The Step into the Gap volunteers arrive in Zimbabwe
We have arrived, safe and sound in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. The weather is beautiful – sunny and warm. The journey was long and tiring, but we were all very excited to get our first view of Harare in the drive from the airport. Many things were surprising and new to us – people grilling corn on the cob on stones at the side of the road, people selling newspapers in the middle of the traffic or carrying crates of bread on their heads. We were all ready for the lovely evening meal at the Dominican Convent, where we received a very warm welcome from the sisters, which immediately made us feel at ease and at home.
Find out more and apply for the Step into the Gap programme
Getting ready for a long awaited good night’s sleep turned out to be more eventful than expected. Leila locked herself out of her room and camped out on Lizzie’s floor, Lizzie temporarily broke the tap in the shower, Keiron overcame his fear of spiders thanks to the company of a particularly big black one in his room, and although Mary was missing her phone and the internet, all in all, we enjoyed a great rest.
Originally posted on CAFOD Lancaster's Blog:
Kieron will be travelling to Zimbabwe as part of CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme. Originally from Manchester, he’s currently in Blackpool, working as part of the Chaplaincy Team at St Mary’s Catholic College. He shares his thoughts here as he prepares to go…
I’ve always wanted to travel, to see the world as it is among the raw beauty it holds (and sadly no, I am not talking about the 10 days spent upon the beautiful strip of the Spanish island Majorca, aka Magaluf).
What I am talking about is that sometimes it’s not always possible for people to get past those traditional British orientated holiday destinations and it can prove to be very difficult in today’s economic climate to have that sense of adventure. Sometimes it feels as though the more exotic the haven is, the more it appears to be only for those who are fortunate enough…
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Georgia Burford, CAFOD’s HIV Strategy Manager, writes:
It’s another busy day at the 20th International AIDS conference in Melbourne. Today I had the opportunity to present at a session with Water Aid on how CAFOD is linking up the different areas of work we do. Working with some of the poorest and most marginalised communities, we address HIV and we address the need for clean water and safe sanitation. But people’s lives aren’t segmented into neat little compartments so our work can’t be either.
On average, a person living with HIV needs two and a half times as much water as someone who is not HIV positive. For example, someone living with HIV requires good nutrition in order for AIDS treatment to work. This means that they need to have ready access to clean water for growing, washing and cooking food.
Yet despite this increased need, people living with HIV will often face increased barriers to accessing clean water and safe sanitation. Misconceptions of how HIV is transmitted may mean someone living with HIV faces hostility when trying to use a water pump. Continue reading
Filed under CAFOD, Zimbabwe
by Nana Anto-Awuakye
Chivi Mapaike is a 65 kilometre drive from Masvingo town. The tarmac soon runs out and the rest of the journey is a bumpy dirt-track ride. The Masvingo boulders now seem to loom out from behind every cluster of trees or foliage. The landscape has turned a dry, sandy colour, and I’m told that over the last few years the area has suffered droughts because of shorter than usual rainfalls.
The dirt-track finally leads us to a small village that is effectively built on top of one of the boulders. As we climb up, there is no hiding place from the sun’s rays, which bounce off the smooth surface of the rock. Jacob, 57, is at the top, waiting to greet us.
Jacob has just finished doing some work on one of his plots of land. He has a furrowed brow and a serious expression on his face, but as he sweeps his arm out in front of him, pointing out his plots of land and his cows, his expression breaks into a smile. He is proud of what he has achieved over the last few years. He says: “I have been able to buy these cows because of the benefits conservation farming has brought me, my family and the community.” Continue reading
by Nana Anto-Awuakye
Masvingo is the oldest town in Zimbabwe, and the area is famed for its amazing balancing boulders – gigantic, rounded, gleaming granite mountain rock formations that sit on top of each other and look like they’re threatening to tumble down on top of you.
It’s a five-hour, 300 km drive to Masvingo from Harare. The tarmac road is smooth and undulates across stunning countryside. It’s a busy road, and I’m told one of the most dangerous in country. It’s the route from the border with South Africa, and goods for the shops in Zimbabwe come in this way – the roofs of cars, vans and old buses are piled high with cross-border wares. All the vehicles travel at break-neck speeds, displaying the most daring over-taking manoeuvres, which have you firmly clutching your seat and performing imaginary breaking manoeuvres. My driver cruises along, almost not noticing the crazy antics. He’s from Masvingo and knows every inch of this road. I’m in safe hands. Continue reading