Thursday, November 6, 2008


Sometimes our
memories can
come back sweet
and clear. Others
can break our hearts.
Today, while reading
a fellow Blogger's
account of their mission
trip to the Dominican
I remembered my own
mission to Africa.
I thought I might share
some of those memories,
even though I can't get
upstairs to my photo
archives to share with
you some of the beautiful
faces of my friends there.

I traveled to Zimbabwe Africa and have been changed forever. It certainly makes us aware of our extreme blessings and materialism!! The wonderful people of Zimbabwe were so incredibly gracious and would give me the beads from around their neck or the one picture from their wall, saying, "Please remember me." I was in Zimbabwe to sing for the opening ceremonies of the Africa University in Old Mutare. The University is church -sponsored by the United Methodist Church and it was very new, then, with few buildings. But it has grown considerably since then. After my trip, I sponsored a young seminary student from Zaire that I met while there. His name was Kupa. I gave simple but wonderful gifts of ink pens and supplies to Kupa and his friends and sent clothes and money to help sustain his family through a very cold winter. He spent five yrs studying at Africa U. and then had to return to Zaire, even though his country was in civil war and it was terribly dangerous to do so. Gut wrenching....I have since lost track of him. His last correspondence was that they were going to travel through the BUSH to try to get back home. One of his sons had been shot and killed right in their front yard. I am in anguish as I write this, as he had become my brother...
The sweet people of Africa would remind me that I would always have a home in Zimbabwe. Their church women would cook for me in the "church kitchen", the open fire out-side the back door of the church, and we would have sadsa, squash, rice, goat, termites, and very very tiny chicken. We participated in a beautiful ceremony of hand-washing before meals and tea, where a beautiful woman would pour warm water over your hands from a pitcher into a bowl..I knew they had pulled out all the stops and prepared a meal befitting a queen, and I was treated as honored, everywhere I went.
I stayed in the homes while there...a culture shock from the five star Hotel at Victoria Falls where the President stays, as well as myself. The home stays, where the bed was a mat on the floor, and long columns of ants marched into the sink and toilets, and huge bugs the size of my hand on the wall at night as I went to sleep (OH!), the simple open hole dug in the back, for a toilet, and the single bowl of water for the whole family to bathe.
While in Zimbabwe, I visited a "baby-fold" (orphanage) and an adjacent area for ladies-in-waiting, (who were there until the birth of their babies). I fell head over heels in love with these sweet babies, and would have brought home my sweet baby Tendai, if it had been humanly possible. Tendai, (A Shona name, a shortened version of Natienda, meaning "we are grateful") had been left in a ditch of the road, near the baby-fold, by her un-wed mother, who knew she couldn't return home with another baby for her family to care for.
As a mother and as a singer, I immediately bonded to this baby girl in the only way that came natural to me....I snuggled her close to my ample body, walked back n forth and sang quietly to her. When I had to leave, I cried uncontrollably for miles and miles...and today, many years later, I still cry at the thought of my baby on the other side of the world. I tried to sponsor Tendai and was told that she was claimed eventually, by her maternal grandmother, and left the orphanage.
I am so thankful for the trip I was able to take, back then. My only real, long-term goal in life, is to re-gain my health to the degree that would allow me to again travel there, and in some small way, help, and encourage those, less fortunate to greater heights and to a greater belief in the Lord, Jesus Christ

Miss Vicki