In Gweru, close to our Antelope Park project in Zimbabwe, there are between 60 and 70 homeless children who live on the streets. Twice a week, they are visited by community volunteers at the Drop-in Centre. These visits are always an enjoyable, yet emotional experience for the visitors. Here is what three recent volunteers from Norway thought about their time with the children:
‘On my first day at the Drop-in Centre, we shopped for food and made lunch for the street kids. We let them use our cameras to take pictures; it was fun. We painted each other’s nails with nail varnish and coloured in pictures.’ Tina
‘We went to the Drop-in Centre where we met some of the boys, before going into town to shop for food. We made chicken, rice and some salad for 30 street kids (aged from 13 – 19 years old) and played with them. It was fun. I can’t wait to go back.’ Susan
“We went to the Drop-in Centre and met the boys. We also went shopping for food and prepared it for them. We sat down with the street kids and talked to them and played with them. The days we went to the Centre are the two best days in the week on the community projects program. And you really feel like you are doing something good.’ Karoline
Meanwhile, visitors to Mkoba Polyclinic in Gweru had an equally rewarding experience.
Antelope Park’s Volunteer Trainee Coordinator Mercy had this to say about a recent day spent at Mkoba Poly Clinic with community project volunteers:
‘We arrived around 9am and Mkoba Poly staff gave us a warm welcome. I took the volunteers around the clinic for a tour. For some of them, this was their first time visiting the clinic which proved to be a great experience. We spent the rest of the day helping out where needed; this included various tasks from assisting in the kitchen and offices, to observation in the clinical areas. It was a wonderful day with Mkoba Poly’s friendly staff.’
One of the volunteers, Kirsty from New Zealand, was pleased to be able to help the busy Clinic staff in their work. She said: ‘I had the opportunity to work at Mkoba Polyclinic, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was able to work hands-on alongside the team of friendly nurses with tasks such as taking measurements, weights and temperatures for those who were in need. It was a busy clinic, but I left satisfied knowing that I helped even if it was in the smallest way. The night shift was an unforgettable one too. There is nothing more special than helping bring a life into this world and introducing a mother to parenthood.’
Community volunteers were also recently involved in assisting Mkoba Polyclinic staff during a two week medical outreach program for local schoolchildren.
In all, the team visited four primary schools and 17 preschools, assessing and treating around 2,000 children aged from under 12 months up to 10 years. This outreach proved to be invaluable, as some of these children would not otherwise have had the opportunity to receive the necessary treatment.
It was a very tiring, but satisfying day for the volunteers, who walked a distance of around one kilometre between the various schools. In some places, the schools offered the team food, which was much appreciated by all. There was a good spirit of team work amongst the volunteers, coordinators and nurses. Well done volunteers; this was a great job!