March 25, 2017

29 Mar

Greetings from Zimbabwe,

Today is Saturday and Susan has only one more day here. On Monday we will be taking her to Harare to catch her flight home. She is not looking forward to getting on a plane again so soon. I am going to miss her terribly. I will be all alone after she leaves. Thank goodness I have a lot of things to accomplish and so I will be very busy.

Susan’s time here has been all too short; but she has been able to do and see a lot in that short time. Hopefully, someday she will be able to come for a longer period of time.

Albert and I will be staying in town overnight on Monday. I have reserved a room at Elizabeth’s for the night. I am hoping we can accomplish some things Tuesday morning before the Rotary meeting. Albert and I hope to make another trip to Harare Institute of Technology for further discussion about a solar dryer for Moringa.   Tuesday morning before Rotary might be one possibility. I would like to get a solar system on site for testing before I leave, if possible.

Beauty took Susan and I to visit Maud on Friday morning. Maud is the girl that had been very ill in July when Deanna and Jackie were here. The grandmother resisted letting Beauty take Maud to the hospital. Eventually Beauty and Albert were able to convince her that it was the only way Maud could survive. When we saw her, one would never know how ill she and been. I gave Maud a quilt that Kathy Kramer had given to me just before I came on this trip. It was made by some Syrian women living in a refugee camp in Jordan. In the four corners are the words Faith, Hope, Love and Peace embroidered in both English and Arabic. The smile on Maud’s face says more than words. She loves the quilt.

Friday, USDAF inspectors arrived for a final audit. This is the end of the two year grant of $100,000. On the right is Doreen in the background. She is the USDAF representative here in Zimbabwe. The woman in red and the man next to her are from LEEDS, the audit firm used by USADF. They are the people who set up the accounting system at the beginning of the grant. I must say that is probably the most helpful thing they have done. It has been a real blessing.

The white gentleman on the left is the USADF representative from Washington D.C. The group was to arrive at 10:00 am but because of the poor conditions of the roads, did not arrive until nearly noon. They made a brief visit to the poultry project and then came to this house for a meeting. They went through the final report that HCOC must fill out before the end of the month. I must say, some of the questions were very probing and difficult to answer.

HCOC is hopeful of getting a renewed grant of $250,000 for five years. One of their goals is to purchase a large truck for hauling stock feed and supplies and the other is to build another poultry run to increase their production. Godfrey indicated that their profit is about $1.00 per bird. This is an improvement over the beginning. Profit in poultry comes from volume not individual price.

This picture gives you an idea how tall the maize is at HCOC. Unfortunately the massive rains they had early is going to effect the yield. Everywhere you look there is maize or some other crop growing. Every inch of tillable land has been planted and replanted with second crops. They have squash, green peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, rugare and much more. Unfortunately, a lot of it will be ready for harvest near the same time. Some of it cannot be preserved.

Pray that God will lead us to find someone who can spend full time ministering to the orphans. They need someone who helps them know Jesus and turn to him for their support. It is so difficult for us in the U.S. to understand what these children have to cope with.

In His Service,
Roberta

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March 21, 2017

21 Mar

Journal 1
March 22, 2017
Greetings from Zimbabwe,

The trip over went without issues. I had a lovely young man to escort me around Dubai airport. Without him I think I might be permanently lost in the Dubai airport. It is the largest airport I have ever been in and I have been in many over the years. From Seattle to Dubai I was able to sleep although not terribly comfortably.

Susan and I overnighted in Dubai. It would have been perfect if we could have both slept the entire night. Unfortunately we wakened in the early morning and could not get back to sleep.

We arrived in Harare on time, in fact a bit ahead of schedule. Sailed through customs in record time; Albert was surprised to see us so soon. Elizabeth was ready for us and after a light supper we were off to bed.

Wednesday was a day spent debriefing with Albert. We had a lot of catching-up to do.   We discussed issues that the organization is facing. Most of our time was focused on the clinic plans for new construction.

Thursday we drove northwest of Harare about three hours to a small village named Doma. Out of Doma about 12 km is an orphan center on about 140 hectares. It is an amazing project and we were all very impressed. Their mission is much larger than ours but the founders Kevin Fry and his wife Susan live full time here. Their son and family live here as well. They employ about 150 full time employees. Many more part time workers are used. A very large part of this rural area benefit from their organization. There is too much to tell in this journal but you will continue to hear me talk about it at home.

Their clinic is a U-shaped structure made out of shipping containers. It forms an open court yard in the middle which serves as a reception and registration area. They serve about 8,000 patients a year. The bulk of their medicines are herbal medication and they treat these people for about $1.00 per person per year. They have a local woman on staff who is an herbalist. Beauty would like to go and take classes.

Many of their patients come from the surrounding community. It develops good will among the community at large. The jobs they provide gives jobs to many families that would otherwise be unemployed.

After shopping, we arrived at HCOC about 1:30 and 2:00. No time to relax. A meeting was about to begin regarding the Moringa Project. We moved our suitcases into our rooms and took our seats for the meeting. Introductions were made and I must admit I was not prepared to sit in a lengthy meeting.

Dr. Chris Gadzirayi is professor of Science Education at Bindura University was present with three of his students. They were here because they want to get involved with our Moringa Project. Prof. Gadzirayi said that our plot of Moringa is the largest in Zimbabwe. He also was so surprised to see the condition of our Moringa. He said it was the best that he had seen.

The students harvested some leaves for experiments but we received word this morning that they were not useable. I was certain this would happen. I even suggested that they would need refrigeration in order to transport it successfully. Now they know!

Professor Ngoni Cherinda is employed by Harare Institute of Technology. He was here with three of his students. One of the things they were interested in is the drying of Moringa. They have been building dryers for the fruit and vegetable industry for a number of years. They are interested in building dryers for Moringa. I am hoping to make a visit to their workshop to see what they are doing and how it might work for Moringa.

Today, Susan and I rode with Beauty as she drove to visit some of the orphans. This is a picture of Albert the orphan that we helped in 2015 when Pastor Erik visited. If you remember, Erik helped when the work began on Albert’s rondavel. Albert did not want to return to school and so he has been employed here at HCOC in the poultry project. He is like a new person. He has saved his money and has just finished a two room house. The woman next to him is his young wife. There was a large garden of maize and squash growing near his rondavel. He is so happy.

Susan and I are doing well. Once we arrived, we are constantly busy. In a way that is good. Tomorrow, I will go to Harare. I will go to Elizabeth’s to send emails. There is no service here at HCOC. I will shop for groceries and other items that are needed.

We desperately need a new and larger clinic on HCOC site. Please pray with us that money will be donated to help us reach our goal of $40,000.00 that we estimate it will cost. Albert already feels that Rotary will provide the funds for the equipment and furnishings that will be needed.

In His Service,
Roberta

 

November 16, 2015

15 Dec

Journal 9
November 16, 2015
Greetings from Zimbabwe,

I Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 5.15.31 PMvisited the Secondary School last week for the purpose of interviewing Mr. Guri, the Headmaster and Morris Makuwe, the Science Teacher. On the left is a clip from the video that I recorded. I am happy to report that I saw many positive things happening at the school during my visit. Windows had all been repaired including locks. Burglar bars were in place. The classroom had been completely repainted and new classroom furniture was in place. What a change in appearance. The classroom doors were in the process of being replaced including security doors. I am praying that this project is selected by Castle View High School. The school has been working to deserve potential funding.

Late in the day, yesterday, Albert brought these two gentlemen to meet me. They are both Pastor friends of Albert’s. The gentleman on the riScreen Shot 2015-12-13 at 5.15.37 PMght used to work for Christian Care in Harare. He was instrumental in introducing Doreen from USADF to this mission here at HCOC. It was a pleasure to meet these gentlemen and we had a brief visit before it began to rain. The rain was very welcomed but not as significant as is needed. This year has been predicted to be a year of drought and it is starting out that way. Moringa and everything else is suffering.

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 5.15.43 PMYesterday, Albert took me to visit an ILO (International Labor Organization) project. Ward 1 was selected because of the work here of HCOC and the Moringa that is being grown here. ILO selected 60 of the poorest families in the Ward. They organized them into two groups and land was selected based on where they lived. On the left I am walking with the Council Woman for this area. Behind you can see a two room building for the guard with a solar panel on the top. Solar pumps water from the near-by river to a storage tank on a stand at a high point of the land. They use gravity fed water to irrigate the potatoes and butternut squash.

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 5.15.49 PMOn the right is a picture of some of the women working. The field was covered with women everywhere. Usually children are afraid of white people when they first see them but this little fellow came up to me right away and wanted to shake my hand. There is potential here to expand their project and grow Moringa. My concern is using river water to irrigate with. The water will have to be tested before any serious planting takes place. The land would also have to be fenced to keep out the cattle and goats. ILO organizes the women into groups and provides the money for the infrastructure and the initial seed, etc. When the crop is harvested, 20% of the money is saved for next year’s inputs. The remainder of the money is divided equally between the women in the co-op. I will be interested in how this turns out.

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 5.15.57 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 5.16.02 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 5.16.06 PMThis is another ILO project in Ward 1. The soil here is far superior to the first project. They are also pumping water from the river by solar power to a tank standing at a high point. There is an abundant land available but would need to be cleared. As in the other case, the river water would have to be tested. One advantage is this is a larger river and there is a constant flow of water. I am not aware of cattle around this area either. It is a very poor area.

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 5.16.11 PMTwo surveyors arrived early this morning. They are surveying the entire property. The primary focus is the placement of the Moringa Processing Building and the drainage. I want them to consider the amount of turn space a big semi-truck will require and loading ramps.Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 5.16.16 PM

Later the Architect arrived with his assistant. We had a meeting with Albert and the staff to review the drawings and to make changes that we saw. I am not comfortable doing this; Ralph was the architect and the engineer, I am not. Innocent’s house is nearly complete. Since this picture was taken last week, the house has been plastered inside and out and the floor has been poured. All that remains is the window panes and the doors to be hung. I am confident that will take place this week.
Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 5.16.21 PMMy concern is that Innocent is finished with Secondary School and is not prepared to do anything. HCOC cannot continue to support him and others like him. I have recommended that he come here and work in the poultry when extra help is needed and his pay would be food supplies and/or materials to start his own poultry project. This will be my last communication from Zimbabwe. I will be heading to Colorado Monday night. I am leaving with many things still not complete. I am concerned about the orphans who have no one and have finished school. They have to do something to support themselves. Sending them to a trade school is an option but it would cost more money. Ralph’s dream at one stage was to develop a trade school here on site. It just won’t happen anytime soon because of funding.

As I bring this to a close, please pray for these young people who need to learn to support themselves. They are very vulnerable at this point. At the moment, in this area, no orphan has been arrested for theft, or other petty crimes. The authorities have credited HCOC programs for child headed households as being a contributing factor. In His Service, Roberta

November 8, 2015

18 Nov

Greetings from Zimbabwe,

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 7.27.43 AMScreen Shot 2015-11-18 at 7.27.49 AMThis has been the most unusual spring in Zimbabwe that I have ever experienced. A couple of weeks ago it was extremely hot. Then early last week we had a hard downpour and the locals said the rainy season had begun. It cooled off significantly. I can’t remember such cool temperatures this time of year and it remained cool until today. It is hotter today but not uncomfortably so and there has been no more rain. I am concerned for the people that began to plant maize. If we don’t get more rain in the next day or so, the maize will not germinate.

Last week when I happened to stop by the clinic, it was a busy place. On the left Florence is preparing to take the blood pressure of a local woman. Outside you can see mothers waiting with small children and infants. They come to see Beauty and Florence for many reasons. We desperately need a larger clinic; one with a proper waiting room so patients don’t have to sit on the ground.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 7.28.56 AMThis little girl pictured on the left is 10 years old. She has one older sister about 11 or 12 and three younger sisters. Her mother is mentally disturbed and left the family more than a year ago. The father has taken another wife who is little more than a girl herself and she is pregnant. The child pictured was raped, by a 40 + year old man, about a week ago and spent several days in the hospital. Her six year old sister was also molested. The perpetrator was finally captured and put in jail. This is an example of a family of vulnerable children. They are in the care of two adults but are not being cared for or provided for. These children need to be housed here on site where they are in clean pleasant surroundings and have loving care. Dorothy, Albert’s daughter, who has recently graduated with a degree in Social Work, is volunteering at HCOC and will begin tomorrow the process of getting HCOC registered to house children on site. This will change our status from a PVO to an NGO. Please keep children like this in your prayers. They have so many strikes against them

We had visitors yesterday from LEAD, the company contracted by USADF to monitor projects that they have funded. The gentlemen spent most of the day here, first checking out the poultry project before sitting down to review the books. They were very impressed with what they saw at the poultry project. In fact they commented on the fact the production had exceeded the goal that they had set for HCOC in the beginning.

Much of the time was spent checking the books and the system of accounting. There were only some minor changes that they recommended. This involves the new accounting system required by USADF. Charles and Godfrey had received some training in the very beginning but nothing in depth. Yesterday, they learned in more detail how to make the system work for them. When I visited with Charles this morning, he felt that their time, while very intense had been extremely helpful. He has a better handle on how to move forward. Future audits will be much simpler. I am excited to see things evolving and the future looks promising.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 7.28.19 AMThe picture on the right is the foundation being dug for another staff house. As things continue to expand at HCOC, there is always going to be need for housing. In the future the house I am staying in will not be available for visitors. Hopefully, it will soon be housing vulnerable children, especially girls. I haven’t spoken with Dorothy and so I don’t know what she learned about the next step forward in getting this house registered. The house that is started here may end up housing guests until it is needed for staff. They are to build until they run out of money and then put things on hold until more funding is available.

Friday, Albert and I made another trip to Harare. The Architect called and asked to meet with us to make a preliminary review of the plans for the Processing Building for the Moringa. Of course, other things always crop up that need to be dealt with while we were in Harare. It was 7:30 or nearly 8:00 pm before we arrived back here. Ten minutes later Albert called me and said that we needed to go back to Harare the next morning early. Doreen had called Albert and requested a meeting at 10:00 on Saturday morning. It was a short night.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 7.28.26 AMDoreen Chimwara, on the right, is the person heading up the USADF office here in Zimbabwe. She is over all of the projects that have been awarded in Zimbabwe. Jennifer Katchmark is stationed in Washington D.C. and heads up all of the projects for USADF in Africa. She had just arrived in Zimbabwe and will be here through November 27 reviewing some of the projects that have been funded by USADF. They focused their attention, during our brief meeting, on Albert. I did have the opportunity to point out that the vehicles are being used for transporting a lot of chickens to market and yet that is not being funded for through this grant. I feel that a percentage of the wear and tear on the vehicles plus fuel and maintenance should be covered by proceeds from the poultry. I plan to ask our bookkeeper to track the use of the trucks for poultry and try to determine a percentage of the expenses be paid for by the income from the poultry. One of the emphases of the meeting was pointing out that some of the profit must be used for the running of the mission. They were encouraging Albert to begin a bit of this as early as January. Albert is hopeful that they may be able to pay the Primary School Fees. This would be a good beginning.

A new poultry run is under construction. Albert is hopeful it will be completed by the end of December. This will allow them to almost double their production. It will also mean more truck trips.

I am late getting this journal out to everyone. There is so much more that is happening but will close and get this out to all of you.
Please pray for the orphans. I especially ask for prayers for the vulnerable children. Some of them are needier than the child-headed households. I especially ask for prayers for the little girls who were sexually abused. They have a long road to healing.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 7.27.43 AMIn His Service, Roberta

October 28, 2015

2 Nov

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 7.01.18 AMChris is on the motor bike that was purchased last year. I believe Susie and Parker Smith were instrumental in getting this purchased. Chris takes very good care of the bike and it saves Chris a million steps a day. He is now in charge of not just the Moringa but also the poultry project and the vegetable gardens. Chris makes many trips a day going from one project to another checking on things. He also makes trips to the outlying schools with vegetable deliveries. It is easier on the fuel bill than one of the trucks.

Chris left for Nairobi yesterday, Sunday the 25th. He is there for training on the new brick molding machines that we have recently purchased. The calls Albert has received indicate that Chris is very impressed with the machines. He is excited to get back here and begin putting them to good use. These bricks will not have to be fired and they require little mortar in construction. This should reduce building costs considerably.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 7.01.25 AMTafadzwa, pictured on the right, is Albert’s oldest child. She graduated on Friday from Midlands University in Masvingo. Albert and Beauty drove down for the ceremony. They left here on Thursday and spent the night in Harare. Very early Friday morning they drove on to Masvingo needing to be there by 9:00 am. After the graduation ceremony they drove back to Harare with Tafadzwa (Dorothy). It was an exhausting trip but an exciting one. I took the picture of Dorothy on Sat. when they arrived back at HCOC.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 7.01.32 AMToday, Thursday, while I had access to a vehicle, I drove to the Moringa fields. I was disappointed to see it not growing bigger. However, without irrigation it is struggling to grow at all. The rains have not started and we do not have drip irrigation. It is something that we desperately need. I am afraid that overhead irrigation will not work for Moringa. I am concerned that it could produce mold on the leaves. So raising funds for drip irrigation is the next thing on the list of needs. Tomorrow, Albert and I will be making the trip to Harare again. Albert has arranged for us to meet with a Structural Engineer. He is a Rotarian from a different club.

Hopefully, he will go easy on his charges to us. Albert plans to break ground for the Processing Building before I leave here. It will take some time to build the building. Equipping it will also be a major undertaking. Starting the structure will give hope to the community members who have already begun to raise Moringa.

A new batch of chickens has just arrived. They came to get some Moringa to add to the feed. They are separating out a small group of chicks that will be fed the Moringa, while the rest will be fed the normal commercial feed along with the maize. I am betting that the control group will have a faster weight gain than the standard group. I will keep you posted on what develops.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 7.01.39 AMToday, was the assigned day for Nursing and Social Services to have use of one of the trucks. So I took Dorothy to visit Innocent’s place and to see the progress on his house. The workmen were there laying the brick and setting the window frames. Innocent was there observing. Dorothy spent considerable time with him, helping him make some plans for moving forward. He would like to raise a garden and some maize but has no tools. He would also like to re-establish his poultry project, so that when he markets a few chickens he will have money to buy clothes etc. I can’t even imagine how hopeless life must seem to some of these children.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 7.01.46 AMDorothy also needed to check on the progress of the Rondavel for Albert, another orphan that I have written about previously. Things have moved slowly because we have been waiting on a shipment of cement. I have just been told that the truck is in Murewa, waiting on an escort to HCOC. Clever, our driver has just left to go meet the truck and lead it back here. These are some of the challenges of being so remote.

I hear it thundering in the distance. There have been a lot of clouds today and it is the time of year when the rains should begin. Hope the cement gets unloaded before the rains hit.

Some of you have written asking specifically some ways you could help the child-headed households. Albert and I have discussed it at length. Albert feels that for those who further schooling is not in the cards, we should look at ways for them to become self-supporting.

One of the ways is for them to raise their own maize and garden vegetables. This will require a sickle and a hoe. The total cost would be about $12.00. To raise a small field of maize would require two bags of compound D at a cost of $60.00. One bag of top dressing would cost $35.00. Five Kgs. of maize seed would cost about $15.00

Some are interested in raising a few chickens to eat and to sell. The cost of building a fowl run would be about $150.00 plus the roof sheeting for another $72.00. 10 laying hens would cost $50.00. I am purposing that they raise some Moringa for their own use as well as to feed to the chickens.

This has been a very busy week and I am late getting this journal on its way.

In closing I would like for you to pray for the orphans who are all alone. It is a sad existence and we are working hard to provide housing here on site with a house mother. For some, they have reached the age where that is not an option. We are doing what we can to help them to provide for their own needs. We can’t turn our backs just because they have turned 18 or 19.

In His Service, Roberta

October 20, 2015

23 Oct

Journal 5
October 20, 2015 Greetings from Zimbabwe,

This has been a busy week and I have delayed getting a weekly report off. In addition, I have had some computer problems or else it is the internet service here. Bryce worked on it yesterday from Houston but still not right.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 8.36.07 AMThe Rotary Club that Albert belongs to, recently had a dinner/dance fund raiser for two of their projects. Their major focus is on building a foot bridge across a very large river so that children can cross to school safely. The past records show that an average of five children lose their lives each year trying to cross to school.

Their other project is HCOC. So HCOC will get half of the money raised. This money will be used to equip the new poultry run that was started this week. On our way to Harare this morning we delivered 50 live chickens that had been ordered in Murewa. Albert had another 20 chickens dressed and frozen in the cooler for people at Rotary.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 8.36.13 AMLast Thursday morning, I had an 8:00am meeting with the Secondary School Headmaster and senior teachers to talk about the Science Lab Building. Tom Staab has been working with a group of students at Castle View High School to help equip the Science Lab here. Presently, they don’t even have electricity and certainly no lab equipment. One option is to use solar power. The major concern that I addressed was security and maintenance of the building. They recognized the problems and promised to address them while I am still here.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 8.36.20 AMLater in the morning, Dorothy and I drove to Guzha to present prizes to students who have shown outstanding progress in their studies. On the way to Guzha, we dropped Florence, the nurse aid, at Inyagui. She needed to spend some time with orphans and check on their medications. On our return trip we stopped at Inyagui to pick up Florence and to present prizes to those students also.

The children at Guzha were dismissed and gathered under a huge shade tree for the presentation. Since the new secondary school, Chenhuta, meets at Guzha, they gathered with the primary students. The top three students were given prizes. Each child received a solar light, a pen and pencil and a tooth brush and a tube of tooth paste. Some of these prizes were things that Erik had brought with him.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 8.36.25 AMThe children were so happy to receive the prizes. Many of the things that Erik brought with him were placed in the storeroom and will be used for prizes for the end of next school term. The teachers indicated it does give the children an incentive to try their best to achieve.

The rest of the soccer balls donated by CACC Physical Therapy in Parker were also presented to the soccer teams at Guzha as well as Inyagui.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 8.36.31 AMScreen Shot 2015-10-23 at 8.36.38 AM
Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 8.36.44 AMI had to include the picture on the left. As we gathered under the tree at Guzha for the presentation of prizes, I looked down in front of me. In the midst of many bare feet were these feet with shoes, no laces, and holes in the sole and two shoes that did not match. Oh, how I wish we could resume Humanitarian Aid Shipments that we used to send. We often had boxes and boxes of shoes and they always found feet that fit.

Jarman is working on resuming shipments and feels he is beginning to find a way forward. It has been a challenge.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 8.36.49 AMPoultry is becoming a demanding business here at HCOC. Every three weeks a new batch of 1,000 baby chicks is delivered. All these birds must be marketed. Yesterday, Albert was able to find a buyer in Harare that will buy any number of dressed chickens each week up to 1,500 birds. This project has certainly had its growing pains but seems to be moving in the right direction. They have improved the profit margin to $1.50 per bird. When the new poultry run is complete, it may be necessary for a new batch of baby chicks to be delivered every two weeks rather than every three weeks. Albert left at 5:30 am today to make a chicken delivery to the new client in Harare. It is Albert’s goal that the poultry profit will soon be able to pay for Primary School Fees as well as provide a meal of chicken for the Feeding Centers on a regular basis.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 8.36.55 AMMaria Nyamunokora is a student at Cheunje Secondary Boarding School. She is being sponsored by a Renewed Hope donor. Maria has shown real potential. Recently she was awarded the top prize in Agriculture and in Geography. The prizes were a new set of sheets and pillow cases for her bed in the dorm and a new electric iron. We are so proud of her achievements. She wants to further her education after Secondary and would like to study Biology.

I found out a couple of days before the awards ceremony that she did not have a pair of shoes. I sent money to Cheunje for them to buy shoes for her when they went to Harare. As you can see in the picture, she is wearing her new shoes.

These kids are so alone. With so many it is difficult for HCOC to keep informed of the needs of individual children. I am so glad that I learned of her need before the big Awards Day Ceremony.

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 8.37.00 AMIn June, Charles Makwangwara joined the staff at HCOC. Albert said that HCOC interviewed six candidates for the position. I had met Charles in 2013 when the audit was done at the Secondary School. He was familiar with the operation here. At the moment USADF is paying Charles’ salary. The present grant runs until March 2017. Charles has been such a help to Godfrey and has taken a load off of him. Godfrey is now able to concentrate more on administrative issues. He no longer has to work week-ends and nights.

Most of you probably don’t know that HCOC received a $100,000.00 grant from USADF (United States Agricultural Development Foundation) in June. Half of the money is to be spent on staff and operations development. The other half is primarily for the development of the poultry project. Electrical power lines have already been installed to the poultry project. They have purchased a large commercial freezer that will hold 400 plus chickens at one time. Another poultry run is being constructed at the moment.

USADF has conducted several workshops. One was a week long on managing Human Resources. Another workshop was on Financial Management. Another workshop was on USADF requirements. I won’t go into all of the detail that Albert has shared with me. I will only say that there has been an enormous change in the atmosphere around here. It is all very positive.

Another bit of news is that HCOC received a smaller grant through ELMA, a philanthropic group out of Johannesburg. It was for $20,000 and has very strict restrictions on what it can be used for. One thing it is funding is fabric for the making of orphan uniforms and yarn for jerseys. Albert is optimistic that this grant will be renewed and for more money. ELMA funded an audit in June. They sent a firm from South Africa named Grant Thorton. I am very pleased to say that HCOC passed with flying colors. I am certain this will play a role in a future grant.

Things have really changed around here. It is all positive. I can’t believe how far things have come in the last four years. God works wonders when we put our trust in him. Albert is such a Godly man and is surrounding himself with a staff that puts God first. The 15 minutes of prayer in the morning has changed some of our workers lives. It is so exciting to witness all of this.

This is way too long. I must close but felt it necessary to share the information. Please remember HCOC in your prayers. What a difference they are making in many children’s lives. Without HCOC these children would have been cast aside, many would have perished. Praise God for providing so many dedicated workers.

In His Service, Roberta

October 3, 2015

9 Oct

Greetings from Zimbabwe,

The pace has changed a bit since Erik left. We were on the fast track during his stay. Albert did his best to show Erik as much as possible during the days he was here. Erik indicates that the trip home was more taxing than coming over. I don’t look forward to that part of the time here.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 6.33.42 AMOn Monday, September 28, Erik’s last day at HCOC, we went to Albert Kambanga’s home. He is an older orphan but is struggling to exist. He has buried both of his parents and all of his siblings. He has no immediate family. His Rondavel was in serious need of repair. The termites had caused serious problems.     Albert gave Erik a uniform and said we had work to do. When we arrived, the thatching had already been removed and preparations were under way to put a new roof on.
However, more serious structural problems had to be addressed first.     Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 6.33.54 AMIn addition, the homestead had no toilet. Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 6.33.48 AMA pit was dug in preparation of building a new toilet.The little girl in the picture at the left was from the neighborhood and loved having her.
This morning before church, Albert and I drove to the site to see what progress had taken place during the week. We found that a new door frame had been installed, the walls had been plastered with cement inside and out and a new thatched roof was in place. Two window frames had been installed for lighting and ventilation. Albert, the boy who lives alone, was busy helping the builder. They were preparing to put a new floor in the rondavel. More improvements are needed but this is a super beginning.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 6.33.59 AMIn the picture on the right, Georgina Martin is on the left. She spent overnight with us a week ago. She is from the UK and taught at Nyamashato Secondary School for one year 20 years ago. She came here right after graduating from college. Recently she had found Renewed Hope website on line and had communicated with me for about a year. She was in Johannesburg on business and took time to fly to Harare to visit the place she remembered. She knew that I would be here and wanted to meet up. We had a packed few hours trying to catch up. She was very impressed with all that she saw. Her hope is to raise money for the mission. We never seem to have enough.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 6.34.05 AMScreen Shot 2015-10-09 at 6.34.10 AMA week ago, the schools recognized outstanding students. It was on this day that Erik and I passed out some of the items we had brought with us for the students. On the left the Secondary School soccer coach is seen holding two of the balls we brought with us. On the right two outstanding Primary School children are holding the balls that we gave to their school along with an air pump. These will be much appreciated during competition. Thanks to CACC Physical Therapists for their donations.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 6.34.18 AMPictured on the left is the new staff house recently completed. Unfortunately two families are sharing one house. This is certainly not an ideal situation. Since there are many bricks on site, I have suggested to Albert that they start another house right away. The septic tank is completed and it was designed for use by multiple houses.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 6.34.22 AMScreen Shot 2015-10-09 at 6.34.26 AMWorking in such a rural area, there is no housing for rent. As the mission continues to grow, there will be need to bring trained people in to fill available positons. Housing is going to continue to be a challenge.

Whenever there is a camera visible, there are always many willing subjects. On the left are two little girls that we gave a ride to along with their mother. The mother was a cook at one of the schools and was on her way to work after taking the children to the clinic.

The children on the right are preschoolers and they came running when they saw me get out of the truck with my camera. These children with so very little seem so happy.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 6.34.33 AMThis is the season of the Jacaranda. The trees are blooming everywhere and in many places the ground is covered with blossoms that have fallen. Some streets in Harare are purple with fallen blossoms. The beauty is in contrast to the many people lining the streets begging you to buy whatever they are selling so that they might have enough money to buy a plate of Sadza. The scene is so sad and with no promise of improving in the foreseeable future. On Tuesday I spoke with several Rotarians who are closing their business at the end of the month. They say that they are only working to pay the rent.

Today, another 1,000 baby chicks arrive. The older chickens have all been sold. Another batch is in the process of being marketed. In two weeks chicks that were just a few days old when I arrived will be ready for market. It is a constant cycle around here. The workers are constantly busy keeping up with all the work of cleaning, sanitizing, feeding etc.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 6.34.38 AMSupplies have been assembled and work has begun to build a two room house for Innocent. This will allow his sister to come and stay with him. This has been a wish of his for over on year. Community members are volunteering their labor to build the simple structure. HCOC is providing the materials needed. At the moment we are waiting on a truck load of cement. It reduces the cost per bag by several dollars when purchased in quantity. The community has already constructed a toilet and bathing room.

Please pray for Innocent, the boy pictured above. He has nothing but tries so hard to make it on his own. He even attempts to pay his own school fees.

In His Service, Roberta