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My adventure in Zimbabwe – Why I am going to spend 24 hours flying there!

March 8, 2016

When I was growing up our family story was how my parents met in Africa and married in a half-built church that my grandfather was architecting.

Grandpa walking Mom down the aisle of the half-built church

Grandpa walking Mom down the aisle of the half-built church

My dad had a long, shallow, rectangular silver box that contained at least 1000 slides of their African experience (I was under 10 and it seemed like 1000!). Every once in a while on a Friday night, he would haul out the ancient slide projector, open the silver box,  and we would be transported back to a magical time in my parents’ lives.

My mother was a teaching missionary based in Old Umtali, Rhodesia (now Old Mutare, Zimbabwe); my father was the secretary to the Methodist Bishop of southern Africa.Mom in africa

Dad’s parents moved from Arizona to Africa to be near their son and were stationed in Old Umtali. They met Mom first, and then when Dad came to visit from his travels with the Bishop, they introduced these two young people.

Dad’s job was to document the activities of the Methodist missions in Angola, Belgian Congo, Rhodesia; essentially all of southern Africa. He took pictures and video, (well then it wasn’t video, it was 35 mm tape!) and both of my parents journaled extensively.

Dad and his camera

Dad always had his camera

The artifacts are a legacy in my family.  The tape of the African chief with the huge and colorful headdress as he stood amid his subjects;

Chiefthe pictures and tape of young women walking with giant baskets of casaba grain on their heads.Carrying casaba grain

I decided  to go to Africa to see for myself the church that my grandfather designed and had built, as my dad said, “using his good old Arizona construction know-how” as he taught the Africans how to use adobe bricks to build the church. The tape of the workers stomping the straw into the mud is another unusual family artifact.

Adobe is one of the most durable and ancient building materials, and that is why the church is still standing. And I am going to see it!

I am also going to do a lot more than see the church. I will be driving a Nissan Patrol 4×4 as I wind through Zimbabwe  – see the blue line on the map. Thank goodness I can drive a manual shift because that is all they have there!

zim map

I will do a three day safari in Hwange National Park, spend a day at Chobe National Park in Botswana, fly in a microlight in Zambia across Victoria Falls, and do the gorge swing across the Falls.  I found two of my accommodations on Airbnb; who would have thought that was possible? I am just finishing my typhoid vaccine and will start my malaria pills when I get to Dubai – they have to be started two days before you enter the affected country.

Right now the frenzy is about packing as light as possible in one bag. Will share more as I figure it out!

6 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    Have fun

  2. Africadayz permalink

    Hi Cathy, D’Arcy sent me a link to this post and I’ve so enjoyed reading it. I hope very much to meet you when you travel through Johannesburg.

    • Hello, Jacqui, D’Arcy said she was going to mention me to you. I have enjoyed your blog about your family history – what an interesting time! We will be in Johannesburg a very short time; we get in at 4 pm on April 22, staying the night at the Courtyard in Rosebank. We fly out of JNB the next night, April 23 at 10:20 pm. Would so enjoy meeting you. D’ said you weren’t too far from Rosebank so maybe the meet would work!

  3. Diorothy Griggs permalink

    I met you many years ago in Santa Ana. I was also a runnrr for 23 yeats. I took two classes with your father – a marvelous teachern. I am 87 years old and my running days are over

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. 2016 Africa Adventure – Mutare | Cathy's Adventures
  2. 2016 Africa Adventure – Victoria Falls Part 3 Walking the Falls | Cathy's Adventures

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