By Alan Sorensen
Havre High School junior Joel Dupree spent a productive winter this summer.
While his classmates were frolicking in the Hi-Lines summer heat, Dupree was digging ditches in an Africa village.
The precise location of Duprees labors was the village of Chidamoyo, Zimbabwe, where Becky Overlin of Turner and her husband, Steve, are missionaries. Overlin is the sister of Havre pastor Rowlie Hutton of Sixth avenue Christian Church. Her mission is affiliated with the Independent Christian Churches, an independent denomination.
Located in north central Zimbabwe, Chidamoyo is near that countrys borders with Zambia and Mozambique. The Zambia border due west from Chidamoyo is created by Victoria Falls and Victoria Gorge.
Chidamoyo gets its electricity from a generator and remains fairly primative, according to Dupree, who lived in the village from June 10 through Aug. 8. The power from the generator is used to light the mission and the hospital and to power hospital equipment including the X-ray machine. The generator is turned off every night.
Duprees main mission at Chidamoyo was digging a telephone line for an intercom-type system among the villages homes. But he also found time for spiritual activities and for sight-seeing and fun.
It was at Metusadora Game Park at Lake Kariba, just north of Victoria Falls, that Dupree saw considerable African wildlife. He was able to photograph dozens of lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, crocodiles, large-billed birds, kudus, and wildebeest. He also saw a flock of buzzards flying over a hippopotamus that was strangled by a poachers snare.
Dupree, an avid downhill skier, never had a chance to don planks because the African winter in the country directly north of South Africa doesnt get cold enough for snow and because Chidamoyo sits on a grassy plain. He did take the opportunity, though, to try the worlds highest bungee jump.
The jump was off the Victoria Gorge bridge which is just across the border in Zambia. Dupree said he wasnt sure how close he came to touching the gorge bottom when he took the 111-meter plunge.
While there, Dupree also had a close encounter of the scary kind with a wild animal. I got a little too close to an elephant and he chased me off pretty quick, Dupree said.
He said he had no problem with the parks lions. They sleep like 18 hours a day, so they just lay there, not even interested in us.
Overlins mother, Phyllis Hutton of Havre, and her friend Gail Pollington of Turner arrived for their six-week visit to the mission while Dupree was there.
Dupree, who managed to be baptized in a swimming pool (the river was infested with crocodiles), said he finished his job.
I laid all the conduits, they just have to pull the wire.