Zimbabwe #3: Masvingo
by Sue Wright, for the team
The British called Masvingo, Fort Victoria. It is a clean city with wide boulevards through the center of town. All types of shops line the streets – small department stores, trendy clothing stores, auto supply shops, drug stores, groceries and open-air vendors on the sidewalks. The jacarandas are blooming in beautiful purple, though it is very dry and dusty.
We arrived at a very large government high school where we joined a massive gathering of the Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa. Three large tents had been erected to protect the participants from the sun. It was a sea of black and white uniforms of the women’s and men’s guilds from many congregations.
We first met with five of the former Lovemore Home residents who are now in church-sponsored boarding secondary schools. They shared their challenges at school. Zimbabwe is implementing a new curriculum requiring electronic and online connections. This will necessitate computers for each learner. Ebralie shared the very good reports of the boys reported by their guardians the day before.
We then joined the Conference and were introduced by the Presbytery clerk one-by-one. We were instructed to dance to the stage where Ted gave a greeting on behalf of the group. Ebralie presented a Syrian cross from The Outreach Foundation as a sign of global partnership commitment.
We listened to a passionate (and long) sermon on the theme: “The ruins of Jerusalem are better than the palace of Babylon.” Following the message, it was time for the installation of new members to the women and men’s guilds. The men are then clothed in white jackets by pastors and the women are “bloused” by pastor's wives and women pastors, see photos above. The blouses are white and long-sleeved with large collars. A black under collar is snapped at the front. Considerable study and preparation precedes the installation.
We then departed for the long journey back to Harare over a bumpy and busy road. Old friendships were renewed and new ones formed. We were truly blessed.