Having been in Regina for two weeks, everything seems to be finally slipping into place. We have mostly spent the last two weeks organising our activities and meeting with the different groups of people that we will be working with throughout the placement, however we have also managed to start a few of our sessions and have completed our first set of home visits.
We mostly spent our first few days at our partner organisation DOMCPP (Diocese of Mutare Community Care Programme) office, working together with Mr. Richard to try to put together our work plan. We have decided that throughout the placement we will be working with a variety of people, running sessions with school children, out of school youths and women’s groups and then also continuing the previous groups work on improving the Early Childhood Development Centre (ECD), helping with cleaning the hospital and working in DOMCCP’s herbal garden.
Although we have been successful in organising most of our activities, our planning has not been without challenges. As it is school holiday time for the whole of April, we have faced some issues with schools organising a group of children for us to work with during the holidays. Some of the local schools have been cooperative and we have already begun our sessions with both Regina and Bumhira Primary schools; completing some really interesting sessions on child abuse and disease awareness. However, other schools such as Samanyika Primary and Regina High have posed to be more of a challenge and thereforewe will not bestarting our sessions there until after the 7th May when the schools return.
On a more positive note, we have been much more successful in organising women’s support groups to work with. Last Monday we held an introductory session which was well attended, there were so many women present who we decided to split into four different groups in order to make the groups into manageable size to work with. This means that with the additional group we already had in Bumhira, we will be working with five different groups. It is amazing to see how eager the women are to learn and how appreciative, even after just the one session, they are for the future sessions we will be running. On Wednesday this week we actually held our first session for one of these groups, with 26 women it was really well attended. We covered disease awareness talking to them about the seven killer diseases, malaria, cholera, breast cancer and cervical cancer, discussing the symptoms and treatments for each. The women all seemed to be grateful for all the information and keen to attend future sessions, this was great to witness as it highlighted how worthwhile the work that we are doing is.
We have also managed to organise a weekly session for a group of out of school youths. Eight boys attended the introductory session, but the group will have thirteen members, which will be good because any information we give them will be things that they might otherwise be unaware of.
Last Friday we did our first load of home visits. For the UK volunteers, Lauren and I, this was a really eye opening experience as it was the first time we have had an insight into how rural people actually live. After walking for the whole morning, we were given some traditional food at one of the homes. This was rather an interesting experience where we had yams (a purple, hairy potato like thing) and pumpkin. Even though it was not overly appetising, we all made sure that we tried everything!
This Friday, our week ended with a meeting with all of the important, influential local people where we presented our work plans explaining what we are intending to do and whom we are intending to work with. It was good to see that everyone seemed to be supportive and interested in what we will be doing and they were enthusiastic about seeing what we can achieve by the end of the placement.
Overall, I think our first few weeks have been successful, even though there have been some frustrating and challenging moments along the way, it will only get better from here. Everything is now organised and we are properly settled into life in Regina!
Blog compiled by UK Progressio ICS volunteer Kate Hamblin
Photo 1: Kate and Zimbabwean volunteer Tatenda with children at Regina Primary talking about disease awareness
Photo 2: Yam and Pumpkin served on a home visit