March 16, 2012

Musha Visit

This week, the boys and I were privileged to be invited to lunch at a lady's musha home.  Musha is a village home.  Of course we were eager to go and have a cultural adventure.  She invited us to walk with her and look at her various fields.  This rainy season has been rough on people's farmland.  Many crops are failing or have a small yield.  Looking at her huge, beautiful fields, I was surprised that our hostess is a widow and has done most of this farming on her own.  Here is a quick photo-journal of our time with this gracious woman:

Outside her kitchen, a typical Zimbabwean hut.

Inside her kitchen.  I love that in Zimbabwe they have these built in cupboards that display their plates and other utensils.  It makes their kitchens so attractive!  Also her fire pit is unusual.  Most have their cooking pits right in the middle, but her stove is built up on the side and is safer for children.  At the hospital there are so many children that come in with burns from falling into the fire.

A feast fit for a king!  We had sadza-the white food-which is a stiff porridge made from ground maize.  The green is similar to collard greens in a delicious sauce.  Then there was rice with a sauce made from soya-mince (made from soy product), and finally a slice of squash.

One of her fields.  This one is cotton.  All through her field of cotton she had pumpkins and various squashes growing. 

A beautiful wildflower along the path to her musha.

Another set of wildflowers on our walk.

It was an honor to be invited into this woman's home and learn about her life.  Now when we see her around on the hospital compound we don't just recognize a face, but we embrace a friend!

March 7, 2012

Learning to Let Go

I, Dontie, am sitting here reading my Bible reading for today in James and the words jumped out at me:

"Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.'  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow...Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'"  (James 4:13-14a, 15) 

We have this illusion that we are in control and we make plan, but ultimately, we don't know what tomorrow brings.  Africa has been such a good teacher in that lack of control. 

Water may or may not be on for who knows how long.  Do I worry about that?  The power may be on or it may be off for 10 days straight.  Do I worry about the food?  What am I going to do with that month's supply of meat in the freezer that is thawing?  Every vegetable I pull out of the fridge (as quickly as possible to save every last bit of coolness), is going bad and we can't use them fast enough.  Do I worry and fret?  Am I in control of these circumstances? 

What about our future here at Karanda?  Our TEP (long-term work visa) was denied and we are in the process of appealing it.  We have had a handful of extensions, and we go month by month not knowing if we'll have to be out of the country or if we can stay.  My first instinct is to worry and wonder what is going on here.  I want stability and knowing what tomorrow brings.  But here in James (as well as so many other places in the Bible), God reminds ME that He is in control.  He knows the details.  This is ALL in His plan and He has a plan that is perfect and good. 

Christopher and I are learning to let go and just live each day.  For someone like me, this is a tough lesson to learn.  But what freedom it brings! 
  • Yes the water goes off, but we learn to use what we have wisely and not worry. 
  • Yes, the zesa (power) is off, but I have to go one day at a time, use my brain that God gave me to be creative, and ultimately trust that God is in control of even the zesa!  I have to let go and believe in His goodness.  Maybe that month's supply of meat can be a blessing to several people around who are starving. 
  • Yes, we don't know where we will be after this month's extension has expired, but its ok.  God has a plan and He's got a reason for this uncertainty and I have to trust Him. 
So we now are learning to say, "If it is God's will..."  Because that is why we are here for whatever amount of time that is!

A section of our drive to Karanda Mission Hospital.  Zimbabwe is a beautiful country.

Some of our critter friends around (or in) our home:

Guinea Fowl right outside our door         
                             Wall Spider hanging out on our wall

The largest snail we have ever seen.  We named him Sully.


A high bridge we cross getting to the hospital, and our car.  Water has gone over this bridge a number of times during the rainy season.  

March 2, 2012

All in a Day

Here is a snipet of what a day is like at Karanda:

Woke up to the roosters crowing at 5:00 AM.  This is farmland and most everyone starts their day at 5!

Water has been on for only a few hours in the morning these past weeks, so I hurry to fill up all our buckets in each room and the kitchen.  I make sure to flush the toilets several times.

Zesa (electricity) is off, so wait for the hospital generator to kick on sometime between 8 to 9 so we can have some coffee and plug in all the torches (flashlights) we used last night.  They charge in only a few hours. 

It begins to rain in torrents, so I hurry with buckets outside to collect water as we quickly go through all our "water buckets" even with being extra careful.  Several pots go on the stove to boil the rainwater that I will then put into our water filter.  It has to boil at least 10 minutes to kill bacteria before filtering. 

We thank God for the rain, but sure enough, there goes the zesa for who knows how many hours or days.  Our record so far is 10 days with no power (outside of the generator).  Someone figured out that in 20 days of February, we only had 96 hours of electricity!

Go to feed a fellow missionary's cat (Mittens).  The missionary is on home assignment so we are taking care of the cat until her return this month.  Find a fruit bat in the sink and it is still alive with a broken leg!  Decide to wait for Christopher to help me get it out.  Not feeling that adventurous and brave just yet! 

Christopher comes home from work for tea (half hour break), and he is my hero as he rescues the bat (hissing and all) with a bucket and gently releases it in a garden outside.  We admire the creativity of God in the wings and architecture of the bats body.  We even get a look at its little sharp teeth as it hisses at us shaking all over.  Poor little bat.

Visit with some of the ladies who come around selling fruits and vegetables.  I never know what they will bring and sometimes it is just one item.  But I try to buy from them as much as possible as there is a famine going on all around us in this area.  I would have never guessed with the green all around and crops growing beautifully, but last year's harvest was small and hasn't lasted through until this year's harvest. 

We hear that a World Vision truck is coming to the little town area outside the hospital to distribute sacks of corn and other items.  People wait in anticipation.  The boys and I walk to town to buy a coke from one of the hospital employees who also runs this little store.  The shelves are almost bare...but he always has cokes...and ice-cold too!  The boys and I practice our greetings with people in town.

Christopher gets off work unusually early, so we go with him to visit the Peds Ward.  The boys love this and I am once again humbled by the way they love on the kids, touching them and jabbering away with them.  They don't even seem to notice some of the abnormalities they see.  I wish my eyes could see past as they do.

Supper by candlelight and baths from a bucket.  We go out in the courtyard to look at the incredible stars in this African sky.  There is nothing like it!  We praise God for His awesomeness and thank Him for the chance to be here at this time in our lives. 

Climb in bed under our mosquito nets and pray for our families and supporters.  It's the end of another day at Karanda.