Andy in Zimbabwe

Sunday, November 24th 2013

Anthony Harper & Andrew Appleton (Hand in Hand Foundation worldwide trustees) went on a self funded trip to Zimbabwe recently to inspect work we have supported and look at various opportunities for supporting projects that are new to us. Below is a short diary that Andrew kept while travelling.

Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 November 2013

We left Heathrow promptly at 6.35am and were soon across the North Sea and arriving in Amsterdam. Anthony and I were in the airport here for a couple of hours before boarding the KLM plane bound for Harare. A good flight south across Europe - we passed directly over Sicily and then on to Africa. By now we were further south and indeed furthest from home than I have ever been. As I write we are travelling over the vast Sahara Desert above Libya - pretty cool. Lunch was surprisingly good - it included profiteroles! However we do have another 3,200 miles to go (six hours) before we arrive in Zimbabwe.

A quick in-flight update: it's now nearly 7pm and dark - we are currently flying over Chad which is a massive county. The desert went on for a couple of hours earlier, probably well over 1,000 miles. Just over 2 hours flying left now - we should arrive at Harare airport about 9.15pm.

We are staying at a back-packers lodge - Small World in Harare - basic but absolutely fine. Philani met us at the airport. We are staying at the lodge tonight and Sunday night and fly to Victoria Falls on Monday and will spend a night there.

It's now Sunday morning and we are having a leisurely breakfast - everything is leisurely here, it seems. We met a UK birder who is staying here which was useful for me although I don't have time to go to the Botanical Gardens!

We did walk round the block after breakfast and saw a few birds but I'm having trouble identifying them. A small minibus cab picked us up and took us to Rumby's house - she helps look after Tens Foundation bits here. We met her husband who is doing his final ACCA exam on 5 December - he started studying when he was working in the UK a few years ago and played rugby for Zimbabwe before going to the UK.

The cab took all of us around today; we went to a hair salon at Tynwald where two twins (Portia and Patience) have set up shop in a tiny space next to a small grocery shop. I left them the exercise book and showed them how to do some basic book-keeping which I hope may have been useful. Juliet is working in the salon for a couple of months and wants to set up on her own in the centre of Harare, but needs to save up so she can afford to do so.

Juliet then came with us and Tamara and Joylene did too - these three girls were at the orphanage in Karoi but ran away. Lately they have been staying at Faith & Hope which isn't great - but hopefully only to the end of this week. We then visited their mushroom project and Joylene was very excited to show this to us. It's basically a small hot sweaty shack were they grow mushrooms from seeds and then sell when fully grown. The road there was quite like the track to Shellness in places - pretty awful.

Rumby, Juliet, Tamara, Joylene, our driver and Cyprian outside the house.

We then looked at a ramshackle house in a really nice neighbourhood that Tens Foundation have agreed to rent for accommodation for them - they will move their mushroom project to an outbuilding (after the walls have been sorted). They are supposed to be moving in this week but it needs decorating - that's a gross understatement. The three girls seem very excited however. We then did lunch in Nando's. Somewhere we picked up Cyprian, a really nice guy who used to be the driver for JCF - he now sells air-time, does a little driving for Philani but not a lot else.

After the cab dropped us off I walked round the block again and saw a few birds but the list of identified birds is less than 20 at the moment! Look up male African Paradise-Flycatcher - stonking.

Monday 25 November

We flew up to Victoria Falls this morning and were shown our room at 'The Kingdom Hotel' - it’s pretty nice here and seeing a few Pied and a single Giant Kingfisher from the room is pretty cool too. Paul Dube and a driver met us at the airport and picked us up again after we'd had some lunch. We popped into his tiny house and picked his wife up on the way to visit a group that are setting up a community project - about 65 orphaned children were waiting outside a small church in an underprivileged area. They were there with various guardians and about eight men who are very keen to set up an orphanage in Victoria Falls.

The team (and Anthony)

Anthony and I were made very welcome and had to say a few words and pray. It was extremely interesting to see various people who want to do God's work and look after and love and educate orphans in the area. They are keen to show Gods love in a real way to those in need.

After the children had gone they wanted to stay and tell us in more detail what they had already done and some of the excellent formalities they are already taking. This appears to show how seriously they are taking this vision. I took a photo as I think it's really important to remember to pray for these people. We promised nothing but would love to help, somehow.