Where to start…… I have wanted to write a Newsletter for the last 3 weeks, but I have been chased by time every day! So much seems to have happened that I realize as I sit here racking my brain for what has kept me so busy that I need to keep a diary! Never my strong point – recording daily happenings – after all, while I’m write them down something exciting may be going on outside! Since we have been back onto ‘Morning Star’ I have been corresponding with Cindy, who lives in Switzerland. Cindy and Peter, her husband, have been visiting our neighbours Sandy and Denis for quite a few years and have grown to love this area in Zimbabwe. Cindy is an English teacher by profession and after visiting one of the primary schools in our community, decided to see how she could help the school and teachers, to encourage them through the hard times they have had over the last 10 years of chaos in this country. The following year she ran a Teachers Workshop which was so successful that she returned the next year to run the second one and at the beginning of this month Chris and I were privileged to take part and assist her and Peter in the 3rd Workshop. It was a great training session with lots of laughter and teasing! The teachers who attended (over 50) learnt so many practical and simple ways of communicating their subjects with the kids. If you want to see what she has been doing for the Matopos Primary School, you can read more on her website: Cindys blogspot. For those of you familiar with YoungLife Zimbabwe, this is the school where Patson teaches.
Exciting news is that Cindy applied to the Roger Federer Foundation for funding for a project that would included all the schools (8) in our Community and it was granted! We will be working in conjunction with her - us on the ground and Cindy encouraging and directing from Switzerland. So now we have much work for our volunteer programme which is taking shape fast. We are hoping to be up and running by January/February 2010. Several people, who want to come and serve in the community, have contacted us so we will now be contacting them (YOU!). Cindy and Peter’s stay was far too short. We took a picnic lunch on the one day and traveled around to as many of the schools as we could so they could see what a huge mouthful they had bitten off! It was a good day!
No sooner had Cindy and Peter departed than we welcomed 5 ‘angels’ from 3D-Outreach in South Africa. Go to 3D Outreach to find out what this amazing organization does. The first thing they asked us after arriving was, “What can we do for you?” And I had no answer! Can you believe it?! I wish they would come back and ask us again – I have compiled a list………………. We visited Dobi Primary School and basically asked the Headmistress if we could ‘play’ with the kids for a couple of hours and they, the teachers, could catch up on whatever they needed to do (there are usually about 3 to 4 teachers to a school of approximately 300 children!). The Team organized 5 activities then split the school into 5 groups. Then the fun began! For about 15 minutes the kids were at each group, either playing No-Rules Volleyball; Skip the rope; Avoid the ball on the rope; Face painting; and then there was Matt’s group that improvised as they went along!!
Even a few of the teachers could not resist joining in and had their faces painted and encouraged the kids at the different games.
I helped paint faces (have I finally found my calling?) and it was so delightful to see the change of expression when the children looked in the mirror and saw their ‘new’ faces! We wondered if they had EVER experienced having their faces painted before. There is so much more to say about the amazing things each one of the 3D team is doing in their lives. How God has brought all the people He has to us here on Morning Star is quite overwhelming. Something or someone new everyday as we walk daily not knowing what tomorrow will bring. Just this evening Chris asked me, ‘Are we blessed or are we blessed?’ Oh yes….. so very BLESSED.
It was very sad to say goodbye to these very special people who had come into our lives for such a short visit. Plans are being made for further contact though, and it is our prayer that we will see more and more of them. Thank you 3D Team for visiting and blessing us and the kids!
Building, renovations and improvements continue around the homestead. We are discovering talents we didn’t know we had! Chris and Diamond have been paving around the huts and doing a great job! Pictures in the next newsletter! The two staff kitchens are thatched and operating, although we still need to complete them with windows and doors. The horses stables/shelters is quarter of the way completed and we are rushing to get them done before our rains arrive. The Red Chested Cuckoo (Piet-My-Vrou) has been calling constantly for over two weeks now – a sure sign that the rains are on their way. We are replacing old water heaters with more energy efficient ones and upgrading the ablution blocks and completing the girls’ dormitory bathroom. We are not sure at this stage where the finances will come from, but God knows the needs. Sad news is that the father, recently widowed, whose family we have been giving food packs to, has also now died. His three young daughters have gone to live with their granny outside of this community. Three more orphans! From Tuesday to Friday this week, we are hosting a mother and daughter from America - friends of Forgotten Voices - who want to visit the local schools and community. Bianca, our Sewing Club leader, is also coming out to work with the ladies for two days this week as there is a Craft Market in Bulawayo this weekend and we are hoping to have some of our work ready to sell. Please pray for a productive week and good sales as the ladies are needing school levies and basic supplies. We are hoping to put together small food hampers for the Sewing Group for Christmas, plus a sewing kit that they can keep at home. If you would like to donate something to help us bless these women at Christmas, let me know and I will send you bank account details. If you will be His hands, we will be His feet. All my love in His Name, Norma ‘Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ’. Galatians 6:2