One of the most humbling aspects of having an opportunity to be involved with something like the Sandra Jones Village was to know that each of the children there (some 70 in total) represented a heart-wrenching story of unspeakable pain. Yet the place exuded an air of optimism and joy – of those precious kids rising above insurmountable odds and terrible circumstances to find a reason to live within their community of fellow travelers.
When we first went to the girls’ section of the Sandra Jones Village we encountered a girl writhing in pain on her bed because she was suffering from terrible tooth decay. It helped us to realise how important were the 500 Panadol we’d smuggled in past customs were going to be. Yet a few minutes later this same girl emerged from her bedroom with tear-stained cheeks because the whole group of girls wanted to sing us a song of welcome. It’s hard to describe how unworthy you can feel when something like that happens.
While we were in Zimbabwe we overlapped two international ‘mission’ teams who came in contact with the Sandra Jones Memorial Village. No names, nationalities or denominations shall be mentioned in this blog, but I wish to comment on their differing methodology.
We will start with Group A. They are in Zimbabwe for nearly a month, and in that time are spending time with only two places (I think). They spent two weeks with the Sandra Jones Memorial Village. In that time a lot of their contribution was practical service. They painted the babies home, they cleared a fire break around Willow Park and as some of them were in the medical field they spent a lot of time tending to the children’s health needs.
Today we had a car restored so we set out on a quick circuit around the city to visit some of my favourite places as a child.
First stop was the National Museum of Zimbabwe, the rotund building near to the fountains and Centenary Park. I’d always enjoyed this place for the entry foyer, with loads of stuffed animals and the gemstone halls which had a replica mine to walk through. In fact that mine earned me two cuts with the cane once as I’d run ahead of my school group to get to it. (My justification was that I went to the Museum so often I was hardly going to get lost – my Principal and his schambok didn’t buy it).
After yesterday’s car dramas and subsequent rescue by our mysterious angel, we awoke this morning knowing there was a much-relied-upon car in need of major repairs and only two days and no cash to do it. Enter diesel mechanic extraordinaire, Lance and his two side-kicks, Andrew and Joseph and ……Hey Presto!! After several messy hours of cleaning engine grease the car is pretty much going (which, in Zimbabwe, means it’s fixed!). Most cars here seem to run on not much more than love!
We always knew when we went on this holiday that there’d be some tense and scary moments. Our missed plane at OR Tambo was one of them, today we had another. Antelope Park is 160km from Bulawayo. We made it up there safely yesterday but towards the end of the journey the car started making unusual noises and the oil light flicked on a few times.
Ten kilometres into the return journey the noises started up, accompanied by the oil light. I wasn’t too perturbed as we have Lance with us and I’m not being biased in suggesting he’s one of Australia’s top diesel mechanics – his position and salary from BHP establishes his bona fides. He topped the oil up, the noise went away and off we went.
After that ‘weight of the world on my shoulders’ blog, I now think it’s time I told you about some of the fun stuff!!
On Sunday afternoon, Morag, Lance, Scott, Andrew and myself headed out to a game park to take part in a “Walk with the Rhinos” safari. It was the first time Andrew and I have been able to do anything without the boys on this whole trip and it was so nice!! Don’t get me wrong, the boys have been great and have added a whole new dimension to this adventure we’re on….but let’s be honest, it’s nice to have some adult time! Thanks to Debbie for giving them a great afternoon with her five beautiful girls so we could get away.
Firstly I guess I should tell you about the train trip. Well firstly we had to arrive late so we did not get mobbed. When we hopped on the train we had to wait 30 minutes before the train got moving. And it was incredibly bumpy. I went to sleep early cause I was feeling extremely sick. I woke up around 3 in the morning and I vomited. Then I think I stared playing games on my dsi for about 2 hours. Then I went back To sleep and FINALY the train trip ended.That was the great train trip.