After a 15 hour flight, we landed in the Johannesburg airport where the guys got free shots of whiskey, we stopped for breakfast/lunch, and there was a lot of world cup stuff. When we got to the Bulawayo "airport" we had to wait forever to get through customs. We got out visas fairly easily, however, they would not let us through with all the items we brought to give away. After long debates and even getting our interpreters to helps us out, we had to pay them $700 to get this stuff that we had been donated (FOR FREE) through customs. Pierre and Patson were waiting for us on the other side where we then had a surprise welcome from the city leaders with vuvuzelas and a Young Life banner. They were so welcoming- jumped out, hugged us, and gave us little bags they had made for us.
After going to Pierre's to repack, we were off to stay with white Zimbabwean families. Meghan, Lindsay, and I are staying with a sweet widow, Jill. I really wish I had some way of telling my parents I made it safely (put this in here for you, Mom).
Tomorrow night we start doing homestays in the townships where we will be the first white people ever in those parts of town. I'm really nervous. Jill told us over dinner about a bad gang that has been hanging around her area of town. It's the first time I've been nervous at all, but it's strengthening my trust in God to provide and take care of us according to His will. I would feel much safer if we were all staying together.
I really can't fathom that I'm in AFRICA right now! And just staying at a random lady's house... It'll only get scarier from here.
Tonight we are staying at Mrs. K's house. She showed us all around her neighborhood- her house is "smart" for this area. It's bigger than I expected, and I am not nearly as scared as I had expected to be. Since we are the first ever whites in this neighborhood, people are very intrigued. They like to ask how much things cost in America, etc. The elders around here hardly speak any English. The meat for dinner was too tough for me to chew- I had to spit it out. We went in one lady's tiny house where she dried fish for a living.
We had a bonfire outside Mrs. K's, and a lot of neighborhood kids gathered around. Then everyone went inside for karaoke and a dance party. Mrs. K's little sister really liked me and made me a paper cell phone. I'm sure everyone thinks we ask the dumbest questions because we don't know how to do such simple things.
Today we toured a public school- Gifford, where Lloyd does contact work. Then we had club training with all the [city] leaders. They are so energetic and welcoming.
They days are passing so slowly, and it's much colder here than I expected. The air is very dry and dusty. It's amazing how out of my comfort zone I am. It really helps that everyone is so friendly. Friendlier than anyone I know in America. I've learned so much just by talking with people. I couldn't make it without knowing God was with me through all this. When we sang worship songs at the YL training I got chills from watching these Africans worshiping the same God I worship despite the huge differences in our culture.
I took my first ever bucket bath at Mrs. K's this morning. The house was very cold so I was freezing with no clothes on in the bathroom with a bucket of boiling water. She brought me wet towels to dry off with so I ended up using my dirty shirt. I had no idea how to go about washing my hair so I haven't washed it since the night before last. No one has mirrors and the electricity was off this morning so I can't even see what I look like until pictures are taken.
Tonight at dinner at Sharron's my stomach made a really loud noise because it's not used to eating these foods- really embarrassing. Sharron's house is much smaller and only has 2 bedrooms. Meghan and I are sleeping in her sister's room while there are people sleeping on the floor in the living room- they refuse to let us help cook or clean, and I feel terrible! Before dinner Jack, Zach, Dalu, and Quintin came over and the American guys fell asleep while Meghan and I had a really cool conversation with the others. We played cards with Sharron and her sister before bed, and they were amazed by our shuffling. None of the houses we have stayed at have had a man. Mrs. K's dad is in SA. Sharron's mom is dead, and I'm not sure about her dad.
We did our first club today, and it went really well considering the lack of preparation. One girl was "manifested by a demon" during Gary's talk so Pierre prayed over her and it left. As much as I've tried to convince myself that things like that really do happen, I don't think I ever fully believed it until I witnessed it myself today.
Next we toured a school where they were having a fashion show where students walked out on a runway made of desks. After, we went to lunch and had some sort of gray hot dog that I could not make myself eat so I ate a piece of bread with peanut butter.