Anthony 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 Anthony kept while travelling.


Well we left a very cold Heathrow Airport on Saturday morning. Grabbed a coffee whilst we waited for check in desk to open. Sailed through security extra quick, and then found nothing open so could not get any breakfast or coffee. Eventually manage to grab a tea and a bacon roll just before we boarded. Good flight, to Amsterdam, egg sandwich was the only thing on offer! Not a good start. Short wait in Amsterdam. The two litre bottle of water confiscated at transfer not allowed to take the water on board. Not pleased as we had not stepped outside a secure area!

Flight good from Amsterdam, feeling very healthy on my Gluten free diet! Two vegetarian meals, someone tell KLM you can have gluten free meat! followed by two milky creamy things, which I could not eat, and two fruit salads. Landed and through security quite quickly, visa issued and out to see a very friendly happy face of ours.

Cab to our two nights accommodation only US$35. Basic but so tired just wanted to sleep. Woke up around 2.30am to the sound of someone sawing wood outside our room, no hang on that was Andy snoring, he can be quite violent when you try to stop him snoring :) I wonder if Tracey finds this?


English Breakfast, Andy done well, I don't eat eggs, so he had mine. Could have had my tomato as well, but four fried eggs, tomato, bacon, beans and bread was sufficient for him! Today we met up with Rumby (Ten Foundation), and three girls who we first met way back in 2007. The girls have been struggling. All three show real promise, and are hard working young people.

  • The first would like to be a hairdresser and own her own salon in Harare. She has started a 6 month internship in a local salon in the Tynwald area. We visited the salon and had a good time chatting with the twin sisters who run the salon. We went through some basic record keeping to help them and help help achieve long term goals. The biggest thing needed is the ability to rent a chair in a salon. This will enable her to gain experience and a living.
  • The second has started a mushroom project, she sells mushrooms to the small local supermarkets. She is enterprising.
  • The third still wants to be a pilot! She ran off for about a year and ended up in some unpleasant situations. She is now back on track and wanting to turn things around. She starts her third year at school in January.

Ten Foundation with effect from 30th November will be renting a house for the three girls to live in, giving them some independence and a new start after some recent difficulties they have been placed in recently where they were staying. The other aim is to get a family or some other suitable adult to live with them to help provide a family environment and some security.


Travelled to Victoria Falls by plane, nice and easy one hour flight. Met with Paul Dube. Paul has a vision to build an Orphange in one of the out lying areas of Victoria Falls. Mvuto. We went to our hotel to freshen up, and prepare for our meeting with the a local church and their community. When we arrived we were led to two chairs (more like thrones). I think we had an audience of somewhere around 70 people consisting of Orphans, Mother Guardians, Social Welfare, Church leaders and representative from the newly formed charity Blessed Orphan trust. A number of people shared the vision and Andy and I also said a few words about why we were there and what we hoped to achieve by our visit. In the afternoon we had a few hours off and went to the Crocodile Park. Quite interesting. The evening we spent at the hotel, good food. Add typical Victoria Falls entertainment.


Well you can't travel all the way to Victoria Falls and not see the falls can you. So we got up early and did that. A lot less water than last time I was here in 2007. Still stunning and breath taking though. We then psent some time with Paul in a local coffee bar just talking through some of the practical issue's that we were going to face in the afternoon. So to the community of Mvuto. But before that we had to meet with the chief of the area. Absolutely nothing happens without his consent and blessing, so this meeting was very important. We managed to get through that, taking note of all the traditions that are required when you visit him. Everybody, even the President has to bow before him. So a good chat with him before we moved onto meeting the actual community. They had all gathered including the orphans. I guess around 200 people. They were concerned we would get to hot so put us in the shade. The meeting went well hearing their concerns, need and hopes. I also addressed them, made them laugh, applaud and even got the traditional approval when they roll their tongues and rrrrrrrrrr or whatever you call it. So we left there at 4:20 our flight left at 5:00pm and we still had to go and see the Chief again! However we just managed to get to the airport at 4:45pm, got told off by the airline but still got on the plane in time and returned to meet Philani at the airport. So good to see him and the family again. Bed by 10PM (that is 8PM UK time!)


Today we are being driven around by our good friends Cyprian and Shepherd. We met Philip, a man who is chairman of social workers, and also runs a company that specialises in training people. Another good meeting. He also explained then TF strategy paper he is compiling. He will forward a copy. After this we were due to meet the UK Embassy but for one reason or another this did not happen. Instead we visited the work of The Foundation Project, and our good friends Charlotte Haggie and Martha Damu. Charlotte founded the charity. This work I was very pleased to see had started to take shape as I was around when it was first mentioned. This is the start of something quite exciting and I hope we can help encourage the work in some way in the future. Following on from this we were able to meet up with Willard and Blessing, two students that have been supported in further education. We met Willard's Head Principle who was very pleased we had taken time to come and see Willard. We saw both students reports and they are dong very well. Achieving good grades and very good attendance. Willard recently received an award for his discipline.


Not such an early start. 8am (6am UK). Today we go to Karoi. It is a longish drive, 200km and only 12 Police check points on the way. Finally arrived in Karoi and met Patrick, although briefly, we agreed to meet later in the evening with Doctor Tsikira. We then headed over to Far and Away mission where we were staying overnight. A lovely little homested structure. We spent a few hours just resting. Andy was bird watching. He was very happy! We had a quick supper with Leonard from F&A missions, then headed over to a hotel on the outskirts of Karoi to meet with Patrick and the Doctor. We had a good meeting and heard some of the history, hopes and fears for the future. The meeting lasted about 1 hour.


Early start up at 5:50am (3:50am UK), up int time to boil the kettle for tea before the electric was shut off PHEW! We had a meeting with the Doctor and the the deputy district administrator at the hospital, although brief, it was a good to meet and help encourage the PVO status of TF. 7:45am meet up with Lindy Griffiths for coffee at her home. Lovely. Again an opportunity to hear how she is finding things and chat generally. 9:30am time to visit some children in Karoi. Good to see some familiar faces. Great to see the children, although the older ones were at school. Had a tour around the area. A mushroom project has failed, which was a great disappointment nt just for us to see but those organizing it! The chickens looked well. The garden was looking okay despite the dry weather and the end of season. We visited the school, and had a quick tour around the classrooms and met some of the teachers. Also saw the computers that were donated by TF. Back to see Patrick and have a chat about moving forward and then it was time to head towards Harare. However we had one more stop on the way visiting a potential new project that Charlotte Haggie from The Foundation Project at a place called Muturoshanga school. The school building is in effect a shell, that the children bring their blanket to sit on, that is it! Potential for 200 children, and a food program as well. This is a wow project. Final journey to Harare and a Bria to finish off the night.


A lay in! 7am leisurely start, nothing planned but another young boy who we have supported in further education appeared on our doorstep! Turned up at the house to say hi. He is about to start his final semester in hotel and tourism. Philani then took us to The bird Sanctuary just outside Harare near snake park. Very lovely way to have brunch. Back to the house to pack and complete blog. Need a cuppa!