In her 3rd blog instalment Samantha tells us about the highlight of her trip so far…
Driving over the dirt tracks and beginning to feel too hot and sticky for comfort ended when we saw the school that Prescilla and Precious attend with 2 of their siblings. We stopped for a moment to take a look, knowing that we were to visit there tomorrow, when we saw a girl come towards us from the school. It was Prescilla, who had been there waiting for our arrival. Her face broke into a wide smile when I jumped from the car and she gave me a big hug. Immediately I was aware that her English had improved – she was able to greet me and ask me to walk with her to the school so that she could show me her classroom. She informed me that she is now in grade 7 and was working hard.
I walked with her to the school and around her classroom, where they had obviously been learning about letter writing just before the holidays. I explained that I also taught letter writing to my class in England and we compared techniques. After a quick chat and introductions with the teachers, we squashed Prescilla into the car and headed to her home. It was about 20 minutes in the car to the girls home, which they have to walk everyday to school, in the heat and in the rainy season. Precious was waiting at the entrance to their home for us to arrive and it was so good to see her again. Both of the girls have obviously grown over the last 6 years, in height as well as in confidence.
We were introduced to the whole family, including father, mother, first born child, other siblings and extended family too. Some friends of the family were also around to meet the sponsors family! It was a fantastic day. We were able to extend greetings from our family and give pictures of our family to the girls. We were also able to give small gifts to everyone that had taken the time to meet with us – this was thankfully expected to be a large number so we had plenty of small toys, balloons, pens etc to go around. When we had finished this we were taken by Prescilla and Precious and their father to see their land including their gold panning business on the river that backs their land. On the way back to the home we were taken to see a garden that the girls are tending. It will provide tomatoes, cabbages and other vegetables for the family to eat and to sell.
Let me describe their fascinating home – it consists of 5 or 6 buildings built traditionally, some circular, some square and with thatched roofs. They are mainly built of brick and they are very cool inside. When we are inside them the men get to sit on chairs and the women and children sit on mats on the floor. Since we visited 6 years ago, 2 of these buildings are new.
Surrounding the buildings is their farmland. Last time it was grown up with sugar cane, ground nuts, corn and tomatoes which were for feeding the family only. This time the harvest has just happened so the area is looking quite bare. They were able to grow cotton just for cash and still have enough food for the family and some extra for selling. The family own some goats, which is a change since we last visited. Last time they only had one goat and we were able to give them a male goat to help with reproduction. We asked after our goat this time and were informed that it was eaten by a crocodile whilst drinking at the river. This is a threat to the family whenever they go to collect water or wash there!
After seeing their vegetable garden we went back to the home and were thrilled to be invited to eat with Prescilla and Precious. Their mother washed our hands and then offered plates of small beans for us to eat. The World Vision staff who were with us explained that it is polite to accept food when it is offered and we were happy to do so. Just when we were feeling full, we were given another plate FULL of more food. There was Sadsa, a semolina type of staple food, which has little taste on its own but is very filling, also some rape, which is a cabbage like vegetable, green and quite salty. We ate as much as we could and were very grateful as it filled us up for the night.
As we were leaving we were presented with a gift from the family which was more than we were expecting. Prescilla and Precious’s father was keen for us to share our journey and visit with others as their family are so happy and thankful for what World Vision is doing for their children. It was an emotional day, but knowing that we will see the girls tomorrow when we visit their school is a blessing.
If you’ve got any questions for me or my family about our trip or what life is like for children here in Zimbabwe please post them below and we will get back to you as soon as we can. You could also take a look at yesterday’s blog if you want to know more or take a look at our photo album on Facebook.
Samantha Turvey is an enthusiastic World Vision sponsor. She is travelling in Zimbabwe with her family, and blogging about her experience and how this amazing country has changed since her last visit 6 years ago.