Step into the Gap – first blog from Zimbabwe!

The Step into the Gap volunteers arrive in Zimbabwe
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.

It was unusual to wake up under a mosquito net. We spent our first day visiting the CAFOD Harare office which is the central office for Southern Africa. We were met by Verity, who introduced us to the rest of the staff here.

Mary meets partners
Mary meets partners

We were very interested to learn from the teams about the projects that CAFOD support in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique. It was interesting to learn about the complexity and challenges of implementing projects here, and how dynamic and varied the projects are. Projects such as improving water access for a community have a much larger effect than we may initially realise – for instance by improving hygiene practices, reducing rates of disease,  and enabling farmers to water their crops and providing  people with livelihoods. Empowering women and girls by involving them in these projects and community decisions is also an interesting and fundamental aspect of the projects.

After being given so much food for thought, we were ready for our first traditional Zimbabwean lunch. We had Sadza (a staple dish made from maize) with tasty beans, spinach and a variety of meat stews – goat and beef – all eaten by hand! It was great to learn more about Zimbabwe from the team in Harare, which has definitely whet our appetite for the coming weeks! We’re all really excited to visit the projects in Binga and Harare, to meet the communities and CAFOD partners and to learn more.

Applications for Step into the Gap are now open

Author: CAFOD

CAFOD stands for the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development. We are an international development charity and the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. We stand beside people living in poverty – whatever their religion or culture. Through local church partners, we help people directly in their own communities, and campaign for global justice, so that everyone can reach their full potential. How to get involved with CAFOD None of our work is possible without you. Whether you donate, campaign, download prayers or volunteer we are grateful for your support.

21 thoughts on “Step into the Gap – first blog from Zimbabwe!”

  1. Hello, hope you are enjoying Zimbabwe. We are missing you at Holy Saviour- it is really cold over here, it looks lovely and warm over there. Could you tell us what your daily routine is? What sort of food are you eating? Do you have any time for any fun activities? Are there any similarities between there and home? What are the living conditions like there? Are you enjoying helping the children? Can’t wait to hear all about your adventures! Love from Year Six x

  2. Hello to all especially Leila, all in Good Shepherd parish thinking of you very much, look forward to hearing more soon, its getting very chilly here! Rachel

  3. Hello from Holy Saviour!
    Hope you are all ok! It’s lovely to see and hear about the things you are experiencing already! We are missing you already Leila and hope that you are having a brilliant time!
    We are expecting lots of snow in Nelson tomorrow so that will be quite a difference to the weather there for you!
    God Bless x

  4. We’re glad to see you’ve all arrived safe and sound. It looks like you’re settling in well with the locals and will be doing some great work. Love the photos and looking forward to the next blog post! 🙂

  5. So good to hear from you – great photos! Can’t wait to hear more about the partners, it sounds fascinating.

  6. Good to hear from you all and to see you looking so well in that lovely sunshine. Can’t wait to hear more about the programmes.
    Go well 🙂

  7. Wonderful! I love hearing the stories of the gappers.. seems like just five minutes ago (not 5 years!) that I was in the same position. Can’t wait to read more about your adventures and the important work the partners are doing. 😀

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