Saturday, April 9, 2011
we just got back for a three day retreat just outside of town. when we planned this time away, i had a pretty long "to do" list for dan and me to get done. just before we left a friend of ours challenged us a story of how he had once gone away seeking answers and came away unsatisfied. he said if he had only gone to seek God and let the answers come as God had planned it would have been a great experience. i didn't really like letting go of my "to do" list but in the end it was wonderful. we ended up mostly just resting and spending time together as a family. we enjoyed one another- especially our funny little girl. we took walks, drank tea, sang songs that reminded us of our friends, prayed, went swimming, and read. it was lovely. it was relaxing and energizing. it was just what we needed.
at 3:50 AM
Friday, April 1, 2011
i must apologize to my few readers that it has been over a month since i have posted. while i could like to say that life was just normal, the month did include some "exciting" things.
-our computer stopped reading it's wifi card and spent a week in the shop.
-we took olivia to the clinic at 11pm with a mysterious very high fever. it ended up being roseola and took care of itself.
-olivia has started eating solid foods and loves everything. she even made it through the hot sauce that dan accidentally fed her when he gave her some of her food.
-the peri-urban outreach started it's second year.
-our house mate, claire, got her work-permit extension. we are very happy about this because we like having her around!
-i am co-leading a bible study with a lovely group of ladies on Esther.
i think that is a good summary. otherwise our lives keep going.
at 4:11 PM
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
last week dan and i went on a date and found ourselves in a new mall in town. as we walked through i noticed that we were turning heads and this conversation followed:
me: everyone is looking at us.
me: not many white people come here do they?
d: i saw one but i think he was just walking through.
sometimes i forget we are different- then i go to town and remember.
at 7:54 AM
Monday, February 7, 2011
one of the most confusing things for me to attempt to wrap my mind around is the school system. because i didn't go through this system or have a child going through it, understanding of it seems to elude me. this is what i know:
-creche (preschool) is now required for a child to be able to enter into grade 1.
-the levels are grade 1-7 and then form 1-6. grades correspond with the grades in america. forms seem to track with high school but not exactly.
-there are exams all the time. exams are a big deal here because that is what the schools use to pass or fail a student. exams are also used for school placement.
-there are also "O" levels (ordinary) or "A" levels (Advanced) which effect your ability to get into "varsity" (University) or a job. it is common to see job advertisments that say something like, "you must have passed 5 O levels, including english and computers".
-the schools function in 3 month terms with a month holiday at april, august, and december.
-every school has a uniform and a "sport" uniform. the everyday uniform includes: a hat, a shirt, a tie, trousers (for winter), a skirt for girls, shorts for boys, a sweater, socks, and shoes. some also have blazers and bakcpacks that include the school crest.
-there is a fee for every school- rural to city, private to government. some schools also have "top-ups" for the teachers because teachers have a low salary. at boarding schools there is also a donation of groceries.
-no lunch is served at school. the typical day starts between 7:30 and 8am and ends by 12:30 to 1pm. (lunch here is from 1-2pm)
-all school is in english.
i have no idea how one goes about choosing a school but i do know that it is a very important and difficult event in a parent's life. yesterday in bible study my friend, a mother of a 4 year old, asked us to pray for her son's school placement next year! they have already gotten letters stating there is no room for him at that school. immediately after that the lady next to me leaned over and said: "have you put olivia's name on a list for creche yet?" i said, "no, she is 6 months old!" to which she responded, "yes, so you had better do it soon." i just sat there astonished by the thought.
school fees are an issue all in themselves. people are always in need of school fees for their children. i have no idea how much school fees are in town but in the rural areas they are $30 a term, $90 a year (not including books, pens/pencils, paper, and the uniform). at the beginning of each term it never fails to see school children not in school. when you ask why the answer is: we didn't pay school fees yet. my american brain has a hard time understanding such things. it is illegal to not send your children to school in america. here the school sends your child home until you can pay.
our gardener works at our house in the afternoon and works in the morning at a creche in town. he was telling me that the creche is in english so he cannot speak shona to the children at all. this creche has set itself apart by offering lessons in english, gymnastics, swimming, drama and speech. so because everyone wants their child to get ahead they are willing to send them to a school that offers the best programs. but these top schools also come with top prices. this particular creche costs $1300 a term!
so there you have it friends. just one of the many things i have yet to understand.
at 7:22 AM
Saturday, January 22, 2011
our christmas was extended to more days than we expected because dan's parents came to visit. we knew that we would get to continue celebrating on the 26th but thanks to lost bags our presents slowly arrived over the first 5 days of their visit. thankfully the real reason they came was not to deliever gifts but to spend time with us and their beloved first granddaughter. since dan's mom is a better writer than i am, i will let her share with you her thoughts:
"Fernando and I had the most amazing time in Zimbabwe. Spending time with Dan and Mary and holding and playing with Olivia for the first time were the best gifts we could ask for at Christmastime (or anytime!). Learning about their ministry and meeting so many of their friends and associates warmed our hearts, as we could plainly see how much they are loved and cared for there, and how much their work means to so many. The country is beautiful, as are its people. God is at work, and it is wonderful to see the tapestry of the body of Christ in another land, another culture.
We enjoyed simple home visits as much as we did our "big field trip" to Victoria Falls. We met nationals who are being mentored by Dan and Foundations for Farming, and saw their crop (sometimes maize as tall as seven feet!). The Falls are awesome, and the surrounding community is unique and beautiful. In addition to a tour of Victoria Falls, we enjoyed a river cruise up the Zambezi River (spying hippos along the way) and a wild game ride where we spotted a large herd of elephants, multiple giraffe and zebra, up close and personal.
Precious were the many moments we just hung out at the house, getting to know our little baby girl. She is delightful...so pleasant and fun. And what a trooper -- she tolerated the 11-hour car ride to Victoria Falls as well as any infant could. When she wasn't sleeping or eating, she was mostly smiling and helping her grandparents to enjoy the ride. On our only Sunday morning there, we had the privilege of attending church service at Dan and Mary's home church, and witnessing Olivia's dedication. After the service, a luncheon was held in our honor -- another reflection of respect for Dan and Mary. We wore the African outfits that were made especially for us as a gift from our children."
at 5:16 AM
we've moved! we found a house on the other side of town (the side we spend most of our time on). and it is lovely! there are two great parts, other than the location. 1) it has a flat on one side so our friend claire now lives with us! 2) the garden is amazing! now when i saw garden i mean the yard and trees and flowers (which dan often uses to make me beautiful arrangements) and landscaping, not our vegetables. the vegetables haven't found a place to grow yet but we are working on that. here are a few pictures:
this year for christmas we decided to be truly zimbabwean and go kumusha (to the rural home). so we asked our co-workers, joseph and vivian if we could join them at vivan's family's rural home for christmas. because of various commitments we could only go from the 23 to 25 dec. but that little time was great. dan had never spent a night in a village so it was very exciting for him to get to experience new things.
a little frisbee
fixing the cattle pen: the duty of the son-in-law
mopping the floor in the kitchen
olivia with gogo
at 4:16 AM