Colin Scott and Eva Ntege-Dhizaala travelled to Zimbabwe during the month of May as one of the first GMP staff visits overseas since the Australian international borders re-opened. Eva is new to the COCOA team, so this trip was an exciting opportunity for her to meet GMP partners for the first time.
Both Colin and Eva said how travelling has changed since COVID-19. There was a lot of checks, sanitiser and mask wearing. Colin said, “There were less flights to choose from so we went a long way around.” Positively, there were “no major hassles,” Eva said. After the long-haul flights, landing in Africa brought a renewed excitement for the people and the projects that were to be visited.
The COCOA team went to Zimbabwe to visit potential GMP partner Christian Care’s projects in Masvingo province. The next phase of the project will be a joint funding partnership with Act for Peace. The COCOA team saw many examples of conservation farming and small livestock projects in action. Farmers were generally getting twice as much return than before. Eva said, “It was nice meeting the Christian Care team. They were very receptive from the beginning to the end.”
The team also visited GMP long-term partners Showers of Blessing (OSBT) and Khayelihle Children’s Village (KCV). Eva will be managing these projects, so it was an important visit for introductions. “Meeting the GMP partners whom I had only been reading about was very exciting,” Eva said. “Meeting Boniface and his family, and seeing the effects of people’s changed lives as a result of improved water access was great.” A highlight for Eva was talking to the children at KCV. “Watching how confident they were was so very energising,” Eva said.
Likewise, Colin also enjoyed talking to the children at KCV, including those who have graduated from school and are establishing themselves as young adults. One young woman shared that, living at KCV, she had been well-prepared for life in the outside world in every way. “She saw herself as someone from a good home, because she had been loved. I think she also felt that she had been mothered well to be a capable and dignified young woman,” Colin said. Eva noticed the house mothers and “how they all genuinely showed care for the children.”
There will be more overseas travel planned this year for the COCOA team. “It was great having the opportunity to get to see the great work GMP does firsthand,” Eva said.