Greetings family and loved ones! It was been quite an adventure here in Zimbabwe. For starters, it has been much colder here than any of us anticipated. Thank God we were sent with sweatshirts! The mornings and evenings are very cold, but the afternoons are bright, warm and sunny. (our laundry dries very quickly here!) Most of our head colds have cleared up, and the girls are all healthy! We have learned that even the simplest of tasks can be grueling here. When venturing out to get groceries, we awakend at 2:15 am. After walking 2/3 of a mile, we greeted our van which was unheated, and uncomfortable. After many stops, bumps, and an all most unbearably freezing ride, we arrived at the bus station in Bulawayo. Another 2 mile walk brought us into town where we waited for an hour until the stores opened up. The grocery stores are very limited, but we managed to grab some cans of fruits, veggies, bread and cheese. We purchased chitenges for the girls, and got a cab back to the bus station. Another hour of waiting, and we finally boarded our van again, this time with extra passengers. The ride back was around 4.5 hrs, squished, with our groceries on our lap, in the hot sun, and dust swirling around in the van. We were grateful when we finally arrived back on base, and the girls were happy to see us as well. We realized how much we take for granted back home. Our simple task of grocery shopping was a 12.5 hr ordeal.
Yesterday, we had our first footwashing experience. A group of children arrived here in the afternoon after school. Our girls were ready and excited. Chelsea greeted the kids, and helped lead them in phonics. Courtney, Rebekah, Micayla, Taylor, and Emily sat on the ground as the orphans sat on a bench and lovingly washed their feet. (with gloves) Amy and Alyssa were in charge of finding the children shoes which fit their feet. Abby, Annie, and Ezzie administered lotions, neosporin and bandaids to those who had cuts on their feet. (also with gloves =) Hannah and Nikki were on KP, but were able to help hold fabric up and block the sun from two of the children who were albinos. It was hard to stomach what bad shape these children were in. Many of the children had infected wounds which had been festering for weeks, their lips were dry, cracked and swollen, and they were poorly dressed. The girls shared some thoughts on yesterday:
Abby: I had been feeling kind of down, but seeing the kids reminded me of why I was here, and brought my spirit up.
Emily: They were absolutely precious!
Annie: A smile means everything to them.
Ezzie: After we washed their feet, and got to play with the kids on the personal level gave me such joy.
Hannah: It amazed me how the kids still played, smiled and had fun, despite their sore and poorly care for feet.
Chelsea: When I taught phonics, I was blessed by Sandra (a BMW student) who translated to the children in D’bele for me. This allowed the kids to open up and feel more comfortable
We have many more evangelism opportunities in the days in weeks to come including visiting a children’s school, a local hospital, a church, and nearby villages with orphans. We’ve seen great spiritual growth in all of the girls, and each night one of the girl’s had led an amazing Bible study. The Lord has blessed our team beyond measure. In our free time, we are able to visit with the staff and their children. It truly beautiful here. As always, it’s a great day here in ZImbabwe! Many Blessings, Claimet, Bobbi, Suzanne and the girls