An Enjoyable Evening Out

I was invited to Goddard and Sheila’s home for dinner last evening, along with Liberty and Marvel, two of Sheila’s brothers. Sheila and Goddard live in one of the more remote suburbs of Mutare. I took the 3 pm AU bus to Mutare and did a bit of grocery shopping at Spar, one of the more common grocery stores in Zimbabwe. Liberty and Marvel met me at Spar, and then we walked a few blocks to a combibus boarding area. Combibuses are 15-passenger minivans licensed as passenger carriers in Zimbabwe. Many are in fairly poor condition, though they have to meet basic licensing standards. By the time we finished loading up, there were 19 adults and two babies in the bus, plus the driver and conductor. It’s not unusual for them to get overloaded as it only costs 50 cents for transport, even to the more distant suburbs. After going about four blocks, the engine sputtered and died. All efforts to get it started failed, so we all piled into another one headed the same way. We went several miles through a couple high-density suburbs of Mutare, stopping every so often to let a passenger off. Several of us would have to get out at each stop to let the passenger exit. Traveling by combibus is a unique kind of adventure! Along the way, Marvel pointed out the primary and secondary schools he and his brothers had attended. We were the last passengers by the time we got to our destination. We walked a few more blocks to Sheila and Goddard’s home. It was almost 6 pm when we got there. We were warmly greeted and had a nice evening of visiting. I was given a tour of the home. They just moved into this new home recently, and several of the rooms are not quite finished, but it’s very nice. We had an enjoyable evening of visiting and then had a delicious Zimbabwean dinner. It’s a great experience to be so warmly embraced by Zimbabwean friends!

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