Lyn Bray and I travelled as part of a Kiwi Link group to Zimbabwe in September 2016. The main focus for Lyn and myself was to spend time at Khayelihle Children’s Village (KCV) and get to know not only the children I sponsor but to better understand the workings and needs of the village. Staying at the KCV guesthouse we often had children waiting on the verandah to interact, play or just hang out with us. They occupy their leisure time in inventive ways – a skipping rope made from old cabling, or kicking a soccer ball made from a plastic bag filled with dirt and then bound with more plastic until it resembled a ball. When we produced the football, netball and soccer balls we had brought over they were ecstatic until the many three-cornered jacks created slow punctures, and then there was a constant plea to pump the balls up.
We attended the church services at KCV and although they were conducted in Ndebele, we were able to join in the singing with the aid of their songbooks. On both Sundays they had preachers who were passionate and animated in their sermon presentation, and so we were able to ‘get the gist’ of what they were saying. We were also able to present a blanket that members of Brougham Place Uniting Church had created along with hand knitted dolls for the pre-school children. We enjoyed a three-day visit to Hwange Game Park and Victoria Falls with the group and saw many animals including elephants, hippos, buffalo, antelope, zebra, giraffe and cheetah. Our last week included four days at Zvishavane (east of Bulawayo) where we visited the Great Zimbabwe ruins, participated in a mid-week rural church service (1¾ hours on concrete pews), and witnessed the commissioning of a bore hole and hand pump in a rural area provided by Showers of Blessings which is overseen by Boniface Mpofu. It was amazing to watch the reaction of the villagers as the first water came out of the pump – plenty of singing, dancing and praising God! One woman told me the well would mean a walk of only one kilometre instead of five kilometres to get water. These wells also enable the villagers to establish vegetable gardens, providing fresh veggies for themselves as well as selling any surplus.
Our experience of the mid-week rural church service was both inspiring and joyful. The congregation is made up of people who have little but they worship their Lord with passion and love. Some of the people had travelled kilometres on foot to celebrate and worship with us and the women in particular were dressed in their ‘Sunday best’. The choir of approximately 20 women and men was fantastic to hear. After church, we shared a meal together. This trip has left a lasting impression and made us determined to do more to assist not only KCV but also other projects through GMP.
Geoff McIntyre, Marion Church of Christ, SA.
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