It’s now a few days since completing a three week stint working with Churches of Christ in Zimbabwe as part of a volunteer team from Australia and New Zealand. The dust has started to settle, the Africa in our veins is distilling to something quieter and more reflective. The next few posts will describe some experiences and tell some stories from the perspective of one who has only roamed from these safe Australian shores once or twice before. I’m not a born traveller and tend to be somewhat cautious and overly vigilant. The up-side is that I then observe and catch nuances, sounds and sights that a more casual sojourner might miss.
There were nine of us altogether, including a family of four. We were to be split into two groups, one team to be based at Khayelihle Children’s Village, a facility for some 120 children orphaned by the severe AIDS epidemic that has swept much of Africa. The second team (mine) would work out of the rural farming and mining centre of Zvishavane – ministering with a selection of 130 churches in the district, visiting extended families that are assisted by the churches in caring for AIDS orphans, and inspecting some of the 120 bores already sunk to ease access to water.
Apart from these broad objectives, agendas were necessarily open. We were there not to impose our will or advice but to respond to what our hosting church communities required of us. Flexibility and the capacity to adjust to the demands of the occasion quickly became hallmarks of our time together. At the same time, hospitality was open and generous. After eight days of solid work by both teams, we came together for some welcome R & R. The combined team visited three wildlife reserves and the famous Victoria Falls before returning to Bulawayo. Some final mopping up at the children’s village completed our work.
With that broad introduction, we have a base for the stories that follow, mostly from the rural ministries perspective because that’s where yours truly was involved.
For a day by day “flow of consciousness” description of team life at Khayelihle Children’s Village, see the Williams family blog.