Africa weekend roundup: Farewell to Africa University

April 01, 2019
By Cathy Bruce
Friday marked our last full day at Africa University. The day began with a debriefing with Vice Chancellor Professor Munashe Furusa.

As the members of the Kentucky Annual Conference delegation to Africa described their time and interactions while on campus, it became increasingly apparent that our time here was transformative for all. Across the board the delegation had forged a bond with the students, the staff, the faculty that we came in contact with, and the kitchen staff that served us every day. So in short, we had forged a bond with Africa University.

As we recounted our interactions with those we had interacted with over the past four days, many of us held back tears until the emotions were just too deep to keep us from crying. As we tried to keep our emotions in check, Associate Vice Chancellor Jim Salley told us it was OK to cry because that meant we truly were now attached to Africa University. Mr. Salley then went on to encourage us not to forget this bond -- this partnership we had formed with the university.

After our debriefing, and some masterful stalling by the vice chancellor, members of the university staff, members of the student choir and the student body president presented Bishop Leonard Fairley with a birthday cake.

(Speaking of that, as an example of how special the students are at Africa University, one of the student ambassadors who had been one of our tour guides this week heard that it was Bishop Fairley’s birthday. She commissioned another student to make a drawing of Bishop, and she and the student artist presented it to him at dinner.)

Earlier Friday, we visited Hilltop UMC in Sakubva, a high-density suburb of Mutare, Zimbabwe.

Hilltop is the first congregation of the United Methodist Church established to serve the black people of Sakubva. The church regularly has more than 1,200 people in attendance each Sunday.

The pastor, Rev. Gaga, gave us a tour of the grounds. The church is home to a school, an outreach center and an orphanage.

Just as the name implies, the church is located on one of the highest peaks in Sakubva, and it has a beautiful view of the valley below.

We ended our day with a late lunch at Leopard Rock, a holiday spot located southeast of Mutare. It is situated at the top of a long, winding road that goes up the side of a mountain. As you go up the mountain you have many views of Mozambique.

As we returned, we stopped at a lookout where the views were gorgeous and you could see trucks lined up along the road into Mozambique, waiting to go through the checkpoint.
Saturday morning marked our last few hours at the Africa University campus. For many it was our first time visiting AU, and being here has truly been a wonderful experience. Many of our new friends we only know by first name, and many we don’t know the spelling of their names, but we definitely know their faces.

Saturday the delegation traveled from Mutare to Harare. Bishop Fairley preached the 8 a.m. Sunday service to our brothers and sisters in Christ at Chisipiti UMC.

Visit our Photo Gallery to see more photos from the excursion.