This was forwarded to me. I thought you might be interested. She is from Oak City.
Sister Afton Dutson writes:
Hi, everybody! I am by some miracle back on my e-mail! It has
been worthless for the last month, but the last 2 weeks, it has been so
sporadic, I haven't been able to do a thing. If by some chance, I could
open it, I would click to read a message and it would abort! And that
was that. Anyway, I made a trip down to the office of Netconnect,
(usually I just call then on the phone to complain about the service,
but this time I really wanted to get to the bottom of it) and they told
me that lightning had struck the tower. And they were out for so long.
They were re-routing everything to Harare, and it wasn't handling it
all. And then, they were working on the line and so we didn't have any
service again for a few days.
And I am not surprised that lightning struck it, because it hit and
killed 3 people. In different locations! It was a wild night! I
thought that it was for sure the end of the world again. (We have been
through 3 or 4 of those end of the world storms, and it is scary!!!)
...When we came out of there, we were so glad to breath fresh air and
come back to our flat, and we were exhausted and depressed. There are
so many sick and dying. And because of the death rate, and all of the
AIDS (1 out of every 3 in Zimbabwe), there are funerals all the time. I
am hoping we won't have to have one for Edward. He has 3 little
children, and his wife died about the time we came here. And last week,
there were 3 funerals in our wards. One was one of the guys killed by
lightning, (he was just riding his bike when he was struck!) and 2 of
them were suicides. One was 14 and the other 17. That happens here
alot, too. Life is not fun for kids like at home. Times are hard and
some of them have a terrible home life and parents that are not much
good, and they just give up. So sad.
A few days ago, our stake president, President Makasi was driving
up to Zambia on CES business, and got in a terrible rain storm, and I
guess the roads were slick, and he hit a spot and skidded and then over
corrected and rolled his little Isuzu (spelling?) truck (with a canopy
on the back). Because of the roll bar on it, and the fact that he was
wearing his seat belt, and the Lord was protecting him, he was not
hurt! But he was up near Kariba Lake, and where there is no network for
his cell phone, he couldn't call anyone. But there was a little traffic
and several people stopped to help him, and he asked them to send a
wrecker to take his car back to Harare. But of course, he couldn't
leave his car, because it would be totally stripped within a few hours
if left alone. So he sat there in it. And it was about 5 in the
evening and he sat there all night, and all the next day until around 6
in the evening and here came our mission president's wife along, with
the two assistants. And they took him to Harare, as soon as the truck
got headed there, too. But I can tell you that he spent a fearful
night. That area is full of animals. And the windows were broken out.
Any lion could reach in and pull him out so easily. And the hyenas run
in packs and are vicioius and all other kinds of wild animals. He said
he was scared. So now, we are also being transport for him part of the
time. And what will he do when we go home? This van that we drive will
be driven up to Harare by us and then left there, as there is not a
couple coming to replace us here. So they don't need the car here. But
he will need something. It takes months here to get anything done like
fixing a car.
Now, for anything we buy, we have to peel out rolls of 10 million
dollar bills to pay for _anything_! A million won't buy anything at
all. It is almost worthless now. We had to get some veggies the other
day, and I asked Elder Dutson how much money he had, would we have
enough to pay for the stuff? And he counted that he had 7 billion 500
million dollars on hand. And we spent it all. They said the other day
that inflation here has now reached 100,000 % An all-time world
record. And still climbing faster than you can believe!Speaking of
cars, Elder Dutson had to get an oil change done on our van, and he went
in to check on the price one day and we went to the bank and got money,
and the next day he went to get it done and the price had jumped in just
that one day from 125,314, 492 dollars, to 1,016,344,482 dollars. 891
thousand dollars more than it was the day before!
And speaking of the animals, we heard the report a few weeks ago
about them arresting 2 poachers who had killed 15 elephants! Taken the
tusks and left the animals there for the vultures and other animals.
How very sad, and how wasteful. This country is rich in scenic places,
and all the wild animals and tourists have always loved to come here and
enjoy that, and now the animals are getting more scarce all the time
with those things going on. And they say that the poachers will spend
something like 20-30 years in jail and pay fines that are astronomical!
It is a serious crime here and still they do it. People are so desperate.
The church deposits in the bank 8 billion dollars in each of three
accounts, every week. It sure costs the church a sum to operate this
mission here in Zimbabwe, wouldn't you say? And the problem is, the
church doesn't get the same exchange rate that we get. They get the
bank rate and it is quite a bit less than the black market that we do.
And speaking of crime, we have a very good friend here who helps
Elder Dutson repair the bikes. He has a business of fixing bikes and
gets parts and that and they spend alot of time working on them. And
one Sunday morning, we got a phone call from Mike and he sounded just
terrible. He had been on his way home the night before, (walking, of
course), and was robbed and beaten horribly! They hit him over and over
with big iron bars, and left him there in the road. Somehow, with some
help from some people who had witnessed it all (but didn't make one move
to help him when it was going on). He said if it had been only 2 guys,
he could have handled it and fought them off, but there were 5 or 6.
That is the way they do it. Get several together and go for one
person. Mike is a big, big guy, and it was sad that he couldn't fight
them off, although he tried. Then he screamed and screamed but no one
will get involved, because they know they would be killed too. He
called his old employers, and they wouldn't do anything about him. So
he called us here, and we went straightaway and picked him up and took
him to a chemist shop and gave him some money for some medications for
the pain he was having, and then left him at his mother's. It was
terrible and his face was swollen up so bad, and I think he had a
concussion, and his head ached terribly for days! But they cannot go to
a hospital or doctor. No money. It is so sad....