…Yes, that’s right. A gathering at the rainbow – the Rainbow Hotel. We have arrived to enjoy food and fellowship. We are treated to a show of Zimbabwean music and dancing. One dance told a story of daily life in the village and on the farm. You could really grasp the importance of family and hard work. Once again, we were entertained by a choir (not the same choirs we heard earlier in the day at Good Hope). Strong male and female voices in Shona and English. I struggle to enumerate all of the types of food on hand, but I do remember “cleaning my plate” and going back for more.
We also get to hear some interviews from brothers and sisters that were around when this land was Rhodesia. Very encouraging accounts of integrity during times of civil strife. Night has fallen and we make our way back to our hotel to prepare for the next day.
It’s now the next morning; I’m showering and begin to smell pancakes cooking for breakfast! When our bathroom window is open, the aromas of the kitchen drift in. Mmmm…I can’t wait to taste the sweet syrup and rich buttery flavor. I exit the bathroom yelling at Vaughn, “Hey man, do you smell the pancakes?!” He looks at me straight-faced and somewhat upset. He had burned his shirt with an old iron we were given. Smh! Arrgh! No pancakes…just a maple-smelling dress shirt with a burn mark.
Today we are going to the Zimbabwe branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses and an Assembly Hall. For known reasons, my shirt will be slightly wrinkled but it’s ok, I’ll wear a jacket. As we arrive, it is just as the scene at Good Hope, we see a crowd of our brothers and sisters singing and dancing for a jubilant welcome. After some introductory words and thanks, we are divided into groups for the tour guides. We get to see various support services – workshops, computer department and landscaping. The highlight is the departments that support God’s kingdom-preaching work – service, translation, hospital information, relief, literature, mailing and Kingdom Hall Construction.
We also try different foods and snacks that were available. Some appetizers before our lunch. The worm was an interesting morsel. Vaughn tries it first. It is dried and has the flavor of beef jerky. Yet, it’ll take a while before I’m not throwing ’em back like peanuts.
An excellent lunch was provided and we ate till full. However, the meal has come to an end and we say our goodbyes. We now board the buses and head to the Assembly Hall. Quite different from what we are used to in the States, this is an outside construction. It’s warm but the cool breeze is nice.
Our scheduled activities for the day have ended and we sing kingdom melodies on our way back to our hotel. We need of a few items from the supermarket, so the brother that originally picked me up from the airport comes to assist. He tells us how many areas are still figuring out the worth of the U.S. dollar. Zimbabwe experienced hyperinflation in 2008 to the extent that their central bank introduced a 100 billion dollar note (Zimbabwe dollars). In 2009, they suspended the Zimbabwe dollar and now have the U.S. dollar as official currency. So I experienced paying $1 for Dove for Men soap but $16 for shaving cream. Prices at a local movie theater were eye-catching also.
My day ends with getting a chance to drive in Zimbabwe. This brother is too nice. The steering is on the right and the regulation is left-hand traffic. I put the car in Drive and begin to leave the parking lot. I tell the brother “I’m going to have to really concentrate to get this ‘right'”. Immediately, Vaughn laughs saying, “Are you sure about that focus?! Because you are on the wrong side of the road ‘right’ now!” I drive for a bit and then Vaughn gives it a shot. Between the two, we make it back to the hotel safely. Whew!