Tag Archives: Zimbabwe

Roberta’s Journal 4

16 Jul

Greetings from Zimbabwe,

The truck that I brought up from South Africa is now registered and licensed in Zimbabwe.  Finally on Thursday, last week Albert purchased insurance and so the truck is legally in Zimbabwe.  I still can’t get over how complicated such a procedure can be.  So much time has been wasted, not to mention the diesel, running from one office to another and always way across town from one another.

The new truck has still not arrived.  The most recent information deals with the same thing I had to deal with at the border when I brought the other truck up.  South Africa now requires an export license for anyone transporting anything across the border.  Nissan indicated in an email to Albert that it had taken three weeks for them to get the license.  Now we are caught in the back-log of vehicles destine for Zimbabwe.  Hopefully it will only be another couple of weeks.

Getting the new truck would not have taken so long if we had not wanted to be exempted from paying duty.  However, this amounted to between $7,000 and $8,000.  To me it seemed worth the wait as long as we now have some form of transportation.  I am not fond of Combie transportation.

HCOC has benefited from Albert becoming a Rotary Member.  One of the Rotary Members has offered to sponsor a deserving student for her A-level education.  He has even offered employment opportunity for the student during school holidays.  I am really pleased that this has happened.  There are other benefits as well coming as a result of connections that Albert has made.  Last week Albert received an award for being the most outstanding new member.  Rotary is really getting involved with the work here at HCOC.  One of the Rotary Members brought a clothing donation from his church for the orphans at HCOC.

Last week, July 12 and 13 we booked a one night stay at Imire, a Safari Lodge about a three hour drive from HCOC.  Here you can see Amanda, Phillip and Bill having an elephant ride.  They did this early in the morning.  After breakfast, we all went on a game drive.  The driver took us to a picnic area where lunch was served.    Some of the elephants showed up and enjoyed treats handed out by the guests.

I am glad that we had this opportunity since driving to Victoria Falls is such a long way.  It wasn’t quite like seeing the animals in their natural surroundings but it was a good experience.

The Surveyor and his crew arrived at HCOC last Wed. the 18th to begin laying out the roads at the new site.  That work is complete now and Albert learned that he now has a larger garden area.  The road that had been in use was through one side of the garden.  The next task is to get a machine in to grade in the roads and crown them for drainage purposes.  The plan is to haul in broken brick and river rock to begin building a road base.  Eventually it will all be covered with crushed granite.  Getting a good base in is essential.

The Surveyor laid out the garage but at this time, the plan is to put in the foundation and slab only.  The rest of the garage building will have to wait until later.  There are way too many places where money is needed right now.  The Safe House is going to cost more dollars than I had anticipated.  It will get done one way or another.

The visitors have all left and it is really quiet around here.  Amanda, Bill and Phillip flew home on Thursday.  I know all of them were looking forward to being warm and having a hot shower.  Those things were hard to come by here.  This has been the coldest spell I can ever remember.  Thursday morning, Albert said that there was a layer of frost ½ inch thick on the top of the truck.  Both the tomato plants and the new Moringa plants are showing the effects of the cold.  It is still cold at night but has moderated a bit during the day.  August will soon be here and the temperatures will begin to warm.

I will bring this letter to a close now.  I will be in Harare tomorrow and want to get this emailed to all of you readers.

In His Service,



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

Roberta’s Journal 3

4 Jul

July 4, 2012

Greetings from HCOC Mission,

This July 4th is a whole lot quieter than it probably is in the United States.  However, in Colorado, it may be quiet due to the dryness and all the fires.  Here the people know nothing about our 4th of July and what it means or how we celebrate.  Anyway, Happy Birthday to all of you 4th of July Birthday people.

Bill learned to shell maize today.  Albert has people working at shelling his maize crop.  Albert’s workers have a long way to go but Bill decided he wasn’t going to be of much help.

Albert has been working at hauling black dirt and filling in around his house.  He has purchased sod plugs and the lawn is beginning to grow.  It is really looking nice.  Yesterday, Elizabeth gave him some Poinsettia starts from her bushes.  He has spots already prepared ready to plant the shrubs.

Deanna left on Monday to return to the U.S.  Amanda will join all of us on Friday.  Amanda visited here in 2010 with Ralph and I.  She asked to join me this year for a short stay.  Two weeks is about all that she can afford to be gone.  The children keep asking about her but I haven’t told them that she is coming.  They are going to be so surprised when they see her.

Today was the first opportunity I have had to visit the poultry project.  I had not seen the sawdust shed.  They indicated that they had a problem keeping the saw dust dry when it rains.  They proposed some changes and made plans to begin work soon.  Right now is the dry season and so a perfect time to get the changes made.

One batch of chickens is one week old.  Another batch is five weeks old and they are ready for market.  They are weighing about 2.2 kgs or about four pounds live weight.

On Thursday, Albert needed to deliver food to an orphan living several km from the school.  Bill and I joined him.  The child was not at home and so I didn’t have a chance to visit with the child, who is 12 years old.  I did talk with the grandmother through Albert.  The grandmother is blind and can barely walk.  The grandmother said that her grand-daughter was out collecting firewood.  This is a case of a child living with a grandparent but the grandparent is dependent on the child.  This is an example why we need safe houses for children such as these.  I am hoping to get work started on the first Safe House in a couple of weeks.  I have asked Albert to contact a surveyor and have the property surveyed and safe houses pegged.  The roads inside the property also need to be pegged.

William, 15 years, and his brother live alone.  William’s brother was out collecting fire wood and so I didn’t get to meet him.  William and his brother are surviving alone.  We delivered a few food supplies to them and checked on what foods they had in stock.

The boys, with the help of a local man, are trying to improve their living conditions.  As you can see in the picture, a new roof is in progress.  Albert suggested that we help by supplying a window and a door, since they have neither.  These boys are missing out on the relationship between father and sons.  It is difficult for us to bridge that gap.

Winnie and Patrick are very proud of their Sadza Cooker.  They indicated to me that it requires far less fire wood to cook with than when they were using an open fire.  Today, I saw Winnie cooking outside over and open fire and inquired why she was doing that.  She indicated that when they serve rice and beans she does not have time to cook the beans because of the time that it takes to cook rice.  We discussed it for a time and we decided that perhaps she could cook the beans, after lunch the day before she is to serve them.  Then the following day when she is going to serve them, she only has to reheat them.  She decided the next time they serve rice and beans she will try that method.  I will be watching to see if they do that and how it works. for them.

I will be in Harare tomorrow and will try to get this email off to all of you.  I have heard that Colorado has had some rain.  Perhaps that will help the fire fighters with the forest fires.

In His Service,


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,


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,


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