Field Trip 2017: Lirhanzo Children’s Village Zimbabwe
Hi to all AFADU Sponsors and Friends,
Finally, I have found spare time to update you all on our recent 2017 Field Trip to LCV, Zimbabwe.
Wow Wow Wow!!!
Of the 7 trips I have made to the Lirhanzo Children’s Village this would have to be the most special and I cannot believe that there have been so many positive changes, on so many levels since AFADU was initially registered by Jules Routledge in 2003.
The little children at the Lirhanzo Children’s Village, the older ones living in town with Margret and Crispen in their compound in Chikombedzi and the kids going to university are the most gorgeous, well behaved, healthy, happy and grateful children I have the pleasure of knowing.
These children have come from very sad and challenging backgrounds and their turn-around is totally due to the love they get from their Guardian Mums, Margret who they do all call, with great respect, Mum and of course Ezelle, the founder of LCV.
There are many supporters on many levels, however, AFADU are a huge part of these children’s lives and I thank you all for continuing to sponsor them. They still need us!
Lirhanzo Mission School Opening
Our big news was that in our honour, the completed school building that AFADU has worked so hard to fundraise for, was opened on June 16th.
Many donors from around the world helped with this project, however, the building could not have been completed without the large donations given by long-term supporters such as Delphine Archer and sponsors, Sherren Jeffrey, Sue Spencer, PJ and Steve Halter and the anonymous donor who gave AFADU $10,000.
Many of these donations were processed through RAWCS so thanks must go for their ongoing support through the Rotary Club of Airlie Beach.
On the Zimbabwean side, the LCV school community parents, teachers and children must be thanked for clearing the grounds, helping to make bricks and helping builder Denny Sibanda when requested.
To think this school was built in a 2 year period must be an African first!!!!
The whole team were involved in getting the school ready for the opening and working with the students and teaching staff to clean windows, decorate the building and set up for opening ceremony on 16th June.
On the day there were 600 children, parents, local dignitaries and members of parliament, visitors from overseas and South Africa all there to witness this momentous occasion.
Much to the surprise of Field tripper, Delphine Archer, the school building was named in her honor. Delphine and the Archer family have been supporting LCV and the AFADU projects for many years and this was her third visit.
Much to the surprise of AFADU we arrived to find work already commenced on Stage 2, the second primary school building, still sorely needed because of the popularity of the school!
It was a joyous occasion and now that it has been opened the children’s faces tell the story!
When we asked the Guardian Mums what the kids liked best about their new school, the one comment that they heard over and over was that they loved not coming home with dirty clothes every afternoon from sitting on the ground all day.
I suspect, those comments also might have come from the Guardian Mums whose workload is now much reduced!
AFADU Projects 2017
- – Black Boards attached to walls in new school classrooms
- – Shelves were repaired and safely re-erected in the storage room of new school
- – Shelves built and fitted in the safe for examination security
- – Shelves built and fitted in Principles office
- – Flag holes were drilled in all desks. (If the Zimbabwean Flag is flying, it alerts the teachers that a child has either finished his work or requires attention)
- – Swing in School play ground repaired
- – Play-ground equipment at Lirhanzo Children’s Village repaired —- and much, much more!
As usual it was a challenge to get the right tools/bolts/nails/screws for the jobs as the nearest Bunnings type store is hundreds of kilometres away.
Basic Carpentry Course and Safe Use of Tools
All field trippers supported Lion Lynda Baxter to teach the boys basic carpentry skills.
These covered how to use a hand-saw and hammer safely, use a mitre box and mitre square and make butt joints.
At least 2 will definitely carry on learning and showed great potential.
Children made simple wooden boxes and proudly took them home.
Rotarian Terry taught the kids how to splice rope
Trip to Harare
I had the absolute pleasure of spending 4 days of quality time with our manager Margret Mutero on what should have been a 2 day trip to Harare.
Margret needed to collect signatures from Education Department officials in Mwenezi, Masvingo and Harare for the registration of the school application as well as buy bulk items for the school opening party, partially funded by Colleen and Geoff Stewart from Ballarat.
As the Chikombedzi Hospital were desperate for pharmaceuticals, Delphine put her hand up to finance the list of necessaties given to us by Dr. White for the Harare pharmaceutical company and these were purchased with sincere thanks from Dr. White and the hospital staff.
Best made plans always come unstuck and so many things delayed our return, however, on the road I was able to update all the children’s information for AFADU and sponsors and I enjoyed every minute spent in Margret’s company.
She is a remarkable woman and I am so grateful she is our manager and has such a huge and wonderful impact on the children.
We managed to avoid most of the potholes and found that the Lirhanzo Children’s Village Logo on the side of our car got us waived through every road -block along the way.
This was unlike our road trip to Bulawayo at the end of our journey when we were initially fined a huge amount (on the spot) for not having one seat belt on and because the windows in the back of the vehicle were not working.
When I complained bitterly that we had been working for an orphanage the policeman, told the driver the old girl in the back (me) didn’t have to pay! His offsider ended up taking a token amount before we were waived off.
Our time spent with hosts, Ezelle and Christo Schimper at Edenvale Ranch was special, as always.
This field trip, life for us all was much easier as since our last visit, solar had been installed and there were no “lights out” curfews because of generators being turned off or the need to be mindful of diesel costs.
Communication with the outside world and internet access was so much better on the whole.
This change has made a huge difference to their lives, which these days are far less stressful.
Ezelle and Christo could not stop smiling as their gorgeous son, Ludwig had just announced his engagement to the beautiful Lea Furrer, a girl he has known all his life. Lea’s mother and father were Swiss doctors who used to work at the Chikombedzi Hospital about 25 years ago and they lived there for about 5 years.
Over the years the family continued to visit Ezelle and Christo as they continued working in Mission Hospitals throughout Africa and as the children finished their degrees, they have also returned to visit Edenvale.
Lea, now a doctor, did a stint at the Chikombedzi hospital recently and the rest is history.
As Lea will work at the hospital with Dr. White after they get married in November, we were able to give Ludwig and Lea exciting news that Harmers Work Place Lawyers in Sydney were happy to extend their arrangement with AFADU and offer Lea a top up salary.
Art Class for the Girls
Armed with materials donated from Smart Arts, Robina Mealey and Peta Manning, all from the Whitsundays we had an Art Class in the new school building. Having had many lessons but never having taught it was a challenge BUT everyone had fun and there were a couple of girls who showed real talent.
As always.. it was such fun to take another team over from Australia to meet these remarkable children.
They are always such a joy to be around and I wrote recently that in 2005, on my first visit, when many of these toddlers were sitting in the dirt at Edenvale Ranch with no parents and no hope for the future, that it is beyond belief that they have grown into such beautiful young adults with so much to look forward to because of Ezelle Schimper’s vision.
On behalf of all of them THANK YOU!
P.S. I just received an email from one of our sponsors after receiving pics and updates on their “African children”.
She shared with me that she and her husband had recently announced to their two children that they were expecting again by telling them that someone they had never met would be coming to live with them on a permanent basis.
Their first reaction was “YAY, Tadiwa and Rudo are coming to live with us!”
WE must be doing something right 🙂
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