is not what I had hoped for.  Beauty is already talking to me about extending my stay until October.  I have told her that I can’t do that.  I think one change is all you can make on a ticket. Besides, I need to come home.  I will have been here five months.   Much has been accomplished but there is much still to be done.

Please pray for HCOC as they continue efforts to become self-supporting. They are working in that direction but it will take time.  They have to learn to work as a team.  I feel in the past few months there has been some progress made, but there is a ways to go yet.  To be honest it is a new concept to them.  In the past it has been each person just trying to survive.  That was accomplished by whatever means necessary.

I am also requesting your prayers for the orphans, especially the children who are living alone.  HCOC does the best it can but much one on one attention is needed.  This is often missing.  I must say that Stewart has done a lot to help these children.  They look up to him.  His influence has made a significant difference in school attendance and has reduced the dropout rate.

In His Service,  Roberta

 

August 3, 2018

3 Aug

Journal 15
August 3, 2018

Greetings from South Africa,

Yes, I am still in SA.  Albert called me yesterday afternoon and told me not to come back.  I have rebooked for next Tuesday, the 7th.   I hope there will not be any further delay. I am anxious to get things completed before I am scheduled to return to the U.S.

I am sorry to say that the election appears to me to be suspicious and I can understand why the people are so upset.  I am sorry that some people have been shot.  As is often the case, those shot or injured were not necessarily involved in the backlash.

I have had the opportunity to visit one of the game reserves near-by.  It was great getting to see some of the animals and to spend time with friends.  Now I am in Pretoria with other friends.  It seems like we spend a lot of time eating.  I must say, it is all very good but my will power  is not serving me well.

This is all for now. I will send word when I have returned to Harare.

Please pray for Peace and Stability for Zimbabwe.  Pray that there will be no more unrest.  Pray that the country can now begin to rebuild and move forward.

In His Service,

Roberta

July 23, 2018

26 Jul

Journal 14
Greetings from Zimbabwe,

I ran out of space on my last journal and so I am beginning with some things that I had to leave out.  The foundation is at ground level and by tomorrow the workmen should begin the back filling.  That will be time consuming since all the back-fill has to be compacted.  Then it will be time to pour the subfloor. Albert has estimated that it will take most of a month to complete that job.  When the walls begin to go up it will be possible to see progress each day. Some may be wondering if it was ever going to get to ground level, I know I was becoming a bit impatient.  I must say that the workmanship is of good quality and that really counts.

Friday, Beauty and I took salad to the kitchen at Guzha.  The children were very skeptical of the greens, especially the pre-schoolers.  Only one or two of the children actually ate the salad.  I am sure they had never had salad before.  Most of the children looked as though they had never ever had enough to eat.

I noticed that nearly all of the older children ate everything on their plates including the salad.  It has been an interesting learning experience.  Beauty feels we should continue to periodically introduce a variety of different foods.  There are several rows of broccoli in the garden.  It won’t be long before it is ready to harvest.

Interior painting is happening at the Moringa building.  The metal window frames have had the first coat on both the inside and the outside.  The painters are using a high gloss mold resistant enamel paint.  The temperature has moderated and it is a bit warmer and sunny today.  So it is a nice day for painting.

A covered veranda is being constructed at the door leading from the grinding room.  This will enable loading of product when it is raining.  There are going to be a few months during the cooler months when there will be little or no production.

Today is mild and sunny.  There is a slight breeze but not the gale force winds that we had experienced. Workers have been in the Moringa fields watering and pruning the Moringa.  There is a lot of maintenance after the cold that we have experienced. We have had no moisture and so watering is necessary.  I am really nervous that there is going to be insufficient product for processing during training.  One big step is that I have hired a process manager.

The young man in the picture is Albert a young orphan we found three years ago. He is the only surviving member of his family.  He works at the poultry and is a totally changed person.  He   seems happy and always has a smile.  This was not always the case when we first found him.

These chicks are about one week old.  This is an experimental batch.  It is being fed a special poultry mix that includes 5% Moring powder.  Because of the Moringa we do not have to give them medications in their food.  We will be interested to see how quickly they gain weight.

This batch may not give us totally accurate data since this group has not had lights 24/7.  We will be doing additional test groups to verify the findings.

At the moment we are having difficulty keeping dressed chickens at the butchery.  HCOC chickens are in high demand.  Plans are underway to open a second butchery.  HCOC has also been selling garden produce at the butchery as well as dressed chickens. The vegetables are in high demand, especially the Spinach.  Our lettuce is finished and the carrots are getting very large.  Thank goodness there is another planting almost ready for harvest.

Lumber has been delivered for constructing the bee hives.  I am not certain when the construction will take place. It possibly will not happen until next week.  The poultry workers are not happy.  They just informed us that bees love Moringa powder and they fear for the baby chicks that are being fed a mash that contains 5% Moringa Powder.  We may have a problem at the processing building when we are grinding the Moringa into powder.  This will be an interesting challenge.

These women are cutting thatching grass that grows profusely in some areas on our site.  They come and cut it to be used in composting.  Their pay is vegetables from the garden.  These are women who are living in desperate situations.  Anything like this is a help to them.  Sometimes they come with a baby tied to their back. I have some concerns about that. I am afraid of something happening to the children.  Last week two very small children were left at the gate alone while the women worked. The watchman had to keep an eye on them. I don’t think they should be responsible for children so small.

Friday, I am flying to SA to visit some longtime friends.  I need a break and some rest before I begin the training program.  I am planning to return on August 3.  I am told that the weather has been really cold there.  I hope it warms up a bit.  Today has been much warmer and I can tolerate this type of weather.  The sun is bright and only a slight breeze.  Most days the wind blows very strong.  If the house weren’t of brick, I think it would blow us away.

I probably will not send a journal next week.  So in two weeks, I will try to catch you up on what is happening here.  In His Service, Roberta

In His Service, Roberta

July 17,2018

21 Jul

Journal 13
July 17, 2018
Greetings from Zimbabwe,

The weather here is becoming an issue.  It is really cold the past couple of days.  The weather man is forecasting cold weather for the rest of this week. We had a week of cold weather earlier and then the temperatures moderated.  Now it has turned cold again.  I have to keep doing things to keep warm.  Sewing is not an activity for weather like this.  One doesn’t move around enough.  The only time I am really warm is when I am in bed; so I often go to bed at an early hour just to get warm.

Godfrey Kandia is struggling to keep baby chicks warm enough. Today they are to pick up a thousand day old chicks.  Albert is scheduled to pick up a number of heat lamps.  I hope it will be sufficient to keep the chicks warm enough. Not having adequate heat can account for the larger than normal loss of the chickens.  I have tried to explain this probably accounts for the lower than normal profit margin.  The workers have covered the large openings with two layers of heavy plastic; one layer is on the outside of the large openings and the second layer is on the inside as you can see in this photo.  This helps to protect the babies from the wind.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a local competition where interested community members displayed samples of produce from their gardens at Inyagui School.  HCOC did well and went on to the show last week held in Murewa.  They were the only group that showed Moringa seeds and powder as well as leaves.  This was a competition with all the wards in the Murewa area.  HCOC took third place.  The prizes for this were numerous.  They won a new wheel barrow, a backpack sprayer, maize seed, fertilizer and a number of other items.  As a result of their placement, they will go on to a show in Marondera on August 17. This will be a competition with groups from all over the Mashona Land East Province.  The workers are really excited about this opportunity to showcase HCOC.

Pictured on the right is one of the composting bins that was under construction when I first arrived.  The building is nearing completion. $500.00 will complete the roofing for the structure.  The structure is made up of 12 bins as pictured in the top picture.  This bin was filled yesterday when Clive visited HCOC. He introduced the first worms to the bin.  The liquid produced by the action of the worms will be directed to a trough that will run to a catch basin.  This liquid will be diluted with water and poured on the various crops.  It is a strong natural fertilizer.  The goal is to go 100% organic production and so the reason for such a large structure.  Clive indicated that the worms will break down the material in about one month.  It will take one person full time keeping the bins filled with refuse for the worms.

Clive spent time at the Moringa site as well as at the composting site. He is recommending putting in a fish pond to handle the excess water from the water harvesting tank.  Some of the water will be pumped to the Moringa fields but during the rainy season the fields may not need that much water.  In that case, the water can be pumped to the fish pond.  We are told that Tilapia will do very well.  I feel that the fish would be a cheap source of protein for the feeding center. With the water table so near the surface in this area, we will not need to line the pond with any kind of rubber liner.

Yesterday, I stopped by the clinic to pick up Beauty.  We had  plans to visit Inyagui.  The clinic was a hive of activity.  There were people waiting in line. Both Beauty and Florence were busy with different patients.  Beauty was busy caring for a woman who had been brought in by local ambulance pictured. She was very ill with what appeared to be flu.

Florence was caring for children who had, what I considered serious cases of ring worm.  The new clinic can’t get finished fast enough.  More space is top priority, especially private treatment areas.

The picture on the left shows the sink/worktable that was brought from the fabricators this week. There is a table extension that still has to be brought in.  The total length is about 5+m. or about 16 feet.  Behind the sinks is two sets of lockers for the restroom where the women will be showering and changing into uniforms.  These items at the moment are just sitting in the middle of the processing room.  Painting has to be done before anything is set into place.  Hopefully much of that will happen in the coming week.  I am really pushing because I want to begin training the women on August 6.  I can’t change me return again.

Update on the orphan I wrote about last week.  Some counseling has happened and it seems to be helping a bit. I feel so sorry for these children who are left alone through no fault of their own.  Relatives can fill in but often it turns into an abusive situation. These children often have no one to turn to.  We desperately need a full time counselor.  I am asking again for your prayers for this girl and others like her. To pray is sometimes all that can be done and it is very necessary.

In His Service,

Roberta

 

 

 

July 9, 2018

13 Jul

Journal 12
Greetings from Zimbabwe,

We have been experiencing a serious cold spell.  Over the week-end it was as low as 11 degrees Celcius.   With masonry buildings and no heat that is really cold.  I have resorted to spending a lot of time in the kitchen with the oven turned on.  It has a fan and that forces the heat into the room.  Sleeping has not been a problem and I have been warm.  The sun has finally returned this morning and the temperatures have moderated.  It is still cool but tolerable.

Saturday evening was a special event.  It was a cold evening but the venue was warm and a large crowd attended.   It was a time of handing over the Presidency of Rotary to a new President.  Albert has worked hard this year and I am sure it was a relief to have that behind him.  It has been a good year and the club has done outstanding work.  This club, I think, is the most active club in Zimbabwe.  I know of no other club that has taken on such a big project as the bridge across the river that I wrote about some time ago.   It has involved hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The bridge should be complete very soon, perhaps even before I return to the U.S.  I would love to witness the first children crossing that bridge.

Saturday evening was a special event.  It was a cold evening but the venue was warm and a large crowd attended.   It was a time of handing over the Presidency of Rotary to a new President.  Albert has worked hard this year and I am sure it was a relief to have that behind him.  It has been a good year and the club has done outstanding work.  This club, I think, is the most active club in Zimbabwe.  I know of no other club that has taken on such a big project as the bridge across the river that I wrote about some time ago.   It has involved hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The bridge should be complete very soon, perhaps even before I return to the U.S.  I would love to witness the first children crossing that bridge.

This morning I walked by the clinic site just as the workers were getting organized for the day.  The foundation walls are rising to ground level.  If you look closely, you can see the anchor walls that are supporting the main walls.  As near as I can tell, they are doing an excellent job.  The foreman of the crew indicated that they should be finished with all of the foundation walls in about six days.  So perhaps in my next journal I will be able to have a picture of the workmen back filling around the support walls and preparing to pour the slab. I am getting anxious to see the work begin above ground.

As I mentioned in an earlier journal, everything is done by hand and it just takes so much longer.  The main thing is they are doing a good job and the clinic should be here for a very long time.  It will serve many in the community as well as the orphans.

This is a picture of the processing room.  The final coat of finish is on the walls.  The final floor is in place.  Things are moving along.  The paint will be picked up today or tomorrow and they will begin painting the ceiling and walls.  Then the stainless steel sinks and work tables can be delivered and put in place. This will allow the plumbers to do all of their connections.  I am getting eager to see it all come together.

This is all good but we have run into a problem.  I believe I mentioned in an earlier journal that I was concerned that the over-flow from the septic system was going to be a problem.  We are going to have to require the plumbers to re-plumb some of the waste lines.  It will go to a separate tank.  Power will have to be run to that tank to supply power to a submersible pump.  This water will have to be pumped to a fish pond and/or the Moringa field.  Our biggest problem may be during the rainy season when the Moringa may not need irrigation.  The fish pond will be able to handle the extra water at that time.

As with all building, expenses can add up more quickly than planned. This is no exception.  The sale of the old truck helped financially with the Moringa Building but there are still a number of things to be completed.  I sat with the accountant and Albert this afternoon.    To date we have spent about $37,000.00 and It appears that I need another $10,000.00 to complete everything.  If anyone is able to help me finish this project, checks can be made to Renewed Hope Charitable Foundation and sent to P.O, Box 1476 Castle Rock, CO. 80104-1476.  I will sincerely appreciate your support.

I am hoping that in three weeks that the building will be complete and I can begin training women to do the processing.  Of the ones I train, six or seven will be selected and employed to process the Moringa.  I am anxious for this project to begin generating some income.

Two years ago I brought fabric I had at home and a pattern for sanitary wear for the orphan girls.  I thought the secondary Home Ec teacher could teach her girls to make the pads. Nothing happened, so last year I bought a Singer machine that had the zig-zag option.  That way they would not have to seam and then turn right side out. When I came this year, I found nothing being done.  So I brought the machine from the school here to the house.  I work on making the sanitary wear when I have a bit of spare time. Stewart came yesterday thinking he needed to take my picture at work.  So now you know what I do in my spare time.

This week please pray for the children that have to endure such abuse at the hands of their care givers. Hopefully, the house I am staying in will soon be approved for housing orphans, especially orphan girls.  That will mean there will no longer be guest housing.  That will have to be dealt with when the time comes.

In His Service, Roberta

 

July 2, 2018

5 Jul

Journal 11

Greetings from Zimbabwe,

I have just returned to the house from a four hour meeting with department heads.  The issue was the funding that they have to work with.  Hopefully the new vehicle will reduce the need for constant repairs, but the biggest issue is fuel.  Our location, unfortunately, requires travel to accomplish anything. Just to go to Murewa to deliver chickens to the butchery requires a minimum of 3 lt. of fuel.  The cost is $2.35 per lt.  Or another way of saying it, the trip cost for fuel is $14.70 round trip.  That of course leaves no fuel in the tank for anything else. The fuel cost of delivering food supplies to Guzha is about the same as a one way trip to Murewa.  The staff is trying to combine trips to consolidate expenses but it doesn’t always work the way it is planned.  Things are always popping up unexpectedly.  I am hoping the Moringa can generate some real income but that still remains to be determined.  Construction on the processing building is making good progress.

Saturday was the end of month prayer meeting.  It is held the last Sat. of the month.  People in Denver are praying at the same time.   We pray for concerns of HCOC as well as concerns for those in Denver. This is a picture of some of the orphans Stewart invited to participate.  A large group had gathered and it was fun to see all of them.  Since it gets dark early here, they were taken home in the truck. They thoroughly enjoyed that experience. Many of them came from the Guzha area and that is our most distant school, about 15 km from HCOC.

The finished floor at the Moringa Processing Plant is going in.  The workmen are putting in a very smooth finished floor with red oxide paint in the final floor.  This happens to be the vacuum seal room.  They poured the floor in the grinding room over the week-end. It is kept wet for several days so that it does not cure quickly.  When they are ready to do the processing room, it will be an enormous task.  It is a large room and the process is labor intensive.  I am pleased with the way the finished floor is going to look.  When the floors are complete, the smooth finish will be applied to the walls.

Early this morning workers were harvesting produce from the garden to take to Inyagui.  There is a fair taking place there today.  People from the area are asked to display some of their produce as a way to encourage the local people to produce as much of their own food as possible. The truck was loaded with various produce from the garden.  Carrots were beautiful along with head lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, Ruggeri, beans, cowpeas etc.  There is broccoli planted in the garden and also peas but neither of those crops are mature at this time.

As I was walking this morning, I passed by the clinic construction site. I was surprised to see one foundation wall complete to the ground level.  This is only Tuesday morning.  I predict that by the end of the week, the foundation will be complete or very nearly so. Then it will be time for backfilling and leveling in preparation for pouring the sub-floor.  I am excited to see things progressing so quickly.  I might add that the men are working very hard. This is intense manual labor.

If things continue at the present pace, we will soon see walls going up above ground.  Today, Wed. this is the second very long wall nearly complete to ground level.  They were preparing to turn the corner when I took this picture, Wed. a.m. the 4thof July.

This morning Mr. Guri and Mr. Bondeponde paid a visit.  Mr. Guri wanted to report on his meeting at the Provincial Education Office.  During our conversation I learned that they had purchased 240 new text books for the Secondary School yesterday.  They used the school fee money they had just received from ZMP.  While it seems like it is a large purchase, the school has an enrollment of over 500 students.  240 text books does not go as far as one might like.

I want to introduce you to this orphan.  He is in his third year at the Secondary School.  He has lost his father and lives with his mother and granny.  They have no source of income.  He has an older brother that is ill from HIV and is not doing well.  When Stewart visited this child recently he gave him some socks and under clothes that has been donated.  Stewart said that he was so appreciative.  He told Stewart that HCOC was like having a parent.

I want to thank all of you who help to support our mission.

As I bring this journal to a close,  I ask for prayers for the many projects that are underway.  Many things are happening, as you can tell from the journal. However, there is much more going on than I have space to write about.   The Moringa building is progressing nicely but we have encountered a problem with the septic tank and drain field.  We have found water too close to the surface.  I am afraid that in the rainy season, we may have issues with back-up.  Albert is calling in some advisors and hopefully we can come up with a solution. Please keep all of these projects in your prayers.  The final outcome should benefit the orphans, our primary focus.

In His Service, Roberta