David in Zimbabwe
In late March 2015, I (that's me, 2nd from the left) and three students, Andrew, Luke and Mark, from Bristol Baptist College, were joined by lecturer Anthony Reddie, for seventeen days experiencing life in Zimbabwe.
On arrival at Harare we experienced our first taste of bureaucracy - something we had been warned about! Twenty of us got off the plane, and it took an hour to queue up for our entry visa.
A six hour drive took us to Bulawayo - Zimbabwe’s second city. Having survived 10 Police roadblocks en-route (set up for revenue earning, fining you $10 for each bulb that was out) we started visiting our projects.
BMS have no missionaries in Zimbabwe (the Government won’t allow Brits in to work), so the Mission work is carried out by local “partners” like “Family Impact”, who are all Zimbabwean or married to Zimbabweans. This allows them to operate where BMS could not go - in the city and in the villages where there are so many people to reach.
We visited the Theological College of Zimbabwe, where student ministers are trained in a multi denominational context (sounds familiar!)
A visit to “Second Chance” showed us how ex-offenders were trained in carpentry and clothing production to allow them to earn a living as self-employed people in a country with 80% unemployment.
Twenty four babies and toddlers were at the Abandoned Babies Project.
10 year old Kuda, with cerebral palsy, has been waiting a year to have the foster parents they have found for him approved. More red tape.
“Family Impact” are active in health awareness and HIV prevention, and train women in the outlying villages to spread the word to neighbouring women. In one village the death toll went down from a high last year of 15 in a month, to none in the first quarter this year. A miracle in a country where 15% of the population has HIV.
Lots more projects visited, and you can read about the trip in more detail at www.trinityradcliffe.org.uk