Have you ever had a moment when you realized that whatever it is that you’ve been going through, it is all worth it? How many times have you asked yourself if it’s worth the frustration, the loneliness, the money, the pain, the work to be doing what you’re doing? I don’t know what it is for you, we are all on our own journeys. For me, it’s living in Zimbabwe, and the struggle to be allowed to stay here. It ain’t easy. I knew it wouldn’t be, but some days I just want to go back to bed.
We are living at Eden Children’s Village and have started Buwe Innovative Solutions Pvt. Ltd., or Buwe Construction as I like to call it, and are planning on being here long term. This isn’t easy in Zimbabwe right now, but it seems like the business has come together. Now we are working on our immigration process, applying to be business investors which will give us a 2 year renewable visa. We can’t wait to get that approved. The stress of living month to month is brutal. Having that paper in our passports will be such a relief, I will dance my way out of the immigration office!
The day to day here has become normal for all of us. Carole goes to the clinic to do paperwork or assess patients, or gets a call to run to the local government clinic to help deliver a baby. Lia and Nae go to the Eden school with the rest of the Eden kids. I work on whatever project I have on the go, or meet with the builders and oversee all the projects we are working on. Some days are pretty frustrating. Oh for a Home Depot around the corner!
There are lots of things I could write about our life here that would surprise you or seem strange, but we hardly notice anymore. No electricity without running our generator (thank you Union St. Baptist!), no hot water (lots of bucket baths), language and cultural barriers, no cash available, sporadic cell service, bugs (lots and lots of bugs), one grocery store run a month (meal plans are a must), snakes (the nasty kind), all of this is normal to us now. The funny thing is that it is worth it to be here. Who needs electricity 24-7? It’s so hot here most of the time that a cold shower feels great and I appreciate hot showers at a friend’s house way more than I ever would’ve before. I’m slowly learning the language, very slowly. Credit cards are accepted at a few of the big grocery stores and thankfully at the hardware store too. Bugs you can squash. Snakes too for that matter, you just need a long stick.
Those days when I get frustrated with stuff I find that when I hop on my bicycle, a borrowed one, and go down the path to the farm and start meeting people the frustration evaporates. I love the Shona people here in Doma! Sometimes I have to stop doing what I’m doing, get out of the house, and be with people to remember that it is not about me and what I think is important at the moment. It’s about others and being Jesus to them, as much as this very rough, screwed up guy can be.
Last week I was working on orphan home #8 over at the village. Misheck, Cloud and I were cutting eucalyptus logs with a crosscut saw to support the floor beams for the stairs we are putting in, and a boy about 10 years old came to watch. (I asked him his name but it was not an easy one for this Canadian tongue and I can’t remember it.) I told him to grab the end of the saw and try it. He did. Then he didn’t want to let go. He had the biggest smile on his face, he was glowing. There he was, a young boy, being asked to work with the men. What boy wouldn’t want that? He stayed with us for the rest of the afternoon. At one point I was up on a ladder measuring something and I looked down to see him sweeping the floor. I couldn’t believe it. I have yet to see a Shona man pick up a broom and sweep without being told.
The next day I was working alone and this boy came running when he saw me at the house. This time he had about 10 other boys with him. I told them to sweep the wood scraps out the door and to take them over to the kitchen hut to burn or that they could make stuff with them first. There was a mad rush for chunks of wood and whatever bent nails they could find. They used scrap metal and rocks for hammers, and soon they were making stools, boxes and one boy made a lectern. He brought it into the house and started singing and clapping his hands until some of the others pitched in and then he started preaching. When I was a boy I would’ve made a sword or a gun.
The following day I brought out the power sander, sanded one board then handed it to the closest boy. He was shocked, but quickly started sanding the next board. Then it was handed to another boy to do another board and on it went. One boy saw me using the square to draw a cut line and the next thing I knew he was the official square boy and he marked all the cuts, with the help of about 4 other kids. I showed another boy how to use the caulking gun to apply glue and he became the official caulking gun boy. It was so fun! I couldn’t move without stepping on someone’s bare feet with my steel toed shoes.
I told Carole at the end of the day that for all that we are going through, it is worth it. These boys need men to teach them how to be men. They need men to spend time with them, showing them that they are important and loved. In Shona culture they are treated like rubbish and I need to be showing them that they are treasure. I am usually so busy looking after so many things that I don’t spend any time at the village with the kids. This past week has been great, working with my crew of 10 year old boys. It dawned on me that this is the second part of the picture that God showed me years ago, and that all my family has gone through to get here to Eden has been worth it and we wouldn’t want to get off this wild ride for anything.