This newsletter comes to you from Lusaka, Zambia, where we have been for the last week. Our residence status in Zimbabwe is an interesting business, and too long a story to go into here. Due to certain factors we had to make an official application to remain in our home country. When we visited the Immigration office just over a week ago to put in our application, it was to find ourselves with an official who had definitely got out of bed on the wrong side of his bed. He told us we could not remain in the country while our application was being processed, and gave us less than a week to leave Zimbabwe. So we packed our bags and together with Pumba, headed for Lusaka, Zambia. It was not an easy situation to find ourselves in, but with the help of friends and family we hope to be back on ‘Morning Star’ within the next few days. We would appreciate your prayers because we are definitely in the middle of a spiritual battle. What transpires in the next few days will be crucial to whether we can remain in Zimbabwe. This ‘break’ has been a good timeout for us however, as Chris has been struggling to get over a chest infection for the last few weeks. The day after we arrived in Lusaka he ended up in hospital with asthmatic bronchitis. He is out now and very much better.
We have had a busy couple of months, all very rewarding and encouraging. We have welcomed old friends back and also introduced new friends to ‘Morning Star’.
Heather Witherow, accompanied by her husband John and their three boys, spent a week with us, during which time Heather put together an excellent English Reading Comprehension workshops for the seven schools we work alongside.
This was followed by a Conservation Workshop run by Nelson Ngwenya, an environmentalist who is very keen to help the schools develop conservation clubs. It was very successful and we are looking forward to his return to encourage them.
Hot on his heels came an amazing group of teachers from Trinity Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia. They visited, worked with and entertained all the schools in one very busy week. They entertained us constantly with their lively humour and interesting characters! There are some very interesting plans brewing for the development of this new relationship.
Before the Trinity teachers left, Cindy, from ETAS (English Teachers Association of Switzerland), who we can thank for winning the Roger Federer Foundation funding for the schools in the community, arrived in Matopos for her annual English Workshop. It was good to introduce them. Cindy has run English workshops every year for approximately 60 teachers and supported education in the Matopos area for 5 years. During her short visit she visited the schools to see how and what they were all doing with their RFF funding. She and Peter then took off on their annual African safari.
While all the above was happening we had three volunteers stay with us, Chez, from South Africa who was with us for ten days and Hannah and Mason.
The girls helped, Chris with the literacy programme in the schools whilst Mason assisted some heavy chores, including construction work on the proposed Community Centre. Hannah and Mason first visited ‘Morning Star’ a few years ago with their church youth group from Atlanta, Georgia. They were with us for six weeks and helped so much in so many areas. Hannah visiting the local clinic several times and built lovely relationship with the nurses there. Mason learned to drive our temperamental farm pick-up and he and Diamond did many trips transporting sand, water and equipment to the Community Centre building site. It was hard to see them leave; we felt like our extra hands had been chopped off!
We have two new and special friends, regular visitors to MS, who recently arrived in Zimbabwe - Brad and Ruth Biddulph from the UK. They are with BMI (Baptist Mission International) who are supporting several of our smaller projects: Bee-keeping; the Sewing group; paper making and soap making. All these projects are now off the ground (literally when it comes to the Kenya bee-hives which are suspended on wire in trees!) We don't yet have resident bees, but are praying them in! Brad was instrumental in building the hives with the help of one of the men in the community who received one of the hives.
Ruth is a keen rider and not only has she helped with the soap and paper making projects, painting but has also helped me exercise the horses when she and Brad are on MS. Our list of ‘jobs’ grows longer every time they visit.
Picture of three ladies who are involved with the new paper making project. I think they were quite sceptical when we first talked about ‘making paper’. When they saw their first page come out of the mould the expressions on their faces were of amazement! We have a long way to go, our first batch was more like cardboard than paper, but the next was closer to what we are aiming for. We have started experimenting with products so will have a ‘new line’ on the production line shortly!
One of our neighbours, an old widow, Lisa Maphosa, approached us several weeks ago telling us that her daughter had visited her and left Lisa’s grand-daughter, Privilige, with her for the holiday. She now discovers that the daughter has abandoned Privilige as she is unable to look after her anymore. Lisa already looks after two younger grand children. Privilige finished her primary education at the end of 2010 and for 2011 was not able to go to a secondary school as her mother could not afford to send her. Hence her being sent back to her rural home and family. She asked me if we could help with sending her to the secondary school here. We have suggested that Privilige goes for an entrance test to see where her level of entry would be and we will see if we could find some money for fees. If anyone would like to ‘step up to the plate’ and help Privilige to continue with her schooling, please let us know. Lisa is praying for you!
Lisa and her three grandchildren. Privilige is the older girl, top left.
Let me leave this ‘Morning Star’ autumn sunset with you as I say good-bye until next time.
‘Let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not’ Galatians 6:10
1. Immigration favour and the right way forward
2. Lisa's and her grandchildren’s' situation
3. Projects to move forward smoothly
4. The farm pick-up is still in the garage for major work – that it may be fixed very soon & back at work