An Interesting, Challenging, and Amazing Week

It’s been an interesting, challenging, and amazing week. I took the AU bus to town one morning to spend the afternoon with a family I’ve known for the last ten years. They’re struggling with a serious problem. The father is unemployed and the mother abandoned the family three years ago, leaving two girls behind who are now ten and eight-years old. An Auntie who’s taken care of them (in addition to her own three children) was let go from her job two months ago and isn’t able to keep on caring for the girls. After much discussion, the extended family decided that the best solution was to find a good boarding school for the girls. I told them I could find sponsors to cover their school fees if the family could handle all other issues involved. By Thursday, one of the uncles was told by the Headmaster of the United Methodist Primary School in Mutumbara that they would accept the girls. The resolution of this issue has made the entire family happy, hoping it will provide some stability in the lives of these girls.

Monday evening I was invited to Dr. and Rev. Manyeza’s home to have dinner with them. Dr. Manyeza is Medical Director of the Old Mutare Mission Hospital and his wife is Chaplain for the staff of the Old Mutare Mission and the Fairfield Children’s Home, as well as the students at Hartzell Primary and High Schools. After a delicious dinner, Dr. Manyeza told me about his Master Plan to upgrade the Old Mutare Hospital. We had a good discussion about future plans for the hospital and its potential links with the Faculty of Health Sciences. It was a lovely evening.

Friday evening, two students whom I help sponsor at AU dropped by the Guest House to see me, while a couple whom I know in Mutare coincidentally decided to come visit me the same evening. They all wanted to learn something about vegetarian cooking, so I threw an extra can of baked beans into my brown rice and baked beans entrée, and everyone had a good sample of that as well as a sampling of cabbage, sweet potato, and pumpkin leaf greens that I cooked for supper. I explained that taste buds learn to adjust to new tastes if given a chance. Everyone said they enjoyed the food. Whether that was true or not, the evening was a rich educational experience!

In the meantime, Final Examinations for all students began this week. On my morning walks I saw lots of students cramming for their final exams, as students do everywhere. Then a report of student misbehavior in one of the dorms caused a mini-crisis on campus. (Being at AU doesn’t make students perfect!) As AU dealt with the crisis, final exams stayed on track! Two of my classes had their final three-hour exams Saturday. My weekend MPH class also completed their Communicable Disease module by giving PowerPoint presentations on how they would manage an outbreak of any of the diseases we discussed in class. They covered malaria, measles, anthrax, cholera, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and schistosomiasis, all of which are endemic in Zimbabwe. They did an excellent job! 

This morning I took the bus to town again to go to St. Peter’s United Methodist Church. My good friend, Tom Sarimana was guest speaker, and he gave a beautiful talk on the value of recognizing the Christ in everyone we come in touch with, from the elderly to the very young. After church Tom and Tracey brought me back to campus and we had a quick lunch together at the Guest House before they went back home. Now, my task in the week ahead is to grade all the final examination papers my students have written. This will be both interesting and challenging!