Hello from Zimbabwe
We had a long grueling flight to get here, but we finally made it. It took three long days. We flew from Salt Lake to Chicago to London to Johannesburg to Harare with five to seven hours at each airport. All our luggage arrived at the same time. It was a long wait to get through customs. Elder and Sister Hermansen (the office couple) met us as did our director, Brother Paradzai. We were taken to our apartment (flat) which is a very nice, fully furnished two bedroom. Hermansen's took us out to dinner, it began to rain, the electricity went off, they laughed and said "Welcome to Zimbabwe". (The electricity is off here often.)
The young Elders gave us our driving test. It didn't seem too strange to drive on the left side of the road. Road conditions are very bad. There are very few street signs and the street lights are way down low so if there is a truck ahead of you it is impossible to see the light until you get to it. We call the streets "pot holes with a little pavement".
We've met with our director for part of two days then he went on vacation for two weeks. He is moving his family from a city about three hours away to Harare on January 1. We will meet with him again on January 2. There will be people coming from South Africa from the 3rd-9th of January.
We went to several grocery stores. They have everything we need except the packaging and names are different. The fruits and vegetables are plentiful and very good. Groceries are very expensive.
We went on an all day Safari to Imire Ranch on December 26. Hermansen's had made reservations before we got here It was awesome! We were able to get up close and personal with all the animals. They served us a delicious lunch by a lake. We saw every kind of African animal you can imagine.
We went to the "flea" market on Saturday (Dec. 27) with the other missionary couple, the McMurdie's. You can find anything there. They have a lot of the same stuff in every booth. It is like hundreds of make-shift plastic booths with tarps over the top. Going downtown to the police station was an experience yesterday. We went by another flea market that made the one we had been to look very small. We think that is where the million and a half people were. By the way, Marlene had a little fender bender accident already. That is why the visit to the police station.
Our mission president has given us the assignment to work with a District (6 branches) on Sundays. It is an hour and a half drive from where we live in Harare. It is called Bindura District and is a beautiful drive. The people are very friendly and kind. They all have to walk to church. Some up to 7 miles or so. They are very smart and well dressed. The church meetings were well done.
There are fruit orchards on the way to Bindura (we couldn't tell what kind), lots of maze crop and farm land. Each family has a little plot where they grow their own food. They stand along the road side selling whatever they have.
Our self-reliant calling will really get started on January 2 when our director gets back. We will be moving our office to the new self-reliance center probably sometime in February. The Bindura District already has self-reliance committee's set up and are meeting.
We are working to learn our duties and trying to do the Lord's work here in Zimbabwe. We are called here for the purposes known by the Lord and as we listen to the promptings, we will figure it out. We are happy and know we are where we are supposed to be at this time.
Love - Elder & Sister Diede