Saturday, September 23, 2006

In Cape Town

I met a chief yesterday. I traveled to Chivero Mission with Lynn and Washington and others who caught a ride--the lack of available fuel means everyone shares their vehicles with anyone going their direction. I was uncertain whether or not I should go as I was tired and needed to prepare my thoughts for a women's group I was scheduled to speak to in Harare at 5:30 pm. But Washington assured me we'd leave at 10 am and be back by 1 pm. I should have known he was on Africa time. We didn't leave until after noon because we had to search for fuel. And, of course, we had to go through the polite formalities with everyone we met on our errands in the Chivero area. And then, while driving through the crude grouping of four or five run down buildings that make up the village center of Chivero, we heard a whistle through our open windows--the only air conditioning there is. We stopped, and a man ran to our vehicle to tell us the chief wanted to see us.
Now, Washington knows the chief. The man's late wife was a godly Christian woman. Chief Chivero, as he's named, simply wanted to greet us and palm a little money off Washington for a village function, which, of course, Washington paid. Chivero seemed a gracious man in his dapper straw hat and purple satin shirt. I inquired of Washington if I might ask to take the chief's picture--it wouldn't have been appropriate for me to ask directly. But, alas, the man declined because he was not wearing his chief's medallion and other "chiefly" garb. Washington told me that Chivero--who is chief over 50 lesser chiefs--has expressed an interest in Christianity, but has protested, saying, "If I become chief of the church of Christ, I will have to become chief over all the other churches." I asked Washington if he told Chivero we already have a Chief. ;-)
By the way, I was delivered to the ladies' meeting at 5:30, dust-covered and windblown, without a Bible, unable to gather my thoughts on the way to Harare while crammed between the doorframe and a man and woman who rode back to the city with us. But I prayed, and the Lord provided the words for our meeting. I will not forget Africa time from now on.
Well, on to Cape Town. We arrived about 3 pm today, local time, and ate dinner at Mustards Grill with the a number of missionary families--the Dicksons, Swartzes, Hydes, and Kendall-Balls. We're staying in the Swartz's modest but very comfortable home. Unfortunately for Paula, who is a light sleeper, the Swartz's neighbors are also good hosts--their techno music and strobe lights are making a good backyard party for their many guests.
The flight into Cape Town gave beautiful views of rugged brown mountains, the South African coastline, domineering Table Mountain, and green, green, green unlike what we saw in Zimbabwe. The breeze is soft from ocean saltwater. The drive from the airport on wide highways took us past an odd mix of new homes, malls, and shanty towns. Obviously the people here are as resourceful as the Zimbabweans--we passed an old pickup frame set on thick tires being pulled by a horse. That's what you call horse power!
We're very exhausted. We left the Mhlanga's home early this morning with not nearly enough sleep after the wearying (but awesome) ten days we've had. We love you all!
With much joy, Caron

No comments: