Local volunteer Raymond Tafadswa Muzundo writes:
After having spent their first weekend at Regina Coeli mission the UK volunteers now had a broad picture of the mission but were still anxious to get involved in the community. However, as it is said, failing to plan is to plan to fail.
The first Monday of the placement was devoted to planning and preparation; so the whole team of volunteers converged at the DOMCCP offices to plan the activities of the placement. As the planning progressed, it was mentioned that we would be walking to most of the places where we would be doing our work. This left Hillary with a puzzled face and others could be seen doubting considering the unfriendly, strength sucking heat. I assured the volunteers that the furthest school we were to visit was just 4 km away, and if it was too hot we would confine our activities to areas close to the mission.
The planning went on well starting with a recap of the previous group’s activities. Though the group was to continue with some of the sustainable activities the last group began, fresh ideas started to roll in, with Joy being enthusiastic with drama and poetry. The group decided to use it as an avenue addressing a number of issues like gender violence, HIV/AIDS, child abuse, issues to do with environment amongst others.
The day of our first session arrived I remember one of the volunteers asked, “Are we walking?”
I assured them that Bumhira primary school was just around the corner; which was then proved after just 25 minutes of walking. As soon as we arrived the headmaster welcomed us and we then shared the program outline which he said,
“Was a blessing, in particular child abuse, as it was problem in the community surrounding the school.”
As he was escorting us to the venue where we would have the session, we found the pupils. The running around, peeping through the windows and waving of hands showed how much they were happy to see us. The session was on HIV and AIDS though they knew quite a lot about the disease they seemed to believe a few myths, of which they had never got clear explanation of, for example the false belief of mosquitos spreading the virus. As the TeachAIDS video progressed they all glued their eyes to the screen and after the video we asked relevant questions which they answered perfectly.
We took a day off to finalise schedules with Regina primary and to share knowledge on the topics we are to do in school; we divided ourselves into pairs of a national and an international volunteer and allocated a topic to each pair to work on.
Charity begins at home, but for this week it ended at home with our final session at Regina primary where we ran a recap session. It was breathtaking as we asked what they remembered and they showed that they did grasp everything that the last group taught them. Without wasting time we then questioned if they liked drama. The response was overwhelming, thus we laid the foundation of a drama club, though not officially as we simply took down names of those interested.
The use of herbal medicine is gathering pace in Zimbabwe and as DOMCCP is an expert in Anamed, volunteers took some time to visit the flourishing herbal garden to learn more about the process, then they spent some time around the hospital, having an appreciation of how a typical rural hospital in Zimbabwe functions. Later on the volunteers retired to their humble cabin gearing themselves for the weekend.
By Raymond Tafadswa Muzundo, a local Progressio ICS volunteer in Zimbabwe with the partner organisation DOMCCP (Diocese of Mutare Community Care Programme)
Photo: Bumhira Primary School Children