Tag Archives: Harare

Deanna’s Journal

6 Jul

When I returned home to the United States on July 3th, it was with mixed emotions. There is so much work to be done, I could have easily stayed in Zimbabwe much longer. At the same time, it was a blessing to be home with my family for the July 4th holiday. Especially in this country, it is important that we not take for granite the freedoms we enjoy, the sacrifices made for those freedoms, and the blessings we receive daily (like hot showers, indoor toilets, and a Starbucks on every corner!)
While Roberta made the sacrifice to travel to South Africa to bring back a much needed vehicle, Bill, Phil and I continued on with the work, and had some great experiences along the way. Now that I am back home, I would like to share a few of those experiences as a supplement to Roberta’s normal journal reports.

I began my trip by spending some time with members of the Presbytery of Zimbabwe. In particular, on my second day, I made a visit to Lekkerwater Primary School, a school that the Presbytery of Zimbabwe is going to be running, and hopes to make significant improvements to over time. For instance, currently water for the school is accessed by a bucket that is lowered down with a rope into an existing borehole; this is not a very good situation. The Presbytery also hopes to build a Boarding School on the site to provide better educational opportunities to the children.

That night I was hosted by Fred and Julieth Chigwida and enjoyed a traditional Zimbabwe meal. It consisted of sadza and relish with chicken (which was hand-chosen at the chicken project at Lekkerwater and brought home with us in the back of the car… I must say, I have never eaten a chicken that I shared a ride with first!).

As Roberta has already talked about, one of our major challenges has been transportation. But, with a challenge always comes opportunity! Bill, Phil and I have learned the public transportation system pretty well during our stay. We had the “opportunity” to ride in numerous different combies (vans that likely would not be allowed on roads in the US). We coined a phrase that went like this … “we can always fit 5 more people,” and they do in Zimbabwe! We often had more than 20 people crammed into 12 – 15 passenger size vehicles.

If we needed to go into Harare from HCOC, it typically took two combie rides, one to Murewa and a second from there to Harare. That meant hanging out at the local “bus station” in Murewa while Albert found a suitable vehicle. You can see Roberta waiting with a few other Zimbabwe women.

At HCOC (Heather Chimogha Orphan Care) the children loved interacting with Phil and we spent quite a bit of time with some of the teacher’s children that were always around. They were a delight!

We attended church with Godfrey Nyarugwe, who is the treasure for HCOC. The music was beautiful and the service, all spoken in shona, was very moving.

We visited many of the projects that have been started to help HCOC become self-sufficient, such as the gardens to support the feeding center, and the moringa grove, which hopes to be income producing in the future. While there is still a long way to go, a strong foundation is being built for that ultimate goal. Another good example is the poultry project where they currently had about 500 chickens ready for market, and had another 500 new chicks delivered. The baby chicks had to be picked up in Harare and transported back to HCOC using public transportation; can you imagine!?!

In getting into the rhythm of day to day life, we were reminded, that even just having water available can be a challenge. We discovered one day that the water tanks (where water is pumped to from the bore hole) were found empty. When we suspected there was the problem, Phil was the first to volunteer to climb up and confirm. The water level indicator, which showed the tanks were full, was not working, and indeed the tanks were empty!

On one of my favorite days, we met with many of the volunteer orphan caregivers that live in the community and provide care and support to the orphans. A meeting was held to discuss many issues, such as payment of school fees for the orphans, and encouraging the caregivers to bring the children into the clinic to be tested for HIV. Near the end of the meeting, a few of the caregivers raised their hands and wanted to provide testimony to how HCOC has made a difference in the lives of so many orphans, including one caregiver who told the story of Elvis. At 7 years old, Elvis was on his death bed. Through actions taken by Beauty (the nurse at HCOC) to coordinate care and transportation to numerous hospitals, the boy’s life was saved. He is doing well today!

In closing, I would like to take you on the journey that had the most impact of all during my stay; a day that we visited child-headed households. A child-headed household is one where there is no adult caregiver in the home, just the orphan, many times siblings, and sometimes and elderly grandparent who is actually being cared for by the orphans.

The first orphans we visited were Steven (17 years old) and William (15 years old). Both parents are deceased, one in 2005 and the other in 2009. The boys have lived alone since that time. Steven had dropped out of school in 2010 in order to care for his brother and to stay at home to guard food stored in their bedroom. The food didn’t even belong to the boys, it belonged to in-laws. Unfortunately, there are no locks on the door and theft is not uncommon. Additionally, as you will see by the picture, the roof on their rondoval (a typical structure in Zimbabwe, which serves as the kitchen and gathering area) is non-existent. On the day we visited, someone from the community had agreed to come and repair the roof. (You can see William standing at the doorway.)

The next orphan we visited was named Loveness (12 years old) and she takes care of her elderly grandmother who is blind and not well. They have only a small rondoval, no bedroom or other structure. It broke my heart when the grandmother was asked what her hopes and needs were, and she responded that she needed soap. Clearly they had nothing, and her request was so simple … “soap.” As Albert asked the grandmother and Loveness further questions about their circumstances and immediate needs, the grandmother added, “a place to sleep and some blankets,” she also asked for help with school fees for Loveness. Loveness was very quiet, and cried much of the time we were there. It was clear that she had no self-esteem and was on the edge of hopelessness. It was a very emotional visit for all. Albert, and the secondary school headmaster that was with us, took inventory of what they needed, provided instruction to Loveness of what she needed to do, and committed to getting them help. You can’t imagine how hard it is to just say goodbye and leave someone in that kind of situation. Loveness has been on my mind and in my prayers every day since that visit. While I know Albert will do his best, and HCOC can and will help, it’s just impossible to fully comprehend the desperate poverty that exists. As I write this, I am fighting back tears, again.

The last visit we made was to three siblings that lived together, Ishmael (18 years old), Brightone (14 years old), and Scholastic (7 years old). Both parents were deceased. In this situation, however, they had extended family living close by, including grandparents we met. Some support was being provided in the form of food and schools fees by the extended family. Albert tells me this is rare. When asked what they needed, the same types of requests were echoed: blankets, help with food and school fees, and medical assistance for the grandmother who said she was ill. The grandmother also asked for clothing to supplement the little they had been able to share with the children. She went on to thank Albert and HCOC for the help they had been receiving so far. As the secondary school headmaster talked to the children about the importance of going to school, the kids shared their hopes: Ishmael and Scholastic both want to be teachers and Brightone (I love her name, pronounced “bright-one”) wants to be a nurse. We had to hike to the place they lived, and as we started our hike back out to the vehicle that was waiting a little ways away, I noticed the family graveyard where both parents were buried; it was only yards from the orphan’s rondoval.

The needs here in Zimbabwe are real and pervasive. It’s hard to image without seeing it with your own eyes. I hope this supplement to Roberta’s normal journals provide yet another look at life at HCOC. While there are many survival and success stories, and good work is being done every day, there are even more needs and more children that are literally hanging on to the very edge of survival. I don’t think I’ve ever “seen” hopelessness before, but I did that day when I looked into the eyes of Loveness.

“Hope for the Orphans” is printed on our Elephant Rock Team Zimbabwe jersey; because of Loveness, that saying now holds a deeply personal meaning to me, and I hope to each person reading this journal.
Blessings, Deanna Heyn

Advertisements

Journal 2 June 22, 2012

22 Jun

Greetings from South Africa,

I am still in South Africa.  It is cold here, real cold.  Houses here are not built with central heating because their winters only last about two months.  I have never experienced it being so cold.  In the past I have always brought a coat with me.  I have never ever used it and so with our limited luggage this time I opted not to bring a coat.  Wrong decision!

Paperwork on the truck is complete.  The cracked windshield has been replaced.  The truck has been serviced and the bad tire replaced with a new one.  Now I am trying to buy knitting yarn for the Knitting Co-op.  Yarn is not available in Zimbabwe at any price.  I am having difficulty finding knitting yarn appropriate for the knitting machines.  I am afraid that I may not succeed.

I could really head back to Harare tomorrow, Saturday.  I am delaying until Tuesday.  Johann Swart, who brought young people to the U. S. on several occasions, has built a new house.  I haven’t seen him and his family for several trips.  The extended family is having a House Warming party on Sunday.  I am staying to take part in the fun.  Mr. Penny will fly down in on Tuesday and we will leave early Wednesday morning to drive north to Zimbabwe.

We left Pretoria at 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning June 27 planning to be at the border by 9:00 a.m.  Our goal was to be at the Zimbabwe side by noon.  You’ve heard of the best laid plans……………Well our plans did not work out.  We learned that we had to have an Export license to get across the border.  This requirement went into effect on June 2.  Weren’t we lucky!  We were told it would take two weeks.  That took the wind out of our sails, believe me!  We connected with a shipping agency for help with the paper work.  It took three days.  Fortunately, I knew of a game lodge about 30 km from the border.  I couldn’t reach them by phone.  So we drove there hoping they had space.  Luck was with us.  Ralph and I have stayed there many times.  We ended up being there for three nights.

We finally received clearance from S. A. at 6:30 on Saturday morning.  It took till 8:00 to get to the Zimbabwe side.  Our papers were checked and rechecked and checked again before we could finally leave S. A.  When we arrived at the Zimbabwe side, there were so many buses and people, getting through looked nearly impossible.  Mr. Penny called a clearing agent that he knew to see if he could help.  He sent one of his men and we did little but sit and wait.  Finally at 3:00 and many dollars less, we finally were on our way to Harare.  Actually, I believe it was record time for the paper work we had to do.  Anyway, we arrived in Harare at about 10:00 p.m.  I will NEVER drive on Zimbabwe roads again after dark.  What a nightmare!

Saturday morning, while Mr. Penny went to check on our papers, I played Car Guard.  While sitting in the truck in the parking lot, a Baboon came walking by.  I might add that he was a real big fellow.  He paid no attention to me but sat down on the curb across from me, much like a man.  He had one foot on the street and the other up on the curb.  His elbow rested on his bent knee just like a human.  The best part was when he scratched his head like he was deep in thought.  Finally he walked to a high fence, climbed it, carefully crossed the coiled razor wire on top and climbed down the other side.  He proceeded to climb on top of a semi-truck and inspect the load.  It was good for a laugh and we needed a laugh at this point.

I am back at the Orphan Care Center.  I spent about four hours today talking with Albert and making plans for moving forward.  Tomorrow, we are going to Harare.  There are many errands to accomplish.  So this is all for now.  I will try to send pictures next time.

In His Service,

Roberta

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

Journal 9: October 31, 2011 From Zimbabwe

31 Oct

Greetings from Zimbabwe,

I have commented in previous journals about the weather being so mild for this time of year. October is usually the hottest month of the year; this year the nights have been chilly and the days very pleasant. Last week that all changed. It has become unbearably hot. We no longer have a thermometer but it has to be plus 100 degrees. The nights don’t even cool until after mid-night. So Jeff decided enough of the heat and bought a fan, pictured at the right. We call it our air conditioner. We locate it in the lounge so that it blows toward the two bedrooms. It makes sleeping a lot more pleasant.

This morning Jeff and I had to make a trip to Guzha Primary School to deliver some food supplies to the kitchen. We also needed to check on the preparations for Trevor’s workers who will install the tank stand. While I was there I took some pictures of the traditional type of dwelling that the children are constructing. There is a push, by the Ministry of Education, to have the children learn about how their ancestors lived. The structure is small made of small poles and plastered inside and out with mud from termite mounds. The first coat of mud cracks as it dries. A second coat is applied. The interior walls are also coated with clay mud from termite mounds. A fire pit occupies the center of the room. Benches line the interior walls. The thatched roof keeps the rondavel cool.

Outfitting the well at HCOC has to be scaled back a bit. We will continue to use the booster pump that is in the pump house rather than buying a new one. It isn’t a good pump but will have to do for the present time. We discovered, by accident, that the grant money actually wired was less than we expected. However, the well production is better than expected and we are pleased about that. We will be able to supply water to the
poultry project which will eliminate the need to haul it from various places.

The first batch of chickens has been completely sold. They were able to use some of the chickens to pay the school fees for the three children at Cheunje Boarding School. This amounted to $750.00. The second batch of chickens is growing quickly and will be ready for market beginning next week. A third batch of chickens will be moved from the brooder room to the fowl run in another week. It looks like they will have a batch of chickens to market every month. With the facilities that we have, that is the best we can do. Ideally, it would be easier to market if they had chickens ready for market each week. That way they would have steady customers in Murewa; restaurants, grocery stores, hospital, etc.

Tuesday, Albert had made arrangements for a group of us to visit Mother of Peace, an orphanage in Mutoko. It is located about 60 km from Murewa. I have visited there a couple of times in the past but I was interested in having Jeff see it. We especially wanted to see their facilities for housing children. We have reached a point where it is important for some children, that are living in child headed households, to be moved into a safe environment. Some of these children are being sexually abused by intruders and sometimes by relatives. It was recommended that we provide for outdoor cooking. This would be in keeping with the way people live in the community where many of the children will return when they have completed their schooling and/or training.

The little boy that I am holding is three years old. I would have guessed that he was much younger. He came to me and pulled on my skirt and held his arms up to be picked up. He has the biggest smile on his face. There are so many unwanted children here. I feel sorry for these children; many of them have just been abandoned.

Mother of Peace houses 129 children at the moment. They also sponsor 150 children who have been integrated back into the community and are living with extended family members. They described the slow, meticulous process they go through to integrate these children back with relatives or foster homes. In a few cases it has not worked and they have had to bring the children back to Mother of Peace.

As Jeff was driving to Guzha Primary School, he noticed a group of people gathered at a borehole that did not get repaired last year. The villagers had gathered together and were working on their own borehole. There are some parts left over from last year that Jeff will provide to them. Other parts Jeff plans to purchase for them in Harare. They constructed a fence around the pump to protect it from cattle. A cement basin protects the well from contamination and they have a trough leading under the fence to a dug pit lined with cement. The run off from the pump drains into the pit where the cattle come to drink. The pump is also kept locked and is unlocked only at designated times. The villagers have decided that those who do not contribute to the maintenance cannot have access to the water. Efforts from last year have paid off.

Please pray that the installation of pumps goes smoothly and all work will be complete before we leave.

In His Service, Roberta

October 5, 2011 Zimbabwe Students and God’s Blessings

5 Oct

Greetings from Zimbabwe,

Tomorrow Jeff and I need to go to Harare to take care of several bits of business. So I am going to put together a Journal to night. I am uncertain when we will be going back to town. However, some weeks the trips are rather frequent. So far we have driven 6,200 km since picking up the truck in SA. That gives an idea of the frequent trips to Harare.

Sunday, October 2, we traveled to Nyahuni Boarding School. Tracey and Pertronella, two orphans, are students
HCOC has been sponsoring there. Sunday was a gathering of friends and families for the end of the year awards
celebration. Tracy, the girl whose picture is on the left received three awards. She was the top student in her
grade in physical science, agriculture and commercial studies. We are so very proud of her.

Petronella, the girl in the picture on the right, was the top student in her grade level in Geography. It has been a struggle to find the money for school fees for these children but their achievements have been our reward. We are committed to providing for their schooling if at all possible.

We presently have three students attending Cheunje Boarding School. Those three students will be graduating at the end of this term. Due to the shortage of funds, there are no plans at this time to start any new students in Boarding School beginning the school year in January.

This has been a rainy week. It has begun to rain the last three evenings just after dark. This evening it is a gentle steady rain. Last night we had hard rain with wind and some hail. Normally this time of year we get scattered showers but not heavy rains. I guess the weather is changing the world over.

In spite of the rains the Well Drillers were able to do their work. The men and equipment arrived at HCOC about noon on Monday, October 3. They began drilling early afternoon and hit water at about 45 meters. The following day they continued drilling to 70 meters and continued to get some water. The final results are about 500 gallons an hour. It isn’t as good as we had hoped for but better than previous attempts. It certainly will provide for the crops that are soon to be planted.

Tuesday afternoon, the well drillers tore down their rig and Jeff led them to Guzha Primary School. We were not optimistic about the prospects of getting water. The hydrologist gave us only a 67 % chance of finding water. He thought the best we could hope for was enough water for a hand pump. Today, they continued to drill to 70 meters and continued to find more water.

The water was coming in so fast that the driller couldn’t blow out the borehole to install the casing. The casing that they were attempting to install kept breaking because the water and soil created too much pressure. It was necessary for them to call for a heavier casing. The final results were 2,000 gallons per hour. This is far beyond our wildest expectations. When we left the people were dancing and celebrating.

On Monday Trevor, the person that we will be buying the pumps from, will be coming out to HCOC. We had originally hoped to put in a solar pump at Guzha but he may advise otherwise. Guzha does not have electricity or any hopes of getting electricity in the near future. There are many decisions to be made and lots of work to be accomplished. Once we meet with Trevor, we will have a better idea of the time frame we are dealing with.

The picture on the right is the view outside our door this morning after the rain last night. The Jacaranda trees are in full bloom and the ground was covered in purple blossoms. I hated to see anyone walk on them but then
the goats were out and they love to eat the blossoms.

God has truly answered our prayers for good sources of water. Praise Him! We ask for your prayers as we make decisions next week. Our goal is to be God’s hands and feet in this place and to carry out His will.

In His Service,

Roberta

September 25, 2011 Some Cuts are needed Due to Low Revenue

25 Sep

Greetings from Zimbabwe,

Some projects here are moving forward and others are at a standstill. Thursday, a large truck load of sawdust was delivered for bedding in the chicken run. The sawdust is free, there is only a charge for the trucking. We are going to have to figure out a way to store such a quantity. We won’t need it all at one time but as the batches of chickens are moved all of the bedding must be replaced.

Friday, we brought home 700 day old chicks. Jeff worried all the way about losing them. He had waited in the heat for nearly an hour for an order of food for the chicks. However, all was well when we finally arrived. The following morning they were all still alive. Albert was very pleased. Losing a few in the beginning is normal. The other batch of chickens is now six weeks old. They will begin selling those later next week. In three weeks we plan to purchase another 700 chicks. The goal is to have three batches of chickens at different ages going all of the time.

We have to make some tough decisions. It is the part of the job that I don’t like. Our revenue sources are not generating enough income to keep the Mission operating. The number of orphans has not changed significantly. Costs of operation have increased. We need to make some significant cuts somewhere. The chicken project is at the point now that it generates enough income to sustain it and also to produce some profit. I estimate that they will realize about $600.00 plus every six to eight weeks. But that will not cover all the expenses in other areas.

Some cuts we are considering are: No longer providing uniforms for orphans. This should save about $6,000.00 each year. We need to ship the clothing that ZMP has gathered as soon as possible so that these children will have something to wear.

1. School fees are another big expenditure. We have only been paying a portion of the school fees for a couple of years. Now that is even difficult. Schools have been encouraged to develop income generation projects that will help pay school fees of orphans. But even that takes money they don’t have.

2. We have recommended that outstanding students no longer be sent to Boarding School. So in January, the beginning of the school year, no new students will be sent to Boarding School. Some small groups at Church have supported these student in the past but donations for those fees have been slow to come and sometimes not at all. We presently have five students attending Boarding School. Somehow we want to be able to let them finish their O-Levels, which is equal to a high school graduation. It costs $1,500.00 per term for the five students. There are three terms in the school year.

3. One of our big expenses is petrol for the vehicles. We are asking the staff, who uses the vehicles, to use public transport wherever possible. Instead of using petrol for the vehicles to ferry water to the chickens, garden etc. we are considering buying oxen and a water carts for such purposes. The oxen will cost about $800. Presently a hand dug well close to the chickens is being dug. We are encouraged by the flow of water. It should produce enough water for the chickens.

4. Since the Sewing Co-Op will no longer be making uniforms for HCOC, I have been working with them on a business plan, so they will be able to continue to have an income. Unfortunately, many people in the community cannot afford to pay for school uniforms. So I am encouraging them to buy fabric and make other types of clothing that they can try and sell in Murewa or even Harare. They had already begun to do a bit of this. Some people bring their own fabric and the women make whatever they request. That way they charge for their time and a bit for maintenance of machines.

Some things never change…..We thought we had a well driller hired. When we called the driller, after the hydrologist had cited for wells, and he was booked up for a month. That would be after we were scheduled to return to the U.S. We have a different well drilled booked for next Monday, Oct. 3. Pray for us that we are fortunate and find good sources of water. We can’t schedule the pump installer until we know what kind of water supply we find. This delay has set us behind schedule and we may have to reschedule our return. It won’t be the first time.

In closing I ask for your prayers for Jeff and me. We need strength and wisdom to do what needs to be done here. I also ask that you pray that God will provide good sources of water where we drill. Without a good source of water, future expansion at the site is out of the question.

In His Service,

Roberta

September 14, 2011 Zimbabwe Mission

14 Sep

Greetings from Zimbabwe,

Our gardener, Lovemore’s wife passed away a couple of days ago in Motoko. She had been in not good health for some time. More recently she had been in the hospital in Motoko. Yesterday, Mr. Bondeponde drove the big truck to go and pick up the body for burial at the family home. Mr. Bondeponde called at about 5:00 to say that the clutch had gone out on the truck about 10 km from the location they were to pick up the body. Jeff and Bryce had just come in from working all day. They were hot and tired and had not had dinner. So they drove with Albert to the township to see if they could hire a truck and driver to go and rescue the group and bring the body back. The rescue team left here about 7:00 and I understand that they got back here about 1:00 am. They towed the big truck back as well. So
it was not left on the side of the road to be vandalized. The funeral is today. Teachers have taken turns going to the home of the family. I put in a brief appearance because Jeff and Bryce were busy.

The guys have been busy working at the chicken run. The building was constructed earlier in the year. The openings were to be covered with chicken wire. However, the job was poorly done and it would not keep out varmints. We purchased a roll of new wire when we were in town earlier in the week. Jeff and Bryce have worked to get the job done correctly. They also purchased plastic canvass to cover the windows of the brooder building.

This group of chickens is doing very well and should be ready for market in less than two weeks. The brooder room is clean and ready for a new batch of day old chicks. Godfrey is ordering them today. Jeff and I hope to get them operating on a three week cycle of 700 chicks in each batch.

Yesterday afternoon a USAID truck arrived with a delivery of medicine for the HCOC (Heather Chimhoga Orphan Care) clinic. They are well supplied for several months. The only medicine that is not provided is medicine for ringworm and for Bilharzia. The medicine for Bilharzia is very expensive and works only if children are educated about staying out of polluted water. It is not easy to convince children to stay out of the water, especially when it is very hot.

Bryce left last Friday, September 16. It has left a void for me. I miss him terribly. He kept Jeff and I busy and on our toes. I had not realized how many traits that he has like Ralph. I only see him on brief visits in Houston and in Denver.

We have had a set-back. The well driller we used last year had told Jeff to give him three or four days’ notice and he would come and drill the wells. So when the hydrologist had completed his work and sent his report, Jeff notified the well driller that we were ready for him. Then we were told that he was booked for 30 days. So today we are in town to meet with another well driller. Hopefully he can get to us in a couple of weeks.

Jeff is also attending a Rotary meeting at lunch time. The club he is meeting with is the host club for this project. Perhaps they can help us get a reliable driller. In closing, I ask that you pray that we can find a well driller soon and that the drilling will be successful. Unfortunately, we are in an area where it is difficult to find water. We are going to be limited in our expansion if we cannot get adequate water.

In His Service,

Roberta