In South Africa we regularly use the expression "we'll make a plan" or "ons sal 'n plan maak" but up in Zimbabwe they actually do it! There's no talking about making a plan, just the reality of having to get on with it.
I loved every minute of being back in Zim, despite the constant power cuts, water shortages and shocking roads. I loved how the locals don't waste their time complaining and moaning about how bad it is but rather get on with life. I loved every minute of being back there because it made me realise just how much of my heart I left there when we were thrown out in 2003.
I loved every minute of being back in Zim because I felt a freedom there that I never feel at home in South Africa. The welcome I received in the high-density suburb of Warren Park where Ziggy & Mercy got married was amazing and sincere and it was pure joy to spend the day there celebrating with dear friends!
I loved every minute of being back in Zim because of the friendliness of the people. Uncle Bob might have tried to portray the land issue as one of race but the people aren't as stupid as he'd like to think they are. Zim is light years ahead of South Africa in terms of race relations!
I loved every minute of being back in Zim because I was able to do things I wouldn't dare do in SA. One time as I was walking back to my friends house a Shona guy pulled up and asked if I knew where a business was. I didn't until he said it was on Tunsgate. I told him that I used to live on Tunsgate, so I got in his car and we drove there. On the Sunday I got lost on my way to Westgate so I pulled into a driveway to turn around. A soldier knocked on my window, fist-bumped me and then asked what I was doing. When I told him I was lost he called another soldier over. He got into my car and together we set off for Westgate. I would NEVER do either of these things in South Africa!
I loved being back amongst friends, especially Mark & Leanne and their family. I'd forgotten what good friends they are and how close we had become. I loved meeting up with Shepherd and revisiting the now defunct Just Children Foundation where we worked in 2000-2001.
I loved visiting River of Life Westgate, the church we'd been instrumental in planting back in 2002-3 and hearing about how so many of our old friends had gone on to plant a number of churches out of Westgate. I loved spending time worshipping in Shona, it lifts the soul like little else on the planet!
I loved being stranded at Harare airport for two and a half hours and spending the time chatting with locals, laughing about the country and what had happened since 2003. I loved the joy that folk had and were unable to hide.
Now don't get me wrong, Zimbabwe is a country riddled with problems, a morally bankrupt government that has stolen every election since independence. A govt so corrupt it makes the ANC look like amateurs. Roads so poor that people accept wild driving around potholes as normal. Power cuts for half a day at a time. Water that rarely runs out of the tap and when it does it's so weak it's pathetic! A country that uses the US$ because it's own was so totally worthless, which means locals pay more for their groceries.
No, Zim is far from perfect but it's a country I love dearly and I hope that one day God hears my prayer and makes a way for my family to return to serve him in this amazing country.