Our class had finally arrived in Africa! After months of planning and anticipating, we were here. I quickly dashed over to where my fellow classmates were cheerfully greeting the many children who crowded around us. We were at the first of many stops: New Start Children’s Home located in Harare, Zimbabwe. Though we were slightly tired and bedraggled, we didn’t let it stop us from making new friends with the adorable kids who simply wanted to spend time with us—and our phones. The weekend was filled with playing with the orphans, music, and teaching Sabbath School.
We left New Start with a tinge of sadness, but as we got on the bus we realized many new adventures and the making of many cherished memories were ahead.
Following New Start, we traveled to Queen Elizabeth Adventist Children’s Home (QUEACH) located in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. This orphanage, which is in the city, was quite a contrast to New Start’s country atmosphere. Most of the children were in school for the day. Therefore, our day was spent building, painting, playing with the little babies, and washing and ironing laundry. The class had raised $2,000 towards a building project at QUEACH, which would allow them to keep the orphans longer, and have more years to influence them for the Lord. Leaving this orphanage was a lot more heart wrenching because all around we saw children with even greater needs than the children we had just spent the past weekend with. We ended the day feeling helpless but at the same time realizing how this opportunity to show Christ’s love, even for one day, made a difference in the lives of the kids and the staff.
In the week that followed, we spent valuable time as a class visiting Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park (Botswana), going to a local market, tasting local foods—experiencing the culture together! Our trip came to a close at Riverside Farms in Zambia. Our last four days were spent building two one-day churches, teaching at the elementary school, helping in the medical clinic, and working in Riverside’s banana fields. With rosy cheeks and bright smiles we came back together each evening after a long day of work to share our experiences. Those in the clinic also got the special privilege of learning how to give shots to people and some were able to observe cataract surgeries at the Lusaka Eye Clinic, about an hour away.
With mixed emotions we left for home after ten days in Africa. We not only grew a great deal closer as a class, but we also had our own personal experiences, which grew our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Seeing fellow believers on the other side of the world worshipping God with us was an unforgettable experience, and the adventures and memories we made will be carried with us forever.
Jo-Ann L. & Kami M.