Thursday, October 15, 2009

Re: Back in Zimbabwe

Thursday, October 15, 2009, 6:45pm local time
I have been waiting for  a good African mission story to happen so that I could have something interesting to write about. That might not happen for a while, so I guess I will go ahead and tell you about the ordinary goings on around here. Currently we are on our daily power outage, so I will try to keep this brief.
We have 54 orphans here. 23 of them are highschool students, around 12 are in elementary school and the rest range from newborn through pre-school age. I have been spending most of my time tutoring the highschool classes in such things as how to solve simultaneous linear equations graphically and how to calculate geometric transformations using matrixes. Some of these things (graphing equations) I remember more easily than others (matrixes). I have also been teaching chemistry/biology/and basic physics, getting the seniors ready for their exit exams next month.
Two other volunteers showed up the same week that I did. One of them is helping out with the preschoolers and the other one is doing something similar to a 4-H program with the rest of our kids. We are helping them set up a chicken raising co-op. We have purchased 50 broiler chicks so far and are going to be picking up 50 layer chicks tomorrow. (Interesting note: our broilers are the direct descendants of Tyson Foods in fayettville, AR).
Ok. battery is getting low. I spent yesterday sick in bed. vomiting, muscle aches. Supposedly no malaria around here, and I am feeling much better today. The kids tell me it was that wild fruit that I ate the day before... I dunno... Will write more later. Have alot to do tomorrow. Welding up an old maize storage cage into a rate/snake proof chicken house in the morning (if the power comes back). Keep in touch.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Back in Zimbabwe

Wednesday, October 7, 2009, 9:30pm local time
Dear Friends and Family,
I am back in Zimbabwe. Arrived yesterday around 1pm after over 24 hours of travel. It would have been a bit grueling if not for my pleasant and interesting fellow travelers (quick shout out to any Zambian ex-pat computer system experts, Unicef public health directors or soon-to-be-married Rawandans who may be reading this ;)
The power went out just before sundown and was still off when I went to bed last night. I woke up pre-dawn. It was still pitch black outside. I didn't have a watch or a cell phone, so I stumbled around the room looking for a battery powered clock but couldn't find one. I did find an old laptop computer that was left here by my uncle. I powered it up and low and behold, it said 9:17pm... I was quite sceptical as to the accuracy of this and hoped that it was in the wrong time zone. About a minute later, I remembered the battery powered shortwave radio in the kitchen. It has a clock on the front and was hopefully still accurate. 9:18pm. I resigned myself to being up for a while and started stringing up a mosquito net. I had let a swarm of them in with the fresh air when I opened the windows to let in fresh air. Drank some water, ate  a stack of Lobel's bread to stave off my (whgat I thought were) morning hunger pains, put some Ladysmith Black Mambazo on my mp3 player and drifted off to the familiar old sounds of African harmony blended with the music of mosquitos that are just outside the net.
note: I am trying out remote blogging via email. This letter should now be posted on my blogspot (