Recently, the first mission team arrived in Zimbabwe and my stay has drastically cha
nged. No longer I am the lone murungu (white person) in Nyadire, which prompted one individual to make me an honorary member of the Shumba (lion) totem. Instead, I am here with 13 others, watching as they try and adjust to a totally different lifestyle. In many ways its awesome, but I am finding that the true Zimbabwean culture is being hid behind their incredible hospitality. There is no thrown-in-the-pool moment and I miss that. Anyway, several people have been pestering me to include them in our blog, so.... STEPHANIE....NATALIE...MADDIE..... happy?
Today, we took an excursion to see the Mutoko (moo-toe-ko) Ruins. The ruins are
the remains of an old civil
ization (14th century) that built their houses from rocks. No mortar or anything. They just relied on gravity. In our schools, there is almost no education in African history, so many people assume that not much noteworthy has happened in Africa. That is not even a little bit true. Zimbabwe is named after these amazing stone structures which are found in several locations around the country. The name Zimbabwe actually means house of stone in Shona. While the structures are cool, they were defiantly not the best part of the excursion.
After the ruins, we kept climbing. We kept to the path as we explored the immediate area around the ruins...
.for a while. Being more adventurous, Maddie and I decided to forge a new trail. Which meant climb. Literally climb. We had found a HUGE boulder that stuck out of the side of the mounta
in and we just new the view would be unreal. So we climbed boulder after boulder. Then a tree. Then more boulder. This climb was partially vertical and mostly dangerous. But, the view was unre
al. I really did not want to take a picture because I knew that there was no real way to communicate the beauty of the view. This is only a sliver of what we saw, but is pretty common for Zimbabwe. Note the amazing contrast between the flat country side and the mountains. Once again, even in geography, Zimbabwe is a land of extremes. Also, if you look carefully, you can see several huts.
After finishing our climb, we climbed in the Land Rovers and raced to see the rock paintings. We once again embarked on a climb. Only this climb as a slightly steeper angle and eventually found ourselves in a cave with probably 50 different paintings. Once again, I have no good picture worthy of representing this view. Instead, I have almost a hundred small pictures, but I hope this one picture will do.The dye used for the painting is a mix of animal blood with different clays and minerals. Many of the painting were obviously painted using fingers and I just a chance to run my fingers along the same paths as the artist who created the paintings. That was a truly awesome moment. Seven centuries ago, an artist found himself in the same cave on the same mountain in the middle of Zimbabwe and traced the same finger strokes that I did. For me, that rose goose-bumps. It also made me think, "Woah, I am actually in Africa".
Hopefully you guys enjoyed the pictures and got some visualization of Zimbabwe. I am going into Harare on Wednesday or Thursdays, so I will try and take pictures and post them. Until then, thanks for reading as always....