July 8, 2012
Today we visit Piet and Anike, a couple from Holland who’ve been living in Zimbabwe for 32 years. They graciously invite us to their house for lunch after church and we arrive excited to make new friends. Anike is a gracious host, presenting us with a delicious stew and rice meal, salad and a dessert of yogurt and stewed fruit. It is so nice! Homemade wine and guava juice completes a delicious meal where conversation flows easily and where the kids don’t feel like they have to sit still the entire time. After lunch, we talk and the little ones scamper off to play in the sand pile close to the house and to make dolls out of twigs and leaves. They have the best time!
M and J with boys in left top
The real treat comes when we go on a hike with their two dogs. We walk towards some dams that have been built to help with water issues and which has been completely neglected by the government. Five years ago, Piet and Anike got together with others in the area to clean up the dam and surrounding park. Today, it is gorgeous! They’ve worked so hard at clearing paths, at creating spaces for bar-b-q’s and picnics, at planting aloe gardens and magical-looking cacti gardens. We roam around, enjoying our surroundings and quiet.
We return to their home for a snack of samosas (I looooove them!) and juice before we head back to our home where pancakes (thin, large pancakes with a drizzle of lemon from the lemon tree out back, cinnamon and sugar) and waiting for us at the Stambolie home. All 13 of us sit around a makeshift large table and we enjoy more good conversation and food in an easy atmosphere that is welcoming and warm. Ah!! It’s good to feel at home.
July 9, 2012
The kids and I pile into Q’s truck, ready for another goat distribution. This one is also thanks to One Day’s Wages, who gave us a nice grant. We pull up to the dry, dry village and there, waiting for us as usual, is a small group of grannies. They pose for photos while the goats are brought to a small pen where it will be easy to corral them. Q and I fall into our usual roles and quickly, we are done with vaccinating and tagging the goats.
I look out to see what the kids are doing and there is Morgan, holding a cute little girl. They, along with Juju, are communicating somehow, even though the little one doesn’t speak English and Morgan and Juju don’t speak N’debele. They help write some signs I need for a future video and do it together, the four. The little girl does not let go of Morgan, who is just happy to hold her and make her smile.
Aiden is inside a hut, watching lunch being cooked and chatting away to the lady cooking. His eyes are watering from all the smoke that can’t escape the round hut, but he refuses to leave. When the lady leaves to fetch some water, Aiden is right on her heels, asking questions and pointing things out to her. She answers him in N’debele and they seem to get along really well, even without a common language.
When they are done making lunch, Aiden is happy to play outside with a stick. He is a hero, a champion, a soldier, Lightning MacQueen.
The girls play with the little one until it is time to eat lunch. Juju loves the sadzsa and Morgan and I struggle to get the chicken meat off the bone. We start by gently trying, then we get a bit more forceful. Soon, it is a challenge and we are not about to give up easily. We put our plates on our laps and dig our fingers into the place where meat meets bone. We tug, we pull, we cajole. We CANNOT free the meat! It is quite amazing! When I finally, finally get a bit off, I give it to Aiden, who happily chews on it for 3-4 minutes before it disappears. By then, I’ve been able to get some more pieces off. It is quite comical and Morgan and I laugh at our inability to eat neatly, with one hand, like everyone around us does.
I love how these three kids are getting along out here with everyone. They are gracious, shaking hands when appropriate, smiling at everyone, eating what is put in front of them, thanking people kindly, and saying goodbye with a big wave. They make me proud, these three.