I’m back in Zimbabwe! Our Volunteer-in-Mission team of eight arrived in Harare late Friday night after a long flight from Washington’s Dulles Airport, via Dakar, Senegal, and Johannesburg, South Africa. We are now in the city of Mutare, in the eastern part of Zimbabwe, near the border with Mozambique. Sunday we attended worship service in a small but vibrant rural church in Chitakatira. Then we went to a new point on the Chitakatira circuit, where we met a new congregation meeting under mango trees. It was a wonderful experience!

Yesterday we went to the Zimunya Skills Training Center to participate in the work of completing the Classroom Building. I helped with a bit of basic labor as I don’t have great construction skills. The experience of working with the Zimbabwean construction crew was neat, and they clearly enjoyed our participation.

Later in the afternoon we went to see a model garden that Arnold Mukwindidza has developed this year. He has personally done most of the labor of turning an acre of raw land into raised vegetable plots that have already started producing a good variety of vegetables. It looks wonderful, supplying most of the family’s needs as well as providing a source of income by selling these good organic vegetables at the markets. It is an example of the kinds of things we want to teach at the center.

The overall plan is to start basic skills classes this fall. Zimbabwe has a very high unemployment rate (reportedly about 70-80 percent unemployment.) The goal of the center is to teach skills that people can apply in their own home situations, as well as help them become employable. The need is great, but the promise of helping meet those needs is real!