Welsh students’ take on Zimbabwe

Brydie Parkes

Brydie Parkes

Three weeks ago, Love Zimbabwe, a charity organisation invited six students from the University of Wales for a cultural exchange programme. They were taken to Chinhoyi Caves, the State House, Domboshava caves, Mbare, Lake Chivero, Kutama College and Chinhamora where they stayed.

As they were leaving Zimbabwe for Wales, they said they had had quite an experience and some wished they could have stayed just a little bit longer. As usual we give it to you in their own words:

We enjoyed a lot in Zimbabwe, we went to Chinhoyi Caves and saw the caves, they were amazing. We also participated in community outreach work in Chinhamora village. The people are friendly here in Zimbabwe and as a result, it is not that hard to make new friends. From a university point of view, this place is educational because it has helped us in our research. The culture and tradition is totally different from ours, but we enjoyed a lot and as we go back to our country, we are actually going to tell others about how amazing the country is.

Oliver Parker

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I have had an amazing, life changing experience that I will never forget from the moment I got off the plane. Everyone has been so kind and welcoming. This is my first time in Africa and I really did love Zimbabwe. I enjoyed the work that we have been doing and I know that this is just the beginning of my work in terms of charity. I cannot wait to get back here and raise money for the people of Chinhamora and continue to change their lives. I know I will come back as soon as I can. It has been amazing to be around people who are so joyful and full of energy. I have learnt so much about the Zimbabwean culture, I have found it incredibly interesting and hope to be able to use some of the information in my future studies as I am studying Anthropology. I have really enjoyed learning how to create animals from wire, how to carve stones and how to create beads as well, it is good to learn these new things. I will miss my African family so much, I don’t want to go.

Lucinda Walker. 19

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The experience has been amazing. In communities where we travelled during our stay here, I discovered that people share everything they have. Back at home in Wales, there is nothing like that, people might share but not in the way they do here. I remember at Chinhamora village, one woman did my hair and that was fun, the way they do it is amazing. This has been an adventure for me. Since culture also involves language, I have embarked on teaching the locals how to speak the Welsh language and they have also taught me a little bit of Shona and that was amazing. Africa, particularly Zimbabwe, has taught me a lesson and the lesson is that working together as a team can actually CHANGE LIVES. As I am going back to my country, I think I will be a different person because of all the pure kindness and heartfelt stories, I will treasure them forever.

Jessica Tannahill

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Today we will be leaving Zimbabwe for the wet Wales. I simply do not want to leave because these past 3 weeks have been amazing and I felt lucky to be part of such an amazing team. It feels like I have stayed here longer than three weeks, simply because of the people. I enjoyed a lot, we went to the State House this other day and we saw different ministers. Domboshava caves was my favourite because we have studied about the Khoi Khoi and the Sun. The people of Zimbabwe are some of the warmest, most giving people I have met. Every house and school that we have visited has offered us food, refreshments and smiles. Zimbabwean hospitality is something I will truly and forever miss and as well as my new extended family. I could write an endless list of all the things I am thankful for during our trip. I want to thank Dave, Taurai, Tafy, Elijah, Lucinda, Pretty, Catherine, Sam, Tony, Gogo, Tawanda and Kuda for supporting us. As well as a special thank you to Tatenda for being my Zimbabwean newly found daughter.

Eurgain “Eggie” Gwilym 19.

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The Chinhamora Community Centre has made all of us feel so welcome and at home in the Domboshava village. I will forever cherish the friendly people and what an amazing and beautiful place Zimbabwe is. I am certain that I will never travel to a place that will make me feel as part of a family as much as Chinhamora has. I have met some amazing people in Domboshava and Chinhamora. I have met amazing people that will remain life-long friends, those with inspiring stories will always continue to remind me to take the best out of life. We have been on some amazing adventures together and Love Zimbabwe have made things possible for us that ordinary tourists would not be able to do. We have been able to experience the real Zimbabwean culture and that is something we will try our best to resonate back home in Wales. Love Zimbabwe Charity and the members of the Chinhamora Community Centre will always have a special place in my heart.

Shannon Hemmings-Faye, 19.

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This is my first time out of the UK and Zimbabwe has created high expectations for my future travelling. I have made so many friends here that I know I will keep in touch with and visit again in years to come. As sad as I am that I am leaving Zimbabwe, I could have stayed another month. However, I am excited to return to tell people about this great, lovely place. I am going to miss Chinhamora.

Brydie Parkes, 19

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