I have been reflecting on what I saw and experienced in Zimbabwe, the physiological, political and financial needs, the church, the business, the searching for a saviour and the reflections I see in the UK. My reflections bring me to the theme of water. What concerns me is the church has become reliant on models of delivering sanitised spirituality through a Victorian system or a bottled version with exaggerated promises.
One week I am waking up wondering about the safety of a journey across Harare to the airport, the next I am taking my kids to school then heading towards the Houses of Parliament. One week I have no internet due to the Zimbabwe government shutting it down, the next I have easy access to high speed broadband and 4G wherever I go. One week I am in glorious sunshine the next I am wondering if the snow might settle or if it will just blow around a do nothing.
Fridges that would typically stock soda’s and juice are empty as there is no one bringing supplies A couple of craft shops remain open and we are amused by a poster stating “The Party Starts Here” yet everywhere is closed and there are few people around.
Baboons run and climb around all over the place (though not in the lion enclosures) looking for food and being a nuisance. I am particularly found of the Galapagos Tortoise named Tommy who, we are informed, is estimated to be around 340 years old.
The singing is great, only this time we are required to dance when our name is called. It is a somewhat embarrassing experience, though fun, I am pleased that none of us are famous enough to warrant TV crews who will share footage far and wide. It is enough to say, white folk can't dance!
Onwards we travelled for a further 2 hours. More time to close my eyes and rest. As I became more accustomed to my seat I think I did manage to doze off on this occasion for a few moments. I would wake as we stopped for the usual road blocks of cattle, goats and police or occasionally as our driver braked behind a vehicle, unable to overtake because of the traffic (usually a truck) heading in the opposite direction.
Lesson 16: Paying a bride is part of the way of life. Lesson 17: Get away from the tourist areas. Lesson 18: Learn from the locals. Lesson 19: Take a safari and prepare to see nothing but look out for everything.
Lesson 8: Be prepared to wait. Lesson 9: Experience the Victoria Falls. Lesson 10: Crocodile tastes like chicken. Lesson 11: Don't feed the monkeys. Lesson 12:
Lesson 1: Don't be an arse! Lesson 2: Respect and honour. Lesson 3: Wear Sunscreen! Lesson 4: Don't frighten the wildlife. Lesson 5: Be prepared for rain. Lesson 6: Observe the sky. Lesson 7: Expect surprises.
The first thing is the heat.
Followed by the smells.
Breathing in the African air, the warmth and depth of a myriad of harmoniously clashing scents.
It feels like coming home.