However, on a brighter note, we were able to bring a blessed relief to our dear friends again so soon after the Christmas trip, quoted as received from all the homes we visited.
I had a new face travelling with me this trip, Derrick Streaton, a number of years younger than me who ably did most of the hard, heavy work. He says it was an eye opener to him to see the magnitude of the work we do in the time frame we allow ourselves. He had often heard of us but seeing the operation in action from packing to delivery and back was a highlight for him. This is the reason I am always asking for folk to join us on these trips, and the offer still stands.
Friday. 3rd. February.
We had a wonderful border crossing seeing that we were travelling light, completed the task in just 3 hrs and were in Bulawayo by lunch time to complete the preparation of the truck for the journey around the country. Angela Engelbrecht and her team were on form and Hannes was seldom called on for advice. We were done with the loading by early evening and were treated to Hannes’s favorite mutton curry.
We left at 07.30 for Gweru arriving at 10.15 at Boggies where the new Sergeant in arms is Bruce Chilcott as our dear friend Fred Monger is not doing too good. He and Kate both need your prayers. Everyone was over the moon and commented about their Christmas hampers and our quick return. We moved on to do Huisvergesig and then on to Herbert Lee in Redcliff and then on to Lynbrook home in Kwekwe. We always get a rousing welcome here and the residents prepare a plate of sarmies, samoosas, tea, coffee or juice for us. Then we are taken for lunch at the Kwekwe club and given a good yummy lunch. Ken Connolly, yes you young man, thanks so much for your generous donation of fuel and I will stick to my word as regarding our conversation. Bless you. We then continued to Westview in Kadoma, unloading the hampers for fear of early morning rain the next day. We overnighted with our hosts Clive and Estelle O’Reilly who as usual spoilt us with great food and a warm bed.
We set off for Sunningdale in Chinhoyi and arrived in a really wonderful “cloudburst”. We waited some time for the storm to abate before we could even try to deposit the hampers straight into the lounge. Tea, coffee and cookies were served while we waited. Once the rain stopped all present, ladies, gents and the labourers got everything off in minutes. As everyone left we had room to maneuver our “Silver Steed” out of the parking area. Alas, we got stuck on the muddy lawn that had, had days of rain and then this cloudburst. We arrived at our hosts, John and Leone Herbst who incidentally told Liz that theirs is the only place we sleep over in Harare, wonderful, blessed people for whom the extra mile is a walk in the park.
We did our normal deliveries to our very dear and helpful friend, Mike and Marion Futter, who willingly arrange for further distribution. On to our new fuel supplies Mr. Vic Bongiovani, thank you Vic. We left Harare for Resthaven in Rusape to do a quick drop of the hampers. En route I was called by two different residents and asked if we would like to sleep over. Talk about decisions, decisions. This home has a really great bunch of friends that Liz and I have made over the years. As it was Liz and my 46th wedding anniversary I decided that we would stay for the night. I needed time to talk to her in my own space. A great time was had by all and it was also a time that I could do some “personal ministry” with some of those that needed it.
We left early before “brekkies” for Mutare to give us an early start as we service 3 homes, EHT kitchen and Des Becker does and organizes umpteen hampers to people living in the outlying areas we cannot get to, this he does, on top of holding down a normal job. Hampers were delivered and empties collected same day because of our early start and that evening we were again treated to a scrumptious meal as we joined them in their weekly church cell group meeting.
We set off early knowing we had a long trek ahead of us and knowing that with all the rains had in December, January and that was still falling virtually all the way since we got to Gweru 5 days ago, the road would be in very poor condition. The 4-5 hour journey became a 6 hour obstacle course or off-road experience, the road was non existent in many areas and our speed was often 5-10 k/mph. We did a quick drop in Chivhu before pressing on to Masvingo where we were going to overnight. We arrived in good time enabling us to drop all the hampers and load the empties that could be salvaged from last trip, when we had a cloud burst as soon as all the hampers were on the lawn in their correct order for distribution. All were moved onto the veranda in the torrential rain but many of our boxes were totally destroyed. We had a hamper type meal with Mr. Johnny Nel and slept over.
We left very early, did the delivery at Lynn D’Ewes home who spreads it further for us to the wide spread outsiders. After a hearty breakfast we set off to MUUS in Sherugwe, where we delivered the hampers and got the distressing news that my friend Kurt Peterson had had a stroke and was recovering with his son in Gweru. Good news is that he is recovering well and I will make an effort to see him on my next trip. We went on to pick up all Gweru empties and then on to Bulawayo to drop them off in the warehouse, refuel at a new sponsor Colbro, thanks guys, your help is immeasurable. We spent the night at our cottage in Coronation Cottages.
We went to enjoy a hearty “brekkie” with my great “fatherly” friend Mr. Buck de Vries who warned me the night before that he would pursue me to the border and , , , , , , use your imagination, so we stayed and had a good visit. If anyone has a TDi 2.5 Land Rover cylinder head lying around, this old timer is desperately looking for one. We left, and had another great border crossing, 55 minutes, spent the night with Joe and Hester in Musina, our 5 star resting place when going up and coming back, we really appreciate your hospitality.
BACK HOME TO MY DARLING WIFE OF 46 YEARS
I want to add at this stage that the countryside is looking great in the majority of places and they have in many places had in excess of normal rainfall. Most dams are either close to full or full and most rivers we crossed were flowing strongly. The rain has caused chaos with the road network and travelling was in many places a nightmare, hence the photos of road conditioned and remember, this truck delivers an invaluable commodity to the pensioners in Zimbabwe so progress was slow but effective.
The other issue is the unbelievable amount of police road blocks we encountered, no less than 100, a conservative estimate. In some instances I could not even get to cruising speed before the next one. Motorists do not refer to them as police road blocks but ATM’s extortionists and my name for them is “The Zimbabwe Rinderpest”, ZRP. Once again, Brian, thanks for your info, these guys tremble at the mention of Mr. Chigome’s name and return the papers and wave you on.
To our sponsors, supporters, well wishers and prayer partners, thank you ALL for your ongoing support in whichever way you help. We cannot do this without you.
Having been a steam fireman and driver I can without restrain say, not only are you the rails we run on, but all you other ex drivers out there will echo this one, “You are the coal that burns in the firebox to heats the water to produce the steam that produces the POWER to turn the wheels to carry the load to its destination”.
YOU ARE ALL INDISPENSABLE.
May the Lord our God keep your baskets full and supply every need you have.
Pastor Attie Botha for the ZIMBABWE PENSIONER SUPPORT FUND.
Web page – www.zpsf.co.za
Head Office – email@example.com