Today we donated our white boards, school supplies and face paint to the Alert Centre.
This centre is a free service to all grade 6 students to teach them about their environment and surroundings in a practical setting. They do six weeks of theory about animals flora and fauna, then get to interact with the lions and elephants and go into the bush and learn it all first-hand.
This is a huge undertaking for the staff at antelope park who operate out of one classroom block, with very little resources. Their success rate is incredibly high and an achievement in its self.
We raised enough money to donate 18 white boards to enhance their learning, as well as some face paint to have a little fun with. They children had just learnt about tracking animals and their spore markings. So our students took the time to draw their favourite animals spore on their faces. This was a great activity for all involved. We finished the day off by painting their entrance hall to welcome all the children and guests. The saying on the wall we chose is in Shona (the local language), translated means “we welcome you with open arms.” The staff at the Alert centre were very grateful for the donation.
Giving — verb: to give
To give is to receive. By giving not only do you impact another’s life, you gain a emotion and connection that will surely stay with you for the rest of your life. This rewarding action can be provided in a number of ways, whether it be emotional or physical. Also, to give is to understand another’s suffering and react in order to aid and help relieve this person or persons of that suffering. Not only does giving improve the lives of those assisted, it thoroughly enriches the life of the person aiding another. This selfless action is the essence of EDGE Zimbabwe.
M – Making others lives better (and in turn our own)
A – Amazement (that comes from experiencing how other people live and finally knowing what true, utter, genuine gratefulness and happiness is)
D – Don’t want to leave (but also I miss my mommy)
I – Impressed (by the commitment of the teachers and volunteers)
S – Sunrise horse round up (being able to ride horses and work with them in Africa)
O – Obvious pride (in our teams accomplishments and the accomplishments of Antelope Park)
N – Non-stop fun (no matter where we go or what we do)
R- Realizing how lucky we are
B-Beautiful sun sets
A-Appreciation of our quality of life
R-Remembering the kindness of the people
A- Amazing experience
From painting an amazing mural on the wall of a preschool to the humbling experience of visiting a disabled school, this trip has exceeded my expectations. Every day we do something different. This place never fails to amaze me. I love the community and energy of the people who live here. They make the work we do seem more like play rather than work.
Over the course of this past week, I have more paint on my body that I will probably ever have in my entire life, given high-fives to about 100 school children, eaten so much delicious food and have gained the experience and realization of how much a country filled with amazing people can completely change my ways of thinking.
I will miss the way the children run after the bus as we drive down the streets, the way women with buckets on their heads and babies on their backs wave with massive grins on their faces and the genuine niceness we receive from the staff of antelope park and the people of Zimbabwe. This trip is difficult to encapsulate in words but is rather an experience that I will keep with me forever.
As I gazed out the window of the team mini bus, my eyes lit up like fire when I first saw my first glimpse of the lions in Antelope Park.
I could write many upon many paragraphs on the wildlife, such as the lions, that Antelope Park has to offer. Instead, I’m writing on what this amazing park defines itself as to me as well as the team.
My first impression of Antelope Park was that this is one of the best wildlife and research parks in Africa. Being here for five days now, that impression has not only stayed the same, but has enhanced my opinions even more — whether it be the outstanding food for every meal or playing soccer with the workers and some locals. It is difficult to put this place in one definition because it exceeds many aspects of this journey. Antelope Park is the place you go to experience African wildlife and culture, but because of the happiness and spirit of the people it enhances your journey to so much more.
E-Enriched culture experience
R-Rare experiences (horse therapy with the disadvantaged children)
H – humbling (this entire experience)
A – admirable (the children at the disabled school)
N – non-stop smiles (from us,staff&the children)
N – new experiences (everyday)
A – astonishment (towards our achievements)
H – heart warming welcomes (from antelope park)
S – sad goodbyes (along with see-you-agains)
M – milkshakes (too many)
I – infinite memories (to be kept forever)
T – time elapsed (so quickly)
H – horse therapy (amazing experience)
M – Miracles can happen
A – A single heart that can be the cause.
D – Dreams come a little closer to being a reality.
I – I can become we.
S – So take my hand, and together;
O – On the path to change
N – No one is left behind.EDGE is something that happens when a group of people whom have hearts filled with compassion and courage, heads filled with hope come together to work towards a cause for the aid of their fellow kind. And after experiencing it nothing has ever felt so magical and life changing.
J- joining hands with the children
E- establishing lifelong connections
S- singing national anthems, Canadian and African
S- seeing the faces of the children as they proudly- and repetitively- beat us at soccer
I- impact made not only by our contributions to the communities, but also by their welcoming open arms and excitement to help and get to know us
C- creativity portrayed by the entire team towards painting classrooms and teaching young students
A- admiration towards everyone we have met here, for their passion and dedication towards everything they do
A – art (the hours spent bonding and transforming white walls into colorful masterpieces)
N – nemfaro (“with happiness” in Shona, the way I have felt when taking on any new project or experience)
I – involvement (everything from horse therapy to building fences)
K – kindness (what comes from everyone I have met and every smile and wave when driving down the street)
A – attitude (the refreshing positivity, creativity and willingness to always help that comes from the team)
I never want to leave Africa, and more specifically, Zimbabwe. The people here have made me happier than I’ve ever been in my life. Lately, Ive been catching myself thinking about how easy my life is compared to the people here and in other parts of the world, but somehow how so many of us aren’t happy with our lives.
Now, simple things like driving to and from Antelope Park make me smile more than I have before. I am definitely so much happier now than I was before, and I didn’t even realize what I was missing. Every encounter with the locals has been enchanting. We are always greeted with smiles, big waves and warm hugs from the smallest toddlers to oldest seniors. I almost always have a child hanging of my arm or touching my hair wherever I go.
I always thought Canadians were friendly, until I met Zimbabweans. They are so incredibly warm.
The past few days have been filled with service and it has definitely been my favourite part of the trip. We have painted at least four murals at different places, and at least 30 children’s faces — not including our own.
I have struggled a little this week with some of the standards people have to live in. Not because I feel sorry for them, but more so that I have often been ungrateful for small advantages in my life that I have always taken for advantage. If there is anything I have learned from this trip is that family and friendship are far more important than any materialistic things I could ask for.
The other day we spent time with the sweetest kids at a school for special needs. Many of the kids lived at the school, and although they weren’t born with what is viewed as the “ideal”, they were the most heart-warming and kind children I have ever come to know. We have also spent time with kids at their schools, and even very small preschoolers that sang- mostly belted- their prayers and songs before lunch.
I can’t begin to wrap my head around the fact that we are leaving in only a few days, but I am confident that because of this trip I have changed for the better and I hope that I have impacted something or someone in the same way while here. I will always hold Zimbabwe close to my heart and I hope to one day see the country and perhaps volunteer here again.
Africa is the second largest continent both in the area and population. Unfortunately it is also the poorest. However, in many ways it is the richest.
It contains more natural resources than other continent but yet is often mismanaged and not operated to its full potential. It is also very rich in its own unique culture. Its music, dances, foods and arts are all very incredible and its people are some of the nicest I have ever met. The various beautiful landscapes and millions of amazing animals that can be found here are the another half of why it is such a beautiful place. In conclusion Africa is a land beauty and a land of development, it faces a wide range of problems but contains the most amazing landscapes, arts, animals and people in the world.
There is a certain look people get when they talk about something that they love. This is my favorite interaction to have with people, unadulterated passion. Yet as all teenagers do, we wait desperately to be looked at like this, we hope to be the reason someone is so full of love. This EDGE team came into this trip craving this, and it is safe to say we have all come out both giving this look and having it returned to us.
It makes me incredibly proud to say this about the 16 people I have been living and working with for three weeks. The amount of raw passion that has been exchanged in between us and anyone we have come in contact with has given me a happiness I never knew existed. Yet as I reveled in this communal accomplishment out of nowhere, something ruined it. It sunk in that it has taken me 17 years to figure out love is the most readily available resource we have in this world.
Like a spoiled child who will not accept the best of treasures, I hated that I had not capitalized on the power of love. I have been waiting so long for it to be focused on me I was blind to the fact how much others wanted or needed it. Now with hundreds of memories, thousands of smiles, and a million looks given we are at the end of our trip, and oh so in love. With the kids who gave us their whole hearts and took ours humbly, the animals that wow’ed the thoughts out of our heads, the land that has given us a new home, but most importantly we learned there is a love out there for all of us. Even if it took traveling thousands of miles and years to use love to its full potential, we are the EDGE Zimbabwe team that did it. We are the ones who found out the secret to love is giving it to others first.