E Mail sent:24 June 2004

Just before the Beit Bridge border we filled up with fuel and exchanged Rands for Zim Dollars at 900 to 1!! We did the border crossing in under 2 hours which apparently in very good.  Loads of people everywhere, some with goats and chickens, a couple of extremely over loaded busses, cars, bakkies, etc. and about 1000 trucks coming and going!  We filled in immigration forms and got our passports stamped, then paid for bridge toll tax, then filled in forms for carbon tax (a fee paid for the amount of gas that comes our of your vehicle according to the size of your vehicle engine), oh and each form filled in twice because their is no carbon paper, goods declaration form -got the info of these forms entered onto the 'system' and paid the fee to quite a friendly chap who also told me that if a mistake is made on a form you are to cross out the error and right the correct information close to your error AND NOT USE A NEW FORM!! Then back to immigration to get our bridge toll tax card stamped, then outside to the 3rd party office to pay the fees where you can only pay in SA Rands and they only give you change in Zim dollars at a rate of 115 to 1!!  So make sure you have R100-00 in change on you.Johan went to ask someone outside for change as we used all our change in Messina.  Then we went back to the bike and had to ride to the customs guy just before the last gate.... he checked through all the new pieces of paper we had just received, ask what goods we were carrying,then stamped our yellow bridge toll tax card and said we could go, we gave this to the gate guards and we were officially in Zim!!  Hallelujah!! We rode about 10km up the road and stopped to take a picture of a beautiful Boabab Tree Boabab Treeand to have lunch. Boababs everywhere and Mopane trees, infact the vegetation reminds me of Ongava in Namibia, really beautiful.  We rode to a fuel stop at the Runde River (pronounced Lundi by the locals) which is about 190km from the border.  We were joined by Oom Manie and Tannie Minnie from CMA Garden Route, Joepie from CMA Midrand, Coleen from CMA Zimbabwe and friend Bertie.  We shared a very basic but clean room with Oom Manie and Tannie Minnie.  The owners are wonderful people and even joined us in the restaurant for tea, they have the most beautiful dog named Cheeky.  
Charmaine & Cheeky25 June - Filled up with fuel at 3200 zim $ which worked out at about R3-50 a litre - not bad at all!!  We all headed north to Masvingo, stopped at the Birchenough Bridge and on to Mutare - WOW what beautiful scenery, quite tropical.
Mutare is full of trees and quite hilly. We went straight to the home of Jenny and Mark where Oom Manie and Tannie Minnie are staying.  We all had a wonderful lunch then Joepie took the rest of us to Robert's house where Coleen was waiting for her husband to arrive from Harare.  Joepie and Bertie headed off to Jenny's dairy farm where they would stay with her sons and Robert took us to Peet and Teresa house.  So we all had a place to stay,quickly unpacked and went back to Jenny's house where we met Joepie at 3.30pm who took us for a ride to Leopard Rock.  32km's and 101 corners!!!!  Birchenough Bridge ZimbabweThe area is a lot like Bloukrans pass, foresty and monkeys.  Back to Jenny's house where we were all invited to join in for the CMA meeting and met chapter leaders from all the regions.  Their system is different from ours as the various chapters have diffent names and patches and the members are called friends of CMA, CMA full colours are called 'national colours' and are only awarded to those who qualify like us.  After the meeting we went to the Mutare oval/dirt bike track.  Lots of noise with dirt bikes going round and round and round and round................
 26 June - The Mutare Bike Show which is organised by CMA Zim is for the Saturday and Sunday. We all met for the ride through town at 9am and was lead by a traffic cop on a Yamaha XJ750 WRAK DE LUX MODEL!!  Back tyre was a 'off-road slick' with knobbs on the side!   Oh, and the siren was going which sounded like a world war one bomb raid siren on flat battery's!  The ride was attended by anyone with 2 wheels and doesn't matter what  your age is!  After the ride through town there were 2 outings organised, one for the dirt/trail bikes and one for the road bikes.  We went with the road bikes to Troutbeck near Nyanga.  Extremely beautiful,similar to the Eastern Transvaal and in some cases even more beautiful (or so Johan says)!
Mutare Bike Show ZimbabweBack in Mutare we all went to our respective homes. Another family joined our house, Kim and  Mark and their 2 kids - farmers and friends of our hosts from Headlands. We had the most amazing evening chatting to everyone and hearing their life stories.   These people live from day to day not really knowing what is going to happen next.  After a spate of murders and rapes in January Peet and Teresa have decided to leave Zim, they are in the process of packing up their home and moving their family (son David and daughter Nakita) to either the UK or Zambia - which ever door is opened to them, Praise the LordJohan Zimbabwe

Peet's Mom phoned this morning to say that all the necessary paper work for the UK has been approved and is on its way from Devon to Zim.  But that means arriving there with no work and no home of there own.  Kim and Mark are one of the few farmers left in their area who have not been bothered with yet.  Mark tried to get a loan from the bank to put in a new crop but the bank wont give him a loan because he does not own property in a town which he can use as collateral. And besides  all of these factors, these families have the most amazing support system, have the strongest faith in Jesus, are the most hospitable and loving people you can imagine. I am so glad the Lord has sent us here, as I feel it is to learn how to be more humble. I realise how blessed and spoilt we are in RSA, and how easy we moan about things in our lives.  This is a different way of life here and something we cannot fully comprehend as it does not directly affect us but we can learn a lot from these folks as the bond and love between Zimbabwean family and friends is something i have never seen before. I thank Jesus for being in so many of their lives and pray that he opens the doors for them to prosper and to close the doors of the enemy and to keep them safe until His time is right to show them what he wants them to do with their lives.
27 June - Everyone met at La Rochelle for the concourse,breakfast then prize giving. Yes, and Simon, we met him at the show. He's from UK on a home built machine with a 650 Rotax engine, looks like a lowered DR650. He left UK 4 years ago and rode around the world. Africa is his last continent and his heading back through East Africa and cutting through DRC and Central African Republic to Senegal and Morocco. He went back to Harare and we'll see him again in Malawi.

Planne vir die volgende paar dae lyk soos volg: Dinsdag nog in Mutare en woensdag gaan ons 'n toespraak en boere ontbyt storie bywoon in Headlands en die aand daar op Mark en Kim se plaas bly. Hulle is nog van die min oorblywende wit mense wat 'n plaas besit! Mense, dis erg, die plase word net afgevat en die arme mense kan NIKS doen nie! 'n Mens vra baie hoekom die Here sulke goed toelaat, ons weet nie,maar deur hier te wees en te sien hoe dit regtig gaan is 'n baie groot eye-opener. Ons in Suid Afrika is verskriklik geseend. Die wit mense hier leef net van dag tot dag en kannie beplan vir more nie. Dit roer my hart baie diep en die trane sit vlak as hulle vertel van hulle lewens ervarings, iets wat ons 'Down South' soos hulle na Suid Afrika verwys,nie kan indink nie.  Dan behoort ons donderdag terug in Mutare te wees en Oom Manie en Tanie Minnie het ons gebless met 'n aand se oorbly in 'n Hotel hier in die dorp, dankie! Vrydag sal ons afsak na Beira en sal seker saterdag ook daar bly. Sondag sal ons noord gaan en sal hopelik maandag in Quelimane omgewing wees. As die Here wil sal ons woensdag, 7 Julie by Ila de Mozambique wees en 'n paar dae daar spandeer. Dis 'n eiland in die Noorde van Mosambiek en is ook 'n World heritage site, blykbaar iets besonders om te sien. Daarna sal ons terug gaan in 'n suid westelike rigting na Blantyre in Malawi.

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