So we made it back from Zimbabwe this week, what an amazing experience! The country is beautiful and the people are great; as a whole, I would have to say that Zimbabweans are the nicest people I've ever met. The trip went well. We arrived in Harare at about 9 pm Thursday Aug 28th and started training on one of the J-Life modules the next morning. Monday and Tuesday of the next week we had a couple of meetings with local pastors and had some time to explore downtown. The whole time we were in Harare we stayed at a pastor's house in town, and even though it is the capital city, water and electricity were still very hit-and-miss. We were in a house with a kitchen and a hotplate, so when there was electricity we could cook. But probably about half of the days we were there, the power would go off in the afternoon and didn't come on until the morning.... we ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches. Wednesday morning we left for Bulawayo, about a six hour drive, where we met up with another group from J-Life. We did another training module on Friday and Saturday and had more meetings with pastors and then came home Monday the 10th. Other than spending every night on the floor, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. I don't know how many of you keep up with the world news, but the economic state of Zimbabwe is extremely shocking. The country is in a state of hyper inflation and it has gotten to the point that they had to start printing more currency every month with higher and higher denominations… in August they actually had 50 and 100 Billion Dollar notes. Even with denominations this high it would take a stack to buy anything at all. Inflation is so bad that exchange rates change almost every day… when we arrived in Harare, one Rand (SA Currency) was worth 250 Billion $Z, and when we left 5 days later that same Rand was worth 290 Billion ($1 US = 7.5 R). It amazed me how joyous and hopeful everyone seemed to be even in the face of such diversity.
After getting home earlier this week I've just been helping around the campsite here, making preparations for a camp this weekend, and I got to spend my 23rd birthday putting out fires! It hasn't rained here since early this year so everything is incredibly dry, making fires a huge problem, especially for farmers. The fire started in a field Thursday night when a tree knocked down power lines… it took about 5 hours to get it under control but it started back up 3 times yesterday, all in different places. Other than that, everything has been going well.
Thank you all for the prayers, God bless!
P.S. – Please pray for Zimbabwe!