Christmas has come early to the Community Project children of Antelope Park. Celebrations have been held at 6 of our different Community Projects. All of the children and staff were overjoyed by the kindness, gifts and love that they have received. A major highlight was Father Christmas personally handing out the gifts and being with the children for photographs and to share in the Christmas cheer. Not only did Antelope Park’s volunteers and staff give presents to the children at the different projects, but they also put together donations of much needed items such as groceries, stationery, blankets, toiletries, first aid equipment and alike to name a few. Gratitude was expressed throughout the day in the form of words, applause, dancing, singing and plenty of hugs. The Christmas spirit was in full display and contagious to the endth degree.
Here following are updates from our Community Project staff members as well as our Community Projects intern from Columbia detailing their recollection of the Celebrations:
Ratidzai Mutagadira, Zimbabwe, (Orphans and Teaching Co-ordinator) – Mkoba 4 Primary School Christmas Party
“Mkoba 4 Primary school consists of a special needs class where the children overcome the obstacles they face with regards to educational learning. We spend half the day with these children. They began by telling us about their exams that they have recently completed. We then went on to sing Christmas carols where each student sang a different song in remembrance of the birth of Christ. From there, we went on to serve an array of delicious food which consisted of crisps, candy, biscuits, a cake and juice. We shared this amongst all of the children. They all loved it and were grateful that we spent time with them for Christmas.”
Staben Porovha, Zimbabwe, (ALERT Education Centre Teacher) – Hopeful Life Christmas Party
“What an amazing day it was for Hopeful Life pre-schoolers. Christmas certainly came early for them. To begin, the children enjoyed photo opportunities with Santa as he handed over the wrapped presents with the aid of the volunteers. Following this, the children helped themselves to some treats as the volunteers served them juice, crisps and cake, to mention a few. Antelope Park staff and volunteers had to join the kids on the dance floor as they displayed their dance moves to the sound of ‘Ruby, Ruby’. After this everyone had to pose for a group photo. They were smiling all the way, a sign that the kids were enjoying their time with us, and the day was rewarding and well spent.”
Staben Porovha, Zimbabwe, (ALERT Education Centre Teacher) – Midlands Children’s Hope Centre Christmas Party
“Celebration time with the boys at the orphanage is an opportunity never to be missed. The absence of electricity did not dampen the Christmas spirit at all. Our volunteers joined the boys in making artistic Christmas decorations. While some were busy with paper and glue, others were experiencing the African way of preparing meals, preparing chicken stew on fire. Chicken, rice, pasta, salad and juice were served for lunch. Then the boys patiently waited for their presents and a photo with Santa. After snack time we posed for a group photo before our eco-tourists joined some of the boys on the dancefloor to be taught some new moves. We enjoyed ourselves as we were instrumental in putting a smile on the faces of our lovely friends ‘the boys from MCHC!"
Laura Rodriguez, Colombia, Intern – Drop In Centre Christmas Party
“Collaborating with the Drop In Centre for the last months has been one of the amazing experience I have had. I have learned that big impact comes from little actions. MCHC and the community team at Antelope Park are making a significant and positive impact in the lives of the street children in Zimbabwe by giving them a place where they are welcome, safe and comfortable, showing them that they are important members of the society and that they too deserve good things. The Centre is representative of the fact that it doesn’t matter about your place of birth, at the end we are all the same and we all deserve the same opportunities. Getting to know the kids of the Drop In has been good. I’ve got to enjoy and laugh with the great humor of Wellington, to sing and read with Blessed, to exchange Spanish vs. Shona lessons with Prince, to share the love for photography with Lloyd – or as he likes “camera man” – and many more things. The Christmas party was an accummulation of a beautiful process where we had the opportunity to celebrate as a family and in my case, to thank the kids for giving me the chance to be part of their lives over the last few months. I wish the very best for all the kids, and Drop In. I will never forget them and for sure, I will have to come back some day.”
Ratidzai Mutagadira, Zimbabwe, Orphans and Teaching Co-ordinator – Mudavanhu School for the Disabled Christmas Party
“Mudavanhu children who are mentally challenged had a wonderful day with us. We spent the day with the children who were smartly dressed in preparation for us, their visitors. There was lots of music and dancing and cheering and a merry mood all around. The children enjoyed the goodies that we had brought them which included fruits, crisps, candy and lots of juice and cakes. Above all the children loved their nicely wrapped present which they could not wait to open. It was one fantastic day seeing all the children smiling and enjoying their early Christmas presents.”
Memory Chaibva, Zimbabwe, Medical Co-ordinator – Midlands Children’s Home (Rosedale) Christmas Party
“We went to Rosedale for the kids Christmas party and they didn’t have any idea that it was a party for them. It was to be a surprise! We arrived at 10.15am and the kids were very confused when they saw a greater contigent of staff than usual climb out of the car, particularly as we descended with food and presents. When we announced that it was a Christmas party they all screamed! I have never seen them so happy! They started to play drums and dance while we were doing decorations and setting the tables. We sang Merry Christmas for them and soon after that we served a light meal. This included cake, bananas, snacks, juice, biscuits and sweets. The children thoroughly enjoyed the party! They were smiling and I think that was one of their best days for this year, which is what some of the kids said.”