Zimbabwe Expedition June 2013
I have just returned from a great expedition to Zimbabwe. I had the pleasure of travelling with Chris, Tim, Abi and Luke.
The expedition consisted of visiting the various projects that Operation Orphan supports as well as exploring the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe.
Tim, Abi, Luke and I travelled to the Chimanimani mountains where we visited the Outward Bound School. We spent 3 days rock climbing, hiking, exploring gorges and swimming in freezing cold water.
On our return journey we visited Birchenough Bridge and Hot Springs, now famous for one of the largest diamond finds in recent years. Chris stayed back in Mutare and spent time with Nev the founder and project coordinator of Amatelaz.
On our return to Mutare the team spent Saturday morning with the children from the project Children of Hope. It was a precious time and I personally was able to connect with some of the older children, listening to their stories and working through some of the issues they were currently facing. We shared lunch together and it was encouraging to see the commitment the children have to their education and to building their lives.
On our final day we visited Amatelaz and spent the day learning about all that goes on in this inspiring and very successful project.
Maxwell, a young lad whose parents died eight years ago and who now lives with his brothers, gave us an insight into how he tries to make a living. He showed us how he goes to the market and buys shoes and then tries to resell them in the main city centre. Maxwell invited us into his home in Sakubva and it was humbling and very challenging to see how the three young men live in a single room, no bigger than two double beds. One of their neighbours, who himself lives a challenging life, shouted to me and asked me to help the boys. When I asked how he was, his response was that he was fine, but the boys needed help.
That was a moment I will never forget. We were given an engaging presentation by the 70 children who attend the homework centre and were entertained with great music and shown amazing artwork.
UNICEF have a project administered through the department of Education that provides school fees for orphans and vulnerable children. However due to the current situation in the country these funds are difficult to access or are being misused. Work is being done by the Amatelaz team to try to access these funds on behalf of the children.
In addition to these visits I was also able to secure a paediatric medical elective placement option in Mutare Provincial Hospital through the senior consultant Dr Geoff Foster OBE.
It was a successful expedition and Zimbabwe is an amazing country with amazing people who are grateful for the help they receive in this very challenging time.
Thanks for reading