Day 11. African bunk beds.

This was the moment of truth. Had we just wasted $200 of hard earned (and then donated) funds on a piece of scrap metal that wouldn’t look out of place in a modern art exhibition or had we just spent wisely in getting the first of many beds for a group of deserving orphaned children?

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This is what a prototype steel framed triple bunkbed looks like. All from a design I made on a scrap of paper with a dodgy pencil.
I’m glad to say it was the latter. Still at the prototype stage, we are really happy with how they look so far. A few tweaks here and there and an extra rod of steel that we’d not supplied yesterday, and we’ll be away. This is the first of a batch of 6 (to sleep 18 in total) but the children still have no idea about them at all! We can’t wait to see their faces when they are able to get into their own bed for the first, and up until now the only, time. We’ll try to get a video of that moment so that you can all share in it.

Donate now to get involved. Every little helps.

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I inspect their handy work.
Today we also met with all the trustee’s of Tariro and we went through our huge list that I wrote about in day 7. All were warmly welcomed and it was nice to see that many of our ideas were very different to their own as we’d looked at the building with fresh eyes and a fresh approach. We all agreed that the day out that we have planned for the children (on Saturday) was a great idea. Giving them, for the first time ever, a choice in what they can wear, what they can eat and even buying them for themselves for the first ever time seemed like such an obvious thing to do to us, but fully understand that the volunteer team at the orphanage have been concerned more in where the next meal is coming from. We also agreed to fund training for the house mother. A matron will come in for one week and work with her, taking care of the children, teaching her how to do it properly, get the children to make their beds (when they finally have one), tidy up, help with the washing. You know, usual stuff that parents make their kids do to make sure they understand how to take care of themselves as much as she will learn how to take care of them too.

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The kids love selfie time. They love to see their faces on the screen!
We paid a visit to see the kids again today and its like every day they are getting brighter and happier to see us, running to the gates to meet us. We’d not been able to get the sweets that we’d promised yesterday, but they didn’t care, they were just happy to see us. We are gradually building more and more of a rapport with the older children too, as they come to realise that we are here for while and we are going to help. I’m sure after they see their new beds and wear their new clothes and eat whatever food they like and know its down to all of our donors out there, then we will be like one of the family.401157ae-76ba-4a45-8555-303bafb84a0f
Today the little boy who offered me his toy car on the first day, Ngonidzashe, followed me around the house for the entire time that we were there. He asked to be picked up half a dozen times and loved to be tickled. When I say loved it, I cannot imagine anything else that he could possibly like more! Normally when I have a young child in my arms and I’m trying to make them laugh, I pretend, for a tiny split second, to drop them and then stop them from falling instantly. Or I hold onto their waist and bend them back so they are almost touching the floor with their hands whilst still having their legs round my stomach. This always gets a great reaction. Until today that is. I’m not sure what has gone on in Ngonidzashe’s life before today, but the slightest move to put him down, or do any of my normally amazingly funny (to a 2 year old) move’s only resulted in him moaning for me to stop. It’s a deep moan that is instantly recognisable and I can only imagine that he hasn’t had the best of lives before coming to the orphanage. 

I don’t want to imagine it, but unfortunately I can.
When he finally allowed me to put him down, we all played chase and they took turns to be tickled by me. Normally its Nicole doing the playing as I talk to someone or other about the children’s needs, or do measurements, or look at the facilities and take notes, but today they seemed to really get me involved too. I’d been welcomed into the close nit family that had already included Nicole since the day we arrived. That was a great feeling, even if it did mean that I was covered in snot for a while. 🙂

We did have a ton of photos from today, but for whatever reason some of them went missing when we went to look for them on Nicole’s phone, so the ones included are the only surviving ones…

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Waving us good bye. We’ll be back tomorrow!
And with that, we were on our way with a promise to return tomorrow with paint to give their living room some life for the first time ever. We’ll try to see if we can be done in one day, and we’ll be up at 6am to try and put that into practice. We’ll be sure to take tons of photos of the before and after so that you can see for yourselves too. If you want to help, please donate here.

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Author: OurManInZimbabwe

Travelling to Zimbabwe with money raised over the last 16months and hoping to make a difference.

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