The African Diary (7)
Zimbabwe and South Africa
Friday-Monday July 7-10, 2000
- 1 Johannesburg/Zambia (June 29-30)
- 2 Lusaka, Zambia (June 30, July 1)
- 3 The challenging trip to Mumbwa (July 2)
- 4 A day in Mumbwa (July 2)
- 5 24 hours in Kitwe, Zambia July 3-4
- 6 On to Malawi - July 4 (part 1)
- 7 Clinic ground-breaking, Malawi July 5 (part 2)
- 8 Malawi July 6-7 (part 3)
- 9 Zimbabwe July 7-8 (part 1)
- 10 Zimbabwe July 9 (part 2)
- 11 South Africa July 9
From Malawi we flew to Harare late Friday afternoon to visit with our brethren there. Roy and Gillian Heathcote greeted us at the airport after an hour-long Air Zimbabwe flight. We stayed at their beautiful home in Harare. We found Harare a relief from the rundown state of so much of the infrastructure in Zambia and Malawi. We could not take the main road directly out to the Heathcotes because is ran next to one of President Mugabe's palaces and at night the main road is closed so we had to make a substantial detour. After we got the Heathcote's Mrs, Gillian Heathcote prepared a delicious dinner. Their daughter Mandy was home, however, a week from Monday she is going to New Zealand for several months. New Zealand has been sympathetic to the plight of Zimbabwe's oppressed population.
Zimbabwe is so far above Malawi and Zambia in development, that it there is no comparison. The roads are still in good repair, there are street lights that work. Many cars on the roads. The downtown area has an air of prosperity that is definitely void north of the Zambezi River. In fact, I found that talking about north of Zambezi in Africa is akin to saying south of the Rio Grande on our continent.
The roads are smoother, there are more cars and there are street lights. There is concern with the recent unrest in Zimbabwe that conditions will worsen, but for the moment there seemed to be a quiet. Andre and I could even go for a walk in the Heathcote neighborhood.
Saturday morning we gathered together
in Harare, Zimbabwe
Saturday morning we had a gathering of all the UCG members at a hall in the center of Harare. Fourteen of us met as Andre van Belkum reported on our trip so far and then I spoke about Matthew 24 and 25 and what God expects of Christians in troubled times.
At services it was good to see Elsie Nel, Winnie Ross, Mike and Primrose Mukarati and their two sons, one of whom played a recorder solo for special music. Visiting from New Zealand was Sam Sweat along with his wife Shannon. They are moving to the Dallas, Texas area. She is originally from Zimbabwe and we happened to visit here at the same time.
After services we fellowshipped and then went back to Heathcotes just to relax. Andre and I went for a brisk 45 minute walk. We were surprised that we could walk in the open. People would drive by and wave to us. So far, this has been the safest place on this trip.
Saturday night we held a social with the entire group. We had a pot-luck meal and spent the evening visiting with one another. It was so good to see so many from this group whom I had first met four years ago at the Fall Festival in Mutare.
On Sunday, we were leaving Zimbabwe and flying back to South Africa. Our South African A-300 was full with nearly 285 people on board. Steve Serfontein found us at the airport and took us immediately to the waiting group of 35 Johannesburg members to whom we spoke giving basically the same messages we did the day before. It was good to speak...it helped put together all the things we had learned on this trip and formulate solutions to some of the challenges that we had seen in Zambia and Malawi.
Afterwards we went back to the home of the de Campos's. Mr. and Mrs. are still in Portugal, but the children and the Serfontein's prepared a very delicious dinner and we spent the evening talking and sharing our impressions of what we had experienced and seen in the past week and a half.
On Monday, Michelle de Campos helped create a new logo for Virtual Christian Magazine. She will be coming to Ambassador Bible Center for the next session.
Steve Serfontein drove me to Johannesburg for the long 17 hour flight back to New York City. We did have an hour stop at Sal Island in the Cape Verde Islands for refueling. It was a long flight.
This was an awesome trip. Our health stayed OK, we did not have single late flight. We achieved all of our objectives. Now, I have many stories to tell and pictures to show. I can't wait to get back and see what can be done!