3:15 am, Sipho knocked at our door. We took a "short" 1 mile walk, and then stood at the end of the road waiting for our ride. A red van appeared and we climbed it. It was around 40 degrees outside. The van had no heat or insulation. Just a metal frame with seats. Every time we hit a bump, the windows slid open and we'd have to close them. Bobbi and I huddled together for most of the trip, shivering and laughing at the insanity. Around 6am, we arrived outside of town. We would walk the remaining 3 miles.
Praise the Lord, when we finally arrived in town, we found a bakery open. I treated Sipho to breakfast and we sat and ate our sweetbread. Sipho hurried us along telling us we had to be back at the bus station by 9:30am. We made a mad dash to the "grocery store." If you ever find yourself shopping in Zimbabwe, here are a few tips: bring your own bags, or buy some before you do your shopping, and expect to leave your purse; no bags allowed in the store. After our shopping, we flagged down a taxi cab who drove us and all of our groceries back to the bus station. Sipho said she was headed to the restroom and asked if we needed to go. Bobbi and I glanced around, and told her we were fine.
As we stood there waiting for Sipho to return, a man came holding a baby and asked if I wanted to hold him. "Oh, how sweet!" I thought. I held the little boy, and Bobbi snapped a few pictures. The man wandered off for a while, and I stood there holding the baby. He finally returned and asked me for money. I told him I didn't have any. (In all honesty, my money was kept in my pouch around my neck, down my shirt. I wasn't about to reach down my brazier to give him a dollar.) Another man walked up, and the two persisted, until we flat out told him, "NO!" And Bobbi and I turned the other way and ignored them.
A short while later, some men walked up and asked us how much money? We were confused. By the time we saw Sipho walking towards us, I wanted to run and hug her like a child would their mother. We told Sipho what had happend, and she just laughed. "Oh, girls. They thought you were prostitutes. Next time tell them they have to ask me first, and they'll leave you alone." Spent 5 hours in a 15 seater van with about 25 other people with the windows closed. 4:00pm, Bobbi and I arrived back at base, with full bladders. We must have looked traumatized, because the girls told us to go rest, and woke us up with dinner ready. God Bless those sweet girls.
Our next 2 trips into town weren't nearly as exciting as the first. The TMI van had been repaired by now, and we didn't have to wake up before the sun. We left around 8:30am or so after breakfast and devotion, and drove about 45 min to the end of a dirt road where we stood by the highway waiting for a car to pick us up. This trip we hit the jackpot; we got to ride in a semi.
The truck driver was apparently a Dolly Parton fan, because we listened to her for about an hour or so before he switched to a mixed pop CD with singers like Rihanna and Taylor Swift. We were able to do our shopping, take a cab to a gas station, and our sweet trucker picked us back up. We had brought one of our oldest girls along with us that day. She had heard of our 1st experience, and kept telling us how fun this was, and couldn't understand.
|In Zimbabwe, there is no such thing as personal space.|
|Our meeting spot for Mr. Trucker|