Tag Archives: Africa

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,



Journal 10 – November 10, 2011

10 Nov

Greetings from Zimbabwe,

The old truck has been sold. We received $1,500 for it and it will cost more than that for the buyer to put it in running condition. The money from the sale has been set aside for another truck but it will take a lot of additional money to be able to purchase something that doesn’t break down every time one turns around. We need something with a larger engine than the one that we have had. The old truck had insufficient power when loaded.

A large truck is needed for hauling food supplies from Harare, for the feeding program. The poultry project also needs a big truck for hauling feed for the project as well as marketing the chickens. At this time of year seed and fertilizer must be hauled as well. Presently HCOC has to hire a truck and the cost ranges from $250.00 to $600.00 per trip. The price depends on the number of items or the weight of the load and whether they are hauling from Harare or Murewa.

Friday, was a very special day for the children at Guzha Primary School. It was the day that prizes were given to outstanding students. A large crowd of parents and friends assembled for the program. Jeff and I were invited to attend the special ceremony. Groups of children presented skits and musical numbers. The District Education Officer handed out the prizes to the top students at each grade level. The prizes had been donated by the Vice-Mayor of Harare. His assistant was present to witness the handing out of the prizes. The students received practical things such as new back-packs, note books, tooth paste and bars of soap. What an exciting day for the children!

The Executive Committee met yesterday to make a decision about what to do with the small container of Ralph’s ashes that Albert brought back when he returned from the U.S. They decided that they wanted to place the small brass urn in a granite tombstone. The stone will be set near the gate to the HCOC site. A native tree will be planted to shade the stone. Today, the committee went to meet with the Sub-Chief of this area to inform him of their decision. All their plans were approved by the Sub-Chief. Wednesday, they will meet with Chief Nyawembawa as a matter of formality. Jeff returned and said that the people in this area think of Ralph as a Hero.

Work is progressing nicely on the water projects. The trenching at Guzha is complete and the base for the tank stand is in place. The pump and solar panels will be installed by a special crew that does solar pumps. Annevor Systems will install the security fence and electric wire to protect the solar panels. Guzha is responsible for having 24 hour guards at the site of the solar panels to safe guard against theft. Solar panels are economical to operate but they are always a target of thieves.

At HCOC all 380 meters of trenching for the piping should be completed by Wednesday. The tank stand base is in place and we are expecting the installation crew to arrive on Wednesday. They will camp here until the project is completed. Everyone is excited about having piped water at the poultry project in addition to themain buildings and garden. We anticipate that all will be finished before we leave to drive back to South Africa on December 1.

In the picture at the left, the man standing in the trench sited a Black Mamba snake just to the right of where he is working. He described it as being very large. He said it was as big around as his forearm. Black Mambas are sometimes seen in this area and are greatly feared. It is rare for anyone who is bitten to survive. This area of HCOC site has been undisturbed for years. Now the activity, as a result of the development, is disturbing their habitat.

Jeff and I recently visited the factory where the Sadza Cooker is being built. This picture only shows the part of the unit where the food is cooked. It will be quit a process to install it here at the Feeding Center. This will allow the cooks to prepare large amounts of food without standing over an open fire. When the Sadza is cooked, it can be removed and kept hot while other menu items are being prepared. The last time Jeff spoke with the people at the factory, they indicated that they would be ready to install this coming week. Things are finally beginning to fall into place.

In closing, I ask for your prayers that the projects will be completed before we leave to return to Colorado. I also ask for prayers that somehow funds for a big truck be provided to HCOC. A truck is desperately needed.

In His Service,