Visitors to the Mission
IT was with great pleasure that the staff in Zimbabwe heard that MrRoderick Campbell, the General Treasurer of the Church, was to go out to Zimbabwe for six weeks to attend to Church business in Bulawayo. Miss Norma MacLean had been acting as Administrator in the office in Bulawayo for some months, but she was now about to leave on furlough for New Zealand, and to go from there to Scotland. MrCampbell and Norma met in Harare, the capital, and had the opportunity to discuss Mission matters for a few hours.
MrCampbell spent his first weekend at Ingwenya and took services there, which were much appreciated. He then went to live and work in Bulawayo as temporary Administrator. His wife was able to join him for part of his time there.
Miss Rhoda MacKay, who used to be a teacher in Ingwenya, went out to Zimbabwe in May on holiday. In fact, she spent most of her time helping in the John Tallach Secondary School, Ingwenya, by teaching and doing other work. For instance one boy in Form Two, who was about to sit his exams, met with an accident and broke his wrist. As a result he could not write his exam papers, so Rhoda sat beside him and, as he dictated, she wrote his answers. We do hope that he was successful in his exams – for his sake and Rhoda’s! It will be interesting to hear what her impressions are of school work at Ingwenya in 1998 she left Ingwenya in 1975 after almost ten years there.
The Annual Prizegiving took place at the John Tallach Secondary School on 16 October 1998. Mr Edward Zikhali, recently appointed as Administrator in the Mission Office in Bulawayo, was expected to address the large audience, and his wife was to present the prizes. Sad to say, MrZikhali was unable to come because his mother had died suddenly.
Five minutes before the address was due to be given, Miss Marion Graham, Headmistress, saw a former pupil, Mr Melusi Mpofu, seated in the audience, so she approached him with the request that he would give the address. Mr Mpofu, (son of the late Rev. Alfred Mpofu, one of our esteemed ministers), has a post in the Government Education Department. He acceded to Miss Graham’s request, mounted the platform and gave a very stirring, short address on self-discipline. He impressed on the children their need to discipline themselves and work hard if they were to achieve anything. He also encouraged the teachers in their work, and suggested to parents that they become more involved in their children’s education and pay their school fees on time!
Miss Graham has a great deal of organising to do for such special days in the school year, although, of course, she has the help of her colleagues, Miss Katie MacAulay, Mr Teus Benschop, and others.
Two Dutch ladies are residing at Mbuma for a few weeks. One of them hopes to begin work in the hospital when her Work Permit is granted. The hospital was very short of water for a time, and Miss Margaret MacAskill, Matron, had to spend almost a week at Nkai in an effort to get the problem solved. Miss Louise Leiper is at home in Scotland on leave – we hope she will have a refreshing break.
Building At Ingwenya
During the past year a new house has been built at Ingwenya for the use of Miss Marion Graham. The original house on the same site was built under the supervision of the late Dr. MacDonald, who lived there with his wife and four boys until 1948. A large Mission office was added to it later, but eventually the whole building became rather dilapitated and in need of repair. There was a small celebration when the new house, which is very convenient and attractive, was completed the workmen, teachers and other members of staff had a much appreciated meal in the garden.
Miss Katie MacAulay has had quite an alarming experience in her house on account cracking walls and floors. When the house was built in 1934, an African sycamore tree was planted near one corner. It grew and flourished, year by year, producing a beautiful crop of flowers annually, but no one realised what was going on below the house. The powerful roots of the tree forced their way below the foundation of the house, and Katie, to her alarm, began to notice large cracks appearing in the walls and cement floors. There is no remedy – the house has to be demolished. It was modernized twenty years ago, but it has served the Mission well for more than sixty years.
Originally, the house was a small thatched cottage built of mud bricks which were made by a fine old elder named John Dabengwa. It was a very cool inside, even in the height of summer, as there were no ceilings on the rooms then, and they were open to every breeze. There were a few unexpected incidents just after it was built. One day a large swarm of bees invaded the new chimney and had to be smoked out. Then another swarm took possession of a drawer in the bedroom. We had to be very wary because we had been warned that “Rhodesian” bees could be quite fierce when swarming. Dr. MacDonald, on hearing of the dilemma, came into the bedroom with a piece of cloth on which he had put a few drops of chloroform (or something similar). He slipped the cloth into the drawer, and in a few minutes all was quiet except for a small humming sound – the bees were asleep! The drawer was pulled out and hurredly carried some distance to a neighbouring field where its gently humming contents were deposited.
As we think of that little house we acknowledge that its various occupants experienced much of the Lord’s kindness over the years.
– J. N.