Hi everybody! This blog is set up for people to follow Joy and Alan Hermansen's adventures through Zimbabwe Africa as they serve an 18 month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm going to be posting all the letters I receive from them, on here. This first letter was a letter my mom wrote to her parents.
Hi mom and dad:
Well, I've finally been able to connect to my email, so here goes. It was such a long flight almost 48 hours before we got out of the airport in Harare. Our mission president waited for 2 1/2 hours watching us go through customs at the airport. It was so painfully slow. I've learned that Africans do everything in slow motion, without computers. Something to get use to. We've spent the last couple of days working 9 hours each day in the mission office. There is so much to do and learn. Our trainer elders have been wonderful and patient with us. We've had a little jet lag, so our brains are rather slow when it comes to understanding and remembering. They will be transferred on Tuesday, so we'll be working on Saturday so we can all we can. The mission office is nice. It houses the CES office, the garment and distribution center, the lds charities and the church physical people. They are so wonderful and happy. Yesterday the 14th our Lindsay's friend from BYU-Idaho, came by to meet us. She is a beautiful young lady. Her name is Ayanda Godi. She told Lindsay that she would come and visit with us and she did. She is the president of the student association at BYU-I. So bubbly and happy; Then her mother came to meet us. She is just the same as her daughter and then I saw her mother today in the building also. Aparently she visits all the time. That will be wonderful to see them, a connection with Lindsay. On Tuesday we'll be having 25 more missionaries come in to the mission. We are going to be involved with the welcoming of them also. They are all from Zimbabwe, but they have gone to the MTC in South Africa. They are very humble and obedient young men and women. Most have only been in the church for not more than 3 years. Talk about Helaman's army, they are certainly apart of that group.
WE have a brandnew truck to drive around. It's a diesel, so the price of gas won't be too bad for us. It's $1.36 a liter for gas, double that price for a gallon of gas. Cheaper than in the states. It's just hard getting use to driving on the wrong side of the road, with the steering on the wrong side of the truck. Also we shift with our left hand, and the blinker is on the right side of the steering column, with the wipers on the left side. So we both turn on the wipers instead of the blinkers. It's driving us crazy. I'm so glad that I have a great companion. He's been a wiz with setting up our computer and helping out in the mission office. I went shopping with my President's wife this afternoon. We went to a store that is like a Sam's Club/k-mart. It was so expensive. The appliances were out of site. A blender is $150.00, a frying pan $65.00, a bottle of catsup is $6.00. I think I'll have to live the Zimbabweian way, just starve!!!
My hairdryer fried its self this morning, even with my adapters. I think my curling iron won't make it past tomorrow. This place has severe electrical problems, we've been warned about the power going out. It should happen soon. We live next to the LDS Charities couple, they are from Arizona. Very nice couple. They go get contracts to help people drill wells for water and help plant gardens. We all work in the same building. Coming in to Harare the other day from the airport, we saw a mother giraffe and her baby, and a zebra. They were in an enclosed compound, but it was very African. Also they have a mode of transportation called a compbee. It is a mini van with about 25 people in it and all their bags. It's really something to see. Also I've seen ladies carrying huge bags of food on their head. And the stuff doesn't even fall off. I need to practice it, with a picture. The unemployment here is so high. We have a man who is a member , who is our gardner, we pay him $6.00 a week for him to trim the bushes and fill our water tank. Also his wife will be our laundry person, only sheets and towels. We haven't made a contract with her yet. They are doing all they can to just live and support their family. I just found out that Elder Cook and another apostle are coming to our mission in October. Yeah, I do hope that happens. We have six elders that were in the western part of Africa , that are now in our mission. They are from Zimbabwe. We are keeping up on the latest news about the situations in the other half of the continent. Sure hope this letter finds everyone well and happy. You are all in our thoughts andprayers. Alan is doing well with counting money all day long, and figuring out the bills and transactions. The money is US currency and it is dirty. I have to close. My internet is shutting down. I'll write soon. Love always the Hermansens....