It’s less than two weeks since we left the UK, but it already feels like a lifetime ago. The past two weeks have been a non-stop introduction to life here: meeting people; visiting projects; figuring out how to drive, shop, cook and wash in this new land.
It has been an intensive couple of weeks as we only have a short amount of time before our host and guide Kevin Jones (who’s been here with BMS for three years) heads back to life in the UK. Kevin has done a brilliant job of introducing us to life here, whether it’s been seeing the projects or getting meat from the local butchers (which is called ‘Head and Hooves’, great name!). He heads back on Thursday and we’ll have to fend for ourselves.
We are enjoying our new home, which is a lovely two-bed thatched cottage – a perfect amount of space for us. We are getting used to the quirks of living here and are quickly learning to make the most of the electricty when it’s on (we’ve never been so organised with our washing before!). It really does feel like home already.
A week in, Joe had his first Zimbabwean birthday which was celebrated with a Braai (BBQ). It was a bit different to birthday BBQs in the UK. Firstly, it wasn’t raining and, secondly, it was in the dark. At this time of year the sun goes down at around 6pm and on Tuesday evenings we don’t have electricity, so candles and solar fairy lights were our only sources of light.
We hosted about a dozen people, most of whom we had met throughout the week with Kevin. It was a great way to get to know people better and Joe even received two birthday cakes. We have truly felt so welcomed here, it has been a real privilege and a huge answer to prayer. We’re still settling in, but we’re sure we’ll find a sense of belonging with the community here.
Joe opening a birthday present.
In terms of work, I can’t formally start until I have my work visa, but we have visited the school that I will be working at, King George VI (www.kinggeorge6.org), which is a school for the deaf and physically disabled. It was great to see it in person and meet some of the staff and pupils. We also went to the AGM last Wednesday, which was quite an insight into the difficulties that the school faces.
I will be the school’s only qualified therapist, but it does occassionally host students, and there is a student Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) from Belgium coming out in September for three months. The rehabilitation therapy staff seem well trained. They train broadly in SLT, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, so I will be learning so much from them. I am going into the school again tomorrow to discuss how things may look when I start in September (visa permitting).
There are several projects here that Joe will be able to get involved in, but we are taking it steady and trying to discern where our time can be most effectively spent – prayers appreciated. There is SO much going on here, it will be important not to just to jump straight in, but I’m sure he’ll update you soon on what he’s thinking.
I have my first language lesson tomorrow, so we’ll see how that goes. I also need to learn Zimbabwean Sign Language, which is very different from what I’ve done before. Prayer that I will pick up both languages quickly would be great.
So that’s a quick rundown of our first couple of weeks. We have definately seen and felt so many answers to prayers already, so thanks to those of you who have been praying.