Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Air Force and Grief

I'm the (un)official accompanist for the Air Force of Zimbabwe. All the guys in the Air Force band have to take exams up to a minimum of grade 5 in order to get their rank. Some of them are Salvationists, and so they found out about me, and now I play for all of their exams. It's an interesting break from the day-to-day and is actually bringing about some perspective on the terror and trauma I used to feel about my own music exams as a kid! I also get frequent calls from people in the police, military and air force wanting to know if I will teach them piano/theory, etc. There aren't that many piano players left in the country. One guy came for one theory lesson and decided that he wanted to study music at a university abroad. I suggested he do some research on the internet. He called me the other day, "I found a university in Germany that has a music programme, and on their website it says that they teach Mozart. That's good, right?" Right.

Friday I travelled to Chiweshe to conduct a seminar on coping with grief. It was sobering to pass so many hand-made signs that said "coffins for sale" on our way to this rural area. I don't know anyone here who hasn't experienced multiple grief. Life expectancy is still at about 34, and that is so young! Besides some slight translation difficulties, the seminar went well. Many of the women said that this was their first time to be able to talk openly about their grief. The next day I went to visit Amai Pamacheche and we just talked and cried together. Losing someone is painful, but love is beautiful.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Time to Celebrate

It was my very best friend's birthday yesterday. Our phone is currently broken, and we can no longer get internet at home (even if the phone line worked!) so I couldn't call, but Sherri - you know I love you. It is wonderful to have a friend who sees all sides of me, and knows all of my "issues" but who still loves me and makes me laugh and is willing to have a whole 15 minute conversation with me where we both just cry because we miss each other. Thank God for good friends. Shout out too to my sister-in-law Jenn - happy birthday!

Two of our friends just got into university (one in the USA and one in Mutare), so last night we had a little send-off for them. We taught them Monopoly and ate chicken (freshly slaughtered - sorry, still working on uploading the photos!) and pasta and then we had a cake. Our neighbour makes cakes, and so I asked her to make one for us with the words "Congratulations Chris and Hope!" She decided to make it in the shape of a heart, so these two young guys were quite embarassed when Sam was like, "it's almost like a wedding cake!" John tried to explain the whole Pat-Saturday-night-live skit to them... It was really cute. They're good guys, and so even though we are very tired this morning ("we HAVE to finish the game!") it was a good celebration.

And we had a nice weekend in Chiweshe celebrating the re-dedication of a Salvation Army church - Nyachuru Citadel. We accompanied the Chief Secretary, who is an interesting character. We stayed with Paul and Pedrinah, and it was wonderful to chat with them. Despite hardships, it's always good to find time to celebrate.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Chicken Licken

We slaughtered our first chicken last night. Chickens take a while to die, even when their heads are cut off. We didn't let ours run around, though, despite my curiousity about seeing it run around with no head. We held it down while it kicked and squirmed for a few minutes.

Our friend Joyce gave us a lesson on how to pluck off all the feathers and clean it. Zimbabweans eat much more of a chicken than I would have ever thought possible. We cleaned the head, feet, organs and even the intestines. It was quite a messy process, but we now know how to prepare a live chicken for cooking. The process was made much more difficult due to the fact that we had to do this by candlelight, as we had no electricity in the evening. In case you're wondering, we gave away the head, feet and intestines. We've eaten cow intestines a few times, but the chicken intestines didn't really appeal to me and our friend seemed to be keen on them.

Rochelle's major role in the slaughter was taking photos, but I think she only managed to take two or three. For some reason she didn't feel like cutting up the chicken or pulling out feathers or squeezing out the contents of the chicken's stomach or intestines. But she didn't run away.

It's been interesting to live in Zimbabwe and gain a better perspective on where food comes from. We've grown our own vegetables and we've killed a cow and a chicken and some fish. In Canada, you just go to the supermarket and buy your vegetables (sometimes already washed, peeled and cut up) and prepared meat and poultry (cleaned and packaged). It's easy to forget what's involved in preparing food and you also don't think or wonder about where the food is coming from. We also bought some fresh eggs yesterday, which still had feathers and chicken poo stuck to them.

We are spending the next three days in Chiweshe, including two at a corps near Howard Hospital. Hopefully we'll be able to see Paul and Pedrinah Thistle while we are there. We also hope to get some cow manure for our garden. We live an interesting life.

On my way home yesterday I realized that my run across Zimbabwe plan may have a few snags. One significant concern would be the first portion of the journey where I would be running along a highway that passes through a large national park. In Canada, that wouldn't be a big deal. But this Zimbabwean national park has lions and elephants, both of which I've seen by the road as I've driven by. It may not be too wise to try running along that route...

After much hesitation and resistence, I finally broke down and joined Facebook this morning. By lunchtime, however, it had already caused me too much social chaos so I terminated my account. I have enough trouble responding to emails or writing blogs...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sleep Running

On our morning run, Rochelle fell into a ditch and ended up flat on her face. Thankfully, she wasn't seriously hurt, which is a miracle considering the amount of broken glass along the ground and the depth of the hole. She's got a few bruises, but no broken bones or ligaments or even skin abrasions. She was quite angry for a few seconds, and then upset for a few more. She walked it off and then started running again. She's getting tougher!

It was very dark outside as the electricity was out, which meant no streetlights or lit houses. And the moon seemed to be hidden as well. I was sleep running, so woke up with a start when Rochelle fell on her face. That woke me up pretty quickly. We will be glad when winter is over so that we have more light in the mornings. Of course, electricity to operate street lights, traffic lights (they call them robots here) and houses would be nice as well. It gets more challenging when we are temporarily blinded by approaching vehicles and forced to stumble along blindly for a few moments.

I've just come up with a plan to escape my office for two weeks. I'm thinking about running from the northern border of Zimbabwe (I'd start at Chirundu at the Zimbabwe-Zambian border) to the southern border (I'd finish at Beitbridge at the Zimbabwe-South African border) over the course of two weeks (I think I would need to run about 60 K a day, which would be fairly easy considering that would be my only real task for the day and I could take an easy pace). I could stay with Salvationists each night of the trip and participate in some prayer meetings or other local Army events. I'm hoping that I would be able to raise money to support our hospitals and social institutions, as they are struggling to continue operating due to the economic hardships in Zimbabwe. Do you think a run across Zimbabwe to raise money and awareness would be a good idea? Let me know.

Monday, July 23, 2007


So, our plan to beat the "no importing foods" statute before its implementation on August 1 worked. Saturday we flew to Lusaka and found some nice goodies - flour, rice, pasta, sugar, jam, dried fruit, the new Harry Potter book, etc. (John was ecstatic!) We also took advantage of the whole "being in a country with food" thing by going out for lunch and supper (seafood then Italian - yum!) and we also saw two movies - Harry Potter and Die Hard 4. I actually liked Die Hard 4 more than I thought I would. I admire people who are courageous without thinking about it first. We flew home yesterday afternoon. Over the weekend we marveled again on the fact that we live such a bizarre life. On the one hand, we make less than $5/month (combined salary) but on the other hand we live the life of the rich and famous - flying into another capital just for dinner and a movie (OK, and buying some basic food necessities...)

Happy Birthday to my brother Joel - who is living his dreams. He's been directing opera in Italy... my little brother! I'm so proud. May many more dreams come true... We love you, Joel! xo

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thanks Mom

So, my mom's a tad worried about us these days - what with Zim in the news all the time. So, she's been praying, and we're thankful. I asked her to pray for our electricity, and we've had more power in the last 2 days than we've had in weeks - 2 full evenings in a row! Last night we had 3 families over for dinner. It was a full house, and we feasted on John's famous cooking, and the whole thing was made MUCH easier because of power. Have I mentioned that I love sharing food with people? There's something holy about it (especially when you know it's truly only by grace that you have that much food!) My mom also sent us $200 so that we can fly to Lusaka tomorrow and buy some groceries (AirZim had to slash all their prices too - because of government controls). It seems pretty crazy to fly to another country for one night, but if it means you can stock up on some basics... So, thanks, Mom!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

And the beat goes on...

Things just keep getting more and more interesting in Zimbabwe! Yesterday we got a copy of a new Statuatory Instrument on Control of Goods (Import and Export) issued by the President's office. As of August 1, 2007 no food will be allowed in or out of the country. That means that individuals (like us!) can't bring food over the border, but neither can companies. And since local production is coming to a standstill because of price controls.... I keep wondering "what's the plan?" and no one seems to know. When no food is being produced and no food is being imported, how do people survive? There must be SOME sort of plan, right??

The headlines today were that within 2 weeks no fuel coupons will be accepted at service stations. Right now there are HUGE fuel queues. When petrol/fuel is available, people spend hours in their car hoping to get some - using coupons. But in 2 weeks' time... I guess people will always find a way, and there will still be a blackmarket, but I cannot imagine the prices! Good thing we don't have a car, and that we enjoy walking!

I do have good news though. Last night our electricity came on at 5:30pm and was STILL ON this morning when we left for work. I can't tell you how excited I was to be able to have TOAST while listening to music for breakfast!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A new friend and some fresh perspective

We met a new friend last night. He is a Zimbabwean who married a Canadian and is now living in Canada, but came back for a visit and hopes to move back here soon with his family. He was a real blessing and encouragement to us. Every day we meet people who are trying to get out of Zimbabwe. It was refreshing to meet someone who is wanting to move back. He spoke about wanting to be here, to make a difference, and be part of a hopeful future. It made me realize two things: 1 - that I really easily fall into pessimism/discouragement and 2 - we really get into survival mode here - thinking about day-to-day worries (will there be bread? will there be electricity? etc.) rather than focusing on hope for the future and a belief that things can change and improve. It's really easy to find things to complain about and grumble about, and it's really easy to get overwhelmed with discouragement. I just pray for a clean heart for myself; for a positive attitude; for a spirit of gratitude rather than complaining. Yes, businesses are closing (like our favourite pizza restaurant - shame!) Yes, people are struggling. But we need to keep hope. In a lot of ways, this is exactly what I wanted - to be in a really tough place, sharing love and hope and life with people. There is always hope. So, if you pray for us, please pray for that - that we would be an encouragement rather than becoming discouraged.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Murder Mystery

Well, our marathon mourning weekend is over. There were all-night vigils Thursday and Friday night at the Pamacheches' house, and then Saturday was the official funeral and burial. We feel physically and emotionally exhausted, and we didn't even stay for the all-nights - I can't imagine for the family. But they're looking ok. John skipped work this morning to take the kids on a horseback tour of Mukuvisi woodlands to see giraffes, etc. I feel much more at peace now. I'm still sad, but it's not so painful. Maybe I'm learning something about the Zimbabwean way of mourning...

Someone was just telling me that there are a lot of rumours going around the territory about the THQ (territorial headquarters - the place where we work) Murder Mystery. Lt. Col. Mhasvi died less than a year ago, and he died of liver cancer too. So that makes 2 people in the same workplace of the same disease. So, people are speculating that we are trying to poison each other here. There is such a strong belief in malevolent forces! Most people believe that no one, and I mean NO ONE dies of natural or scientific causes - it's always because of SOMEONE who put a curse on the deceased or who poisoned them or something. It wasn't me - I swear.

The shops are still empty, but we found a "connection" who can often find bread in the morning. Yum - have I mentioned that we love bread? There are still lots of police officers everywhere, making sure that people charge the government-directed prices - t.v.s were going for really cheap last week, but we were too late - stores were sold out within hours. We paid a friend $2million to contribute to the purchase of a beast (if they can get it into the city from the rural areas - there are a lot of police road blocks). I hope we don't get the head...

Friday, July 13, 2007

True Love

Love hurts. I know a lot of people who choose to keep themselves distant from others, because when you’re close to people, it can be painful. They can choose to leave. They can say hurtful things. They can die. But as for me, I will never stop loving. Right now I am emotionally exhausted. I cried for about 6 hours yesterday (and we’re only just entering the marathon mourning process) – because I am missing Captain Pamacheche. But along with the pain of love – the pain of losing someone; the pain of watching someone you love suffer.... there is also great joy and great depth of spirit in love. I was created to love, and I will never stop loving no matter how much it hurts.

Amai Pamacheche was wailing yesterday. Weeping and wailing, and it was so painful to listen to that all the ladies who came to visit tried to sing louder and louder to cover up the sobbing. But it hurts. She and Captain were so in love – so close. For the past couple of months as he’s been sick, she was at his side every minute, talking with him, tending to his needs, praying through the night. And now he’s gone. I cannot imagine the loss. You share a bed with someone; you share a life with someone; you share joys and jokes and dreams and sorrows with your life partner, and then… he’s gone. I don’t know what I would do without John… True love. It hurts, but it is a beautiful sort of pain.

It was Alice’s birthday the other day, and she wanted me to pray a blessing over her. She also wanted her husband Mac to pray for her. Mac is very depressed these days – about the state of our nation, about the economy, and about the fact that he was run over by a bicycle and could not afford any treatment (he had to walk to the nearest clinic, and then got turned away, because his pensioner’s medical coverage is worth nothing). So, he didn’t want to pray. But then he agreed – because of true love. “God, thank you for my wife Alice. Thank you for her courage, and thanks that we get to be together. God, you need to help us, because we don’t know what to do. I love her. Thank you.” True love.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

He's gone

Captain Pamacheche died a few minutes ago. After months of deliberating about funds and doctors and protocol, he finally started chemotherapy last week. I can't believe it. I will never see my Zimbabwean father smile again... well, not for a long time. I feel heart-broken. We had so much hope - he had so much hope...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Disappearing Act

I went to Island Hospice (the place where I volunteer) and the receptionist - Emeldah - was gone. I learned that she got sick suddenly, and then the medication she needed was not available in Zim, so she died. She was in her early 30s. I remember her telling me about becoming an orphan at a young age, and then several of her siblings dying. Death is part of life, but it's still jarring to me. She just sort of disappeared. Just like Sarah - a girl who was staying with some friends of mine because her mom was ashamed of her. One minute she's there, and the next she's dead. She was 20, and she's just gone - HIV/AIDS. It's like a whole generation is just disappearing.

Then there's the food. I guess Zimbabwe's on the news a lot these days. So, you know we have crazy inflation here - like about 5000%. A woman was saying in the news that a banana costs what she paid for her 4 bedroom house in the year 2000. What happened is that the government legislated price freezes, saying that people had to stop the ever increasing price increases. This sounds great, and when it happened, there was a mad rush to the shops (people were literally running around buying whatever they could afford). I must admit that it was strange to see "sale" signs and to actually see a decrease in prices. But now, there's not much in the shops because people bought everything within a few hours (although we went at lunch today, and there are shelves and shelves of mustard - not a popular item, I guess!) No one can actually afford to produce something when they can't break even, so there are rumours of mass closures of business. And over 1300 people have been arrested for trying to charge "too much" (a.k.a. the real value) for goods. Sometimes it feels like we're in this big experiment. Like, hey - let's try controlling the economy - but you can't. Or let's try going it alone without the rest of the world - but you can't. Thankfully there are still lots of fruits and vegetables around. I hear bananas go well with mustard...

Our hot water has also, unfortunately, disappeared. It's a shame since it's so FREEZING! And there's no electricity in the morning, so it's a huge chore to boil water to bucket-bathe. Someone did sell us a little bbq, and we experimented with a little campfire in our living room last night. There's some potential there...

On a cheerier note, I just made some photos appear on our site - of John finishing Comrades and our week at Masiye Camp, and we're watching some hilarious DVDs someone sent us - "Arrested Development" (thank God for battery life on our laptops!) Don't worry, Mom - we're fine! But please, everyone, do keep Zimbabwe in your prayers.


I’d like to recommend some excellent books that I read recently:

* The Inheritance of Loss (Kiran Desai) – winner of the 2006 Man Booker Prize – an AWESOME book. It’s all about what it means to fit in, to be in a new culture, and it examines what home looks like, and what love looks like. It’s so well written, and real and honest.

* The Moonlit Cage (Linda Holeman) – my mom sent me this book. It’s a Canadian authour, but it’s set in Afghanistan/Pakistan in the 1800s. This book made me think a lot about the difference between being happy, having joy and being content. It made me realize that even though I always seek to have joy, it’s difficult for me to be content – because I’m always seeking out new adventures and new thoughts and new ways. It also made me think about my identity as a woman.

*Beginning to Pray (Anthony Bloom) – this is an easy read, but wow – it has some really good and profound ideas – some of which I was initially angry about, but then realized are true - like, the fact that God can absent himself from us (a reminder that there is no way we can control God – God is God!)

*Status Anxiety (Alain de Boton) – he’s a philosopher, but his writing is very readable. This book talks about the history of envy, jealousy, relations between the rich and poor, etc. I read this in Mozambique, and John made fun of me for taking notes on vacation, but I couldn’t help it – there were too many good ideas.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Prayer means a lot to me, as it is my communication with God. John took me out to lunch, and before I started eating my wrap, I said a usual grace "Thank you God for this food." But it really meant something today. I was really thankful - and it really did feel like grace. There's no bread or meat in the shops, and yet I ate a chicken wrap with bacon in it. A miracle. Grace.

Speaking of prayer, there is a big prayer controversy in The Salvation Army here. See, a lot of Zimbabwean Salvationists like mass prayer (when everyone prays at the same time - often very loudly!) This was deemed to be "not The Salvation Army way" and so a prayer team is being sent all over the country to stop this type of praying. There was even some talk about establishing a prayer constitution and asking people to sign up and have joining fees. Thankfully that idea was scrapped. Personally I feel that with no food in the shops (it's so eerie to go into a grocery store and see no food!) there are bigger battles to fight than forms of prayer - but who I am to say?

Prayer is good. It's deep and meaningful and simple and profound. Try it out.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Chewing on Corruption

Yesterday all the kids at our church were very excited. The Samaritan’s Purse boxes came. Are you familiar with these boxes? For years I filled up Samaritan’s Purse boxes with choir and church groups – you get a shoebox and fill it up with little toys and school supplies to send to a child overseas to brighten up their Christmas. Well, it’s July, but I can tell you for sure that they do get here. I was at a friend’s house yesterday, and her sister was telling me about the corruption involved. Supposedly 10 big boxes (full of shoeboxes) came, and whoever picked them up from the postoffice took one – to give to his kids. Then whoever stored the boxes also took two for himself – to give to his kids. Then some had to be given to leaders, etc. Anyway, our church ended up with 3 boxes. There were too many children to give each of them a carefully packed shoebox, and so the Sunday School teachers opened up all of the boxes. They picked a few things for themselves, and then divided the rest of the goods between the kids. My friend’s sister was quite excited about her items – a diary, a photo magnet that said “Brian” and a pack of bubble gum – all the way from Canada. As she was complaining about corruption, and then as I was judging her for obviously being involved in the corruption, she offered me a piece of Bubble-icious. Without thinking, I accepted, and as soon as I started chewing, I realized that I had become implicated – that I was chewing on corruption…

Friday, July 06, 2007


It's winter in Zimbabwe, which means you see women wearing white (or green or yellow) socks with their high heeled black shoes and uniform and people putting a bowl of water in front of their electric heater (so that their blood doesn't boil). We're Canadian, so we're not supposed to feel the cold, but we feel very Zimbabwean this winter. Trust me, it makes a big difference when none of the buildings are heated. You're just cold all the time. But I learned a great trick - wearing a sweater under your uniform tunic. Even with the bulkiness, I think it looks classier than the white socks!

I've spent the last two days at a lieutenants' seminar. This territory has 14 lieutenants, who have signed a 3 year term with The Salvation Army. They all want to become officers (full time pastors) but there is a new regulation saying that people need to have 5 O levels to enter training college. This basically means finishing high school. I'm torn on the issue. In spending time with these lieutenants, I was blessed by their passion, their faith, and their desire to serve God. I actually cried during their vocal item last night thinking, "why do you need education to praise God?" but then I also really see the benefits of having some education. I'm actually a HUGE fan of education, and though high levels of education are not for everyone, I definitely see the benefits of having an open mind and some awareness of the outside world - especially in a religious set-up. Sometimes if you only have grade 7 and you're put in a position of power, you tend to be jealous/insecure of those under you, and that can make their life really difficult...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Shopping Spree

Three days ago people cheered because the government instituted prize freezes and ordered businesses to lower their prices. People rushed to the shops to buy whatever they could. Some businesses, recognizing that they were going to lose money, pulled items off their shelves. Many of them have since been arrested. Yesterday, people began to see the ramifications of the price freezes as most commodities were nowhere to be found. Today, shelves are empty, and it is nearly impossible to find meat, poultry, eggs, flour or oil. I’m told that things will get worse.

I was in one of the largest grocery stores in the country today and it was eerie to walk around and see the empty areas of the shop and to see that they had taken off the price indicators on most shelves. You have to wait until you get to the register to find out the price of some items. But still, people were lined up at the registers to purchase what they could (vaseline, soap, porridge) but many found that they were limited in how much they could buy as the government had ordered businesses to stop selling in bulk. I’m sure that by tomorrow, the shops will be nearly empty of any price-controlled items.

I picked up three 500ml bags of full-cream, and three bags of detergent. I couldn’t find milk yesterday, so was pleased with the cream purchase (not sure when I’ll find more), and the three bags of detergent were the last ones in the store. I waited around for 30 minutes in the hope of finding bread, but I was out of luck. I still have some flour at home so I will try to make some bread this evening if there is any electricity. Last night we had no power until nearly bedtime.

I’m not sure what life will be like here in the next couple of months. Inflation and the economy are spiraling out of control and many areas of the country are expected to face serious food shortages in the coming months. This has been a drought year, which means that many people have run out their locally grown food. We brought back rice and pasta from South Africa last month, so we are in good shape for the next while.

The big concern, however, is how I'm going to get a copy of the new Harry Potter book.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

If you love something...

Living in Zimbabwe is teaching me many things. Like....

1. If you love something or someone - fight for it. We love bread. Yesterday John was in the grocery store at lunch, and there was no bread (there have been shortages ever since the government announced the new fixed prices). Then he started hearing murmurings, and they brought out a rack of half-loaves. He elbowed, and used his height advantage and scored 2 half loaves for us (sometimes it's really useful to have an athletic husband!) There were 2 security guards there in case violence broke out between customers trying to get some loaves. 2 half loaves cost him his monthly salary - but man, we're going to enjoy our peanut butter sandwiches today!

2. If you have a Chinatown in your city, eat durian! It's my favourite fruit - and there isn't a Chinatown in Harare. It looks like a weapon, and it smells terrible, but it's delicious.

3. Go with the flow. I had hoped Africa would teach me patience, and I think it's slowly working. We had our friend Kathy visiting us for a week, and it was wonderful to have our first visitor from Canada. I didn't want her to go! But having her here made me realize that I have become more patient and more "go with the flow." The logistics of the Zimbabwe School of Youth Leadership gatherings are always stressful, with many challenges. The day before it started we never have any food, our train ride to Bulawayo took 12 hours rather than 6 hours, etc. But I've learned to just accept all new information, stay calm and think of how we're going to go from there. It's a huge lesson!

4. Matches are valuable. Our power went off at 5:30pm and we still don't have it back on. So, initially we used candles and then moved to our lantern. It's such a tough debate. Obviously we don't want to use up our batteries, but it's almost impossible to find matches anywhere here anymore - too valuable (note: please do NOT send us matches in the mail!)

5. Sometimes you have to watch for ostriches. I saw one randomly at the side of the road when we were travelling back from Masiye camp. Of course we got out to get a better look. I stood beside it, and it's a big bird! We also saw rhinos as we were going into the camp.

6. God is good. The Z.S.Y.L. met last week at Masiye Camp. All but one of the students managed to find transport money, we ended up eating every day, and had some amazing training in psycho-social support. I'm SO proud of the students - they are writing very well for their assignments and just growing in their leadership. What a difference it would make to this country to have good, unselfish, un-corrupt, Godly leaders in every sector of society! Masiye Camp is run by The Salvation Army and is set in the beautiful Matopos, where it looks like God placed huge rocks on top of each other. What a peaceful setting - it was good for the soul.

Monday, July 02, 2007

John ran the Comrades!

I'm back!!! For some reason we can't access the internet at home anymore, and I haven't been at work for 2 weeks. I hope none of our faithful readers worried that we'd perished. In fact, we've been having a great time. There are some AWESOME places to visit in Africa - consider it.

John did SO well in the (insane) 89km Comrades marathon. There were 11,000 runners, and two died. Hundreds had to be hospitalized and hooked up to i.v.s. Most people were crossing the finish line and then collapsing. John (of course) finished looking incredibly relaxed, and wanting to walk back to the beach for a swim! In the evening we went to a restaurant, and a fellow Comrade runner and diner had to be hooked up to an i.v. (at the dinner table!) and wheeled out by paramedics! John ran the race in just under 9 and a half hours, and I was so proud. He said the first 82kms went really well and then his quads gave out (there aren't many hills in Harare, and there are a LOT of hills on the Comrades marathon!) and so he walked the last 7kms. We watched the finish on television. At the 12 hour mark, they fire a gun, and anyone that comes in after that shot does not officially qualify nor get a medal. It was horrible to watch. Imagine - after running all day!

Comrades took place in Durban, South Africa. Let me just say that the Indian ocean is GORGEOUS!!!!!! Every morning I would watch the sunrise and read the Psalms and just enjoy God's creation. The ocean reminds of God - so vast and infinite. We also spent a few days by the ocean in Maputo, Mozambique. The town of Maputo isn't that fantastic (for a tourist, that is), but the ocean is still the ocean, and it was wonderful to spend a few days at the beach (and we ate prawns... every day, sometime twice a day!) We didn't do anything too wild in Mozambique, but it was good to rest and eat and watch t.v. We don't have a t.v., so it was quite something to wake up and watch a movie and then watch another one before we went to bed. More later...