4 Jun

June 2, 2017
Journal 10

Greetings from Denver,

The last week in Zimbabwe was very hectic and I could not find the time to write the final journal. Now I am home and this is the first opportunity I have had to bring this trip to a close. Many things happened the last week and many things I had to leave unfinished. Hopefully, the staff is able to move forward and see that projects are completed. Life in Zimbabwe is very difficult. Godfrey, our accountant, spends countless hours standing in line at the bank to get money. Purchases are done through bank transfers. This requires an individual to wait before they can pick up supplies. The money must clear the business bank account before supplies can be picked up. Sometimes people wait in line at the bank only to be told that the bank has no money.

The gentleman pictured here is Stewart our new religious leader on staff. He lives in the local community and has volunteered at the offices frequently. He is not an ordained pastor but has had considerable religious training. He also has a certificate in Social Work. He will be a big help to Beauty, our nurse, in helping in the care of the Orphans. His focus will be the children who need someone to talk to. He will check on them in their homes to observe their needs. Stewart will conduct early morning worship and also after school classes for any child who wants to attend not just orphans. His beginning salary is $200.00 per month if anyone would like to help out.

He is able to ride the motor bike and so will be able to get around the rough terrain. That has been a problem always. Our vehicles are showing evidence of a lot of wear and tear.

May 19 was the day of celebration. It marked the 20 years since Ralph and I made our first trip to Zimbabwe. Our goal in the beginning was to help rebuild a school. However, our focus changed when we became aware of the needs of so many children who had been left to fend for themselves after the parents had passed away, many from AIDS. Schools still need help in improving the building structures but the care of the children takes priority. HCOC provides not only meals but school fees, uniforms, school supplies and medical care. We are presently caring for more than 700 children.

A choir from one of the schools presented several musical numbers during the program. A large number of the children in the choir are orphans. I never cease to be amazed at the harmony that the children present.

One of our orphans, who is in Secondary School, presented a tribute to me for all the help we had given to the orphans like himself. Before he gave his speech, he asked for a moment of silence in Ralph’s memory. I was very touched.

It was the very last week before I had the opportunity to meet with the sewing ladies. I was pleased to see that they had expanded their group. I saw a number of younger women and was not only surprised but pleased. Women that I trained originally have dropped out for health reasons or have passed away. With younger women being involved, they have to bring young children with them. I experienced that in the beginning as well.

While these women have a few electric machines, they can’t use them because they have no meter for the electricity that Ralph had installed. Meters can cost several hundred dollars. I told them if they could save $50.00 I would come up with the rest. I just hope they can be motivated to save some of their money.

I visited the knitting co-op the same day that I visited the sewing group. I had made appointments with both groups on three different occasions and something always took priority.

These women have also expanded their group. However, they only have one of the three machines working. I have instructed them to find someone who knows how to repair the machines to come to the school and repair them. Hauling the machines over the roads will only increase the damage. I know they will have to pay transportation costs but it is the best alternative. One of the machines has missing parts. It was a new machine that I shipped several years ago. I am hoping the parts will be obtainable.

One of the most significant events of the trip is seeing the positive impact that the USADF grant has made on the organization. It is looking very positive that the grant will be renewed. However, the amount of the grant will depend on what happens on funding here to USADF. Probably the most significant thing that came from this grant is the organizational meetings that were funded. USADF has an excellent follow-up program to make certain procedures are carried out. I have been very favorably impressed. The mission is not yet financially independent but things are progressing in that direction.

Opening the butchery in Murewa has helped HCOC increase the profit on the poultry significantly. Selling live chickens to processors in Harare eliminates the need to dress the chickens but it reduces the profit considerably. Godfrey indicated, before I left, that their profit now was running well over $1.00 per bird. The profit had been sometimes less than $.60 per bird. With the Blast Freezer, they are able to dress large numbers of chickens at one time and freeze them immediately. They need a large freezer to transfer the frozen chicken to after sharp freezing. It is too expensive to store in the blast freezer.

Please pray for this mission. Pray that God’s Will be carried out. Pray for the children who depend on us for survival. In His Service, Roberta


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