It's nearly two weeks now since we left home and we're eager to return, but I won't say it'll be easy to leave Zimbabwe. I'm not sure it's possible to take you're whole heart home with you once you've been here. We must be at the airport by daybreak tomorrow--which is quite early here--to catch our 7:30 flight to London. Jerry, Adrian, Brian and I will continue on to Boston from there while the Leveretts stay overnight. The four of us will arrive late in Boston and must stay less than 12 hours before our flights to Dallas and home. Fortunately, we have hotel rooms booked. The Leveretts will fly to Chicago on Saturday, stay the night, and then home on Sunday.
Today we drove about an hour to Marewa and then another 20-30 minutes down a dirt road to Rapenga school where a church and several area schools met us. The children sang and recited Bible verses. The older women requested their pictures taken and the younger asked us to help them get to America. The area around Marewa actually seemed to be slightly better off than many areas where we've travelled, though that is by far a relative term. Southwest church in Amarillo has several new World Bible School students in this area, and a former WBS student is evangelizing there. His name is Peter Marumba, and he lives with the village head. He introduced us to his girlfriend whom he'd like to marry, but he doesn't have the bride price and hasn't yet persuaded us to donate it to him, though he has tried. We did purchase a bicycle for him with funds given to Brian by friends from Southwest; he was very excited to receive it today. We made it very clear that we only had an hour to spend in Marewa, but the introductions and messages and mingling ran long and then Peter took us to the home of a family who'd prepared rice and chicken for us. The mother and one of the adult daughters knelt on the floor and poured water over our hands into a basis to rinse them before dishing up our plates. We were very fortunate to have spoons to eat with. The family had a pen with turkeys and washbins full of chicks which are hard to come by these days. We are on Africa time, of course, so it was no surprise that our one hour in Marewa stretched to four. And that was with the itinerary Peter made for us quite unfinished!
Upon our return to Harare, Washington took us to the market where the guys and I purchased some souveniers. We spent nearly $25 million Zim--every $100,000 note we had on us. :) The exchange rate has changed since last week, so that is not even $50 worth, but we made some craftsmen very, very happy.
I'm sorry to say that we brought Brian to Zimbabwe and he took a turn for the worse--literally. But his driving improved once he got us out of the middle of the intersection and back on the correct side of the road. Actually, Brian and Jerry did a fantastic job of driving us down single lane roads, dirt roads, oxcart paths, and around (and occassionally through) large potholes. Paula says Jerry has earned his PhD here--he's now a certified pot-hole dodger.
Soon we're taking the Mhlangas to dinner and will meet Alvaro Dos Santos's brother, Chris, as well has his son, Phillip, there. We're looking forward to seeing Phillip whom the Leveretts and I have known for some time now. The Mhlanga's have no water today, but fortunately they've stored some up; nevertheless, I'm really rooting for a shower before heading to the airport in the morning. I rented a shower at Heathrow in London on the way, but our layover will be short tomorrow. Adrian received his dufflebag only yesterday, but he's looking forward to wearing clean clothes home. We're looking forward to him doing so, too!
It's doubtful I'll be able to write before Boston at least, so I will give you all my love and ask you to continue praying for us. Our souls are good.