This blog post is longer than normal!
And it’s mostly writing. If you want to see pictures, they will be posted on the TineVimbo Facebook page – so go ahead and like the page! 🙂
I also plan on eventually doing a video of my experience in the Zambezi Valley this past Thursday & Friday. I will also post that on the TineVimbo Facebook page.
The Realization That God Is Still Awesome
So this last week has been nothing short of CRAZY!
It started off pretty quiet, and we made plans to make a trip to Hwata Secondary School early in the week (which I’ve been spelling wrong this whole time!), which is located 4ish hours away.
There are specialists who had to go to “site” the land, and make sure that water could be found where we wanted to drill. In case you haven’t been following my entire trip, just to recap: about 3 months ago, I started fundraising for this mission trip to Zimbabwe. I’ve been in contact with my “Uncle”, who is an Adventist pastor here, and he told me about the needs and challenges facing the students here.
He also told me about a school that was recently handed over to the church to run: Hwata Secondary School. This school was (and still is) in need of repairs, and a source of water, so I agreed to raise the funds to help the school.
First, I want to highlight these major obstacles that God has been moving out of the way to make things happen:
- I was afraid of failure. I mean, I’m just a teacher, one year out of college. I kept thinking, “I’m just one person – what can I do?!” I have very little knowledge about development, non-profit work, etc. and so even though I felt God telling me in January that I’d be in Zimbabwe this summer, I dragged my feet. I almost stood in the way of God’s plan. Still, God has done amazing things with my little faith. Guys – I’m in Zimbabwe right now! 🙂
- I had no clue where we’d get the money. Once I got over the fear of failure, I started to get overwhelmed by the calculations. To dig the borehole (well for water), set-up running water & bathrooms, repair the school, and equip the classrooms, (plus the costs of my airfare to Zim), it came up to roughly $20,000. This also included me wanting to support a couple other projects that ADRA (Adventist Development & Relief Agency) Zimbabwe is working on, like blankets for orphans, equipping clinics with medical supplies, and providing sustainable economic development opportunities to those most in need. Though all of these goals haven’t been realized – I am quite humbled by the over $5,000 that has been donated to the cause so far. I’ve felt the love of the generosity of friends, family, and even strangers, and for that I’m truly grateful.
- The logistics of this whole trip have been…interesting. Working with ADRA Zimbabwe has been such a blessing, because they have been so patient with me! Like I mentioned above, I don’t know how all of this works. Once I got on the ground, I also realized that the pace of life in general in Zim is a lot more relaxed than in America. So, yeah, let’s just say, I’ve learned a lot through many mistakes I’ve made in the last couple weeks. But still, God has been leading, guiding, and really keeping us safe through all of it. And for that, I am grateful.
Which leads me to…
The Good, The Bad, The Incredibly Rough
This past Thursday, at about 4 a.m., we finally set out for the Kanyemba region. We includes me, my “Uncle”, my friend Cora, and our driver.
This was the BIG trip – the trip to where the borehole would be drilled!
I had no idea what to expect.
I was quite groggy.
“Uncle” and Cora were very excited for the trip. The plan was to spend Thursday traveling all the way up north to Kanyemba, to see a very remote community that the church has been working in, among the tribe of Vadoma (the Doma) people group. ADRA was drilling a separate borehole there (which is why our borehole was perfectly timed – because they were already in the region with their equipment, we saved money!) Then Friday, we planned to travel to Hwata Secondary School, to finally drill OUR borehole!
I had no clue what I was in for.
We drove, and we drove, and we drove.
We stopped by a school – Gota – which I will blog about later (I took a ton of pictures there!).
We drove on the roughest roads I have ever encountered in my life.
And finally, around noon, we got to Kanyemba, and I was devastated.
I saw children running around, barefoot.
There houses were quite shocking structures.
I’m quite positive that I have never seen such poverty.
And “Uncle” told us that up until a few years ago, they had no contact with the outside world. They previously were unclothed, malnourished, and struggling for survival, before the Adventist church stepped in to provide food, and now, they are working toward building a school there for the children.
Kanyemba is one of those places that I will forever find incredibly hard to describe, because you have to be there to feel it. I just felt so helpless. Here are some pictures.
I was shocked to find out that a family as big as 7 people live in homes like this.
You can’t see it in the picture, but baboons were literally climbing up into this house as we drove by!
These were actually the nicer homes, made of mud, which we saw as we drove deeper into Kanyemba.
And this is the church, and to the right is a clinic. They were built quite recently. These are the only buildings/modern structures for many, many, MANY kilometers.
So I got all overwhelmed and weepy.
But then, as I saw ADRA Zimbabwe drilling a borehole, providing clean water so this community doesn’t have to drink from the dirty river or walk dozens of kilometers just for water, I suddenly felt hope rising within me.
It hit me – we really do have to approach “changing the world” as something that happens one step, one person, and one community at a time.
The men of the village came to help ADRA finish setting up the borehole. Watching them do this on Thursday made me excited for OUR drilling on Friday 🙂
We only stayed for less than an hour, then we got back in the car, and drove up to the Zambezi River, on the border of Zimbabwe/Zambia.
This is me by the Zambezi. You can actually see Zambia – I’m pointing to it!
“Uncle” and I, by the river. So, there are definitely crocodiles in there, and we heard hippos nearby!
Cora, “Uncle”, and our driver.
The incredibly rough part? I got car sick and a headache, and I honestly endured some pretty yucky hours, just bouncing along in the back of the vehicle. I made the mistake of trying to eat and drink less, so I wouldn’t have to find an outdoor bathroom (if you know what I mean), but that just made me feel sicker!
I was tired. I kept thinking to myself, why me, why me, why me! But it was such a blessing to travel with Cora and “Uncle”, such positive people. They kept me sane.
On Thursday alone, we spent over 14 hours of just driving time.
I actually have to go now, but in my next post I will tell you all about what happened on Friday, when we got to Hwata Secondary for the drilling of the borehole.
Blessings & Peace,