Our volunteer team of eight people arrived in Mutare a week ago Saturday evening. Tuesday morning we went to the Skills Training Center again, but at noon we went across the highway to the Zimunya Urban church. It is urban in the sense that other churches in Zimunya circuit are more rural. Most visitors from abroad would not consider it urban. We were greeted with many welcoming songs by about fifty preschool children. Even though they were only three or four-years old, they sang enthusiastically, including all the body motions the songs called for. They were precious, but their school consisted of only a tin roof supported by posts over a concrete slab. The church itself is undergoing re-construction, with new outer walls having already been raised. When the roof is extended to the new outer walls, the old walls will be demolished, and the church will be about twice as large as before. After a tour of the premises, we were given a traditional Zimbabwe dinner in the old church, and it was delicious!
We spent the day Wednesday at Africa University, a remarkable place that has a student body of about 2000 students from over 22 countries in Africa. I have the privilege of having been invited to be a Guest Lecturer on the Health Science Faculty for the coming semester, and am looking forward to that.
Wednesday afternoon we were at Fairview Orphanage just up the highway from Africa University. The orphanage does a good job of caring for 80 orphans. Unfortunately, that meets only a small fraction of the need in Zimbabwe because of the HIV/AIDS epidemic which has swept this country. Friday morning we went to Kuhudzai, where a rural school struggles to cope with 1100 students, many of whom are orphans. A number of the orphans presented their “poems” of plight and thanksgiving to us, and one of the teachers gave us an eloquent, heart-stirring, verbal picture of what it means to teach and care for these orphans. Some of us had tears in our eyes as we left the school.
Yesterday our team split up as we went to several different churches in the area, but we all experienced warm welcomes accompanied by joyous songs of celebration.
The rest of the team departed for Harare this morning in order to fly back to the USA tomorrow. It’s hard to believe that only a bit over a week has gone by since we arrived in Mutare. It is a week we will remember for a long time!