Greetings from Zimbabwe: Roberta’s Journal 1

18 Jun

Greetings from Zimbabwe,

We are here Deanna, Bill, Phillip and myself!  It was a very long flight and we were all pretty tired when we finally arrived.  Flights were all on time and the flights were not full so we had extra space.  This was good.  Paul Neshangwa and his family were on the same flight with us from Johannesburg to Harare.  Albert was at the airport to greet us.  He brought two vehicles with him to haul all of us and our luggage.  We went straight to the Bed and Breakfast from the airport.

Wednesday was spent looking for a truck.  We looked at a Toyota, Nissan and an Isuzu.  Since we are an NGO we inquired about a Duty Free Price.  It appeared to make a difference of $8,000 to $10,000.  That seemed to be worth waiting to make our purchase.  It is involving some work on Albert’s part.  He has learned that it will be necessary for him to go to SA and make the purchase.  To get the Duty Free Clearance, we cannot buy a truck that is already in Zimbabwe.  Albert will have to drive it up from S.A. to Zimbabwe.  However, it is necessary for him to get all the clearances before he goes to S.A.  This is going to take some time.  We need reliable transportation now.

Sunday, Albert arranged transportation to take us to Nyahuni.  Two girls, Tracey and Petronella are being sponsored by one of Bill Jones’ daughter.  This was Parent-Teacher Conference Day and Bill wanted to meet the girls.  It was a special opportunity for us to meet a few of the teachers.  The girls were delighted to see us.  All of the teachers had nothing but praise for the girls.  They are both doing very well.  The Deputy Head indicated that Petronella stood an excellent chance of passing the exam for entrance to the University when the time comes.  I believe they both have the ability to pass the exam.

I mentioned that Albert arranged transportation to take us to Nyahuni Boarding School.  I need to explain that the transportation was one of the famous Combies.  We didn’t have to deal with many extra riders; we had more than a Combie load by ourselves.  In fact, Bill said that at one leg of the journey we had 16 people packed into a 12 passenger vehicle.  That was my first experience with Zimbabwe Transportation.

When we don’t have our own transportation, one has to rely on what is available.  Tuesday, Albert hired a private vehicle to take us to Harare.  That trip supplied another Zimbabwe experience.  We had a flat tire about 20 minutes out of Harare.  Guess what!  The jack was broken and the spare was a smaller tire than the rest on the vehicle.  After numerous attempts to flag down a passing vehicle, we did get some help and arrived in Harare safely.  Just another African experience!

The plan was for me to fly to S.A. and get the truck Ralph and I had.  Mr. Penny took me to the airport while the rest of our team went with Albert.  Mr. Penny and I made plans for him to fly to S.A. once the paper work is complete and drive back to Harare with me.  However, as I was going through security, they discovered that I had a lot of cash.  So I had to go to ZIMRA.  They were going to take anything over $10,000.  I asked how I would get it back.  They just smiled at me.  I told them that they couldn’t do that.  Fortunately, I could call Mr. Penny and he came back to the airport and I gave the extra money to him in front of ZIMRA officials.  Jeff, I am sure you can relate to this experience.

I am presently in S.A. with no further problems.  I am in the process of getting the paper work on my personal truck changed so that I can export it out of S.A. to Zimbabwe.  I will license it in Zimbabwe so that we at least have our own mode of transportation. Mr. Penny will bring the extra money with him when he flies down to meet me.

There never ceases to be new experiences every time I come to Zimbabwe.  Sometimes it is very exasperating.  All of my guests seem to be surviving.  They just roll with the punches.  We have all had some good laughs.  Bill and Phillip have been a big help and are enjoying the children.  Deanna’s time is short and so she is cramming in everything she can in the time she has.

In His Service,

Roberta

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