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Challenged to make a difference

Challenged to make a difference

Challenged to make a difference

Story and pictures by LINDA ORRBEN and EMILY WALSETH

Nelson Mandela said, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” The Mother Africa Trust provides volunteers with an opportunity to see life through a different lens, while giving back to both the environment and people of Zimbabwe. Our lives were forever changed.

Through our involvement with Mother Africa, we were guided by experienced and highly educated individuals who are naturally a part of the Zimbabwean community. Each day brought a new, unpredictable adventure that challenged and stretched us beyond our imagination. But we always felt safe and secure in the hands of Mother Africa.

Project-based volunteering can include work at an orphanage, local primary school, or in conservation initiatives. While working at the orphanage, we had our heart strings pulled and were shown love by children in a way we had never experienced before. Simple pleasures give these incredible children joy; you can see it in their smiles.

A typical day could include waking up at dawn to prepare breakfast, working in the garden, helping children with school work or playing sports - football is a favourite! During the weekdays the children attend local primary schools and spend their evenings and weekends working on chores, school work, and spending time with each other.

A day at the local primary school could entail manual labour, such as repairing housing, windows, classrooms or other items for teachers. Volunteers may also be placed in the classroom to work alongside the teacher by grading papers or teaching lessons. While the children were on breaks we were able to interact, as well as observe as they interacted with each other. We were most inspired by the open welcome from the children as well as by their politeness and passion for learning.

Our conservation efforts allowed us to be a part of the breathtaking landscape of the Matopos. While viewing nature at its finest, animals in their natural habitat, the volunteer performs meaningful work to preserve the history and culture of Zimbabwe.

Through involvement with Mother Africa, we were able to share our gifts and talents. Mother Africa believes any one person can use their skills, experience and knowledge to make a difference.

Zambezi Traveller Diirectory:
Mother Africa Trust

Read more articles from this issue:
Main menu (Issue 16, March 2014)
Full contents listing
Birds & Birding

Read more about the region:
Bulawayo & Matobo Hills Destination Guide
Bulawayo & Matobo Hills News