Category: Social Escapades

Acitivities and outings

There is no place like home…

I am sitting in the airport lounge, fighting back tears. I hate goodbyes…

Still can’t believe six months went by so fast.¬† I am now convinced that it is better to stay away from home than to go home and have to leave again. And this is coming from a self-confessed unsentimental (antonym of sentimental) person.

For a bit of background for the new readers (Welcome btwūüĎč): I traveled from Hong Kong to my motherland, Zimbabwe in July 2017 and stayed there for the past six months. The purpose of my trip home was to carry out fieldwork for the Ph.D. project I have been working on since 2016. So, after spending months at home with my mother, making new friends and spending time with old ones; I had to leave all of that behind and come back to Hong Kong.

Highlights of my time at home:

a) This might be surprising but I love my home country Zimbabwe so much. It was such an exciting time to be home when Robert Mugabe finally resigned from being President after 37 years in office. I am the least political person you will ever meet, but the month of November 2017 was a great time in Zimbabwean politics.

b) My sister came to visit me from Cape Town. My sister is my best friend, so you can just imagine how that week when she visited made me feel. I had last seen her in 2014 when I left Cape Town so this was a lovely reunion.

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c) I spent Christmas at home with my mother and it was an unforgettable time. Anyone who knows me knows that this woman is my rock, my everything. Since the passing of my dad last year, I cherish every moment I spend with her even more. She is more than a parent, she is a friend, a confidant… I run out of words to express how I feel.

d) I also celebrated the start of the¬†new year 2018 at home. New Year’s day is special because it also happens to be the day I was born, so spending it at home was something I will always cherish. I am a year older, hopefully, wiser.

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As I reflect back to my time in Zimbabwe, I feel that there will be no place like home. I can travel to many countries but home will always have a special place in my heart.

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Mvurwi is naturally beautiful

 

It has a different feel to it, full of childhood and teenage memories; full of hope and laughter. It makes me sad to know that I will not be going back until this Ph.D. is over…and that, my friends, is a long time from now. ¬†I hold on to the beautiful memories of the time spent at home. P.S: I have too many pictures from my time at home, they would need ten other blog posts. So, please don’t feel bad if I took a picture with you and it is not in this post.

I was greeted by warm weather when I arrived in Hong Kong, but it’s cold again because it’s winter here in Hong Kong.¬† Winter in Hong Kong is between December-February with average temperatures of between 16 ¬į and 20 ¬į Celsius. This is mild compared to other winters I have experienced. I am currently having trouble sleeping because my body still needs to adjust to the time difference.

On a positive note, I have lots to catch up on with my Hong Kong family of friends, lots of things to look forward to and lots of opportunities for new beginnings.

Let’s see how this year goes. I will surely update you guys ūüėČ

Currently Homesick,

GG

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A trip to Namibia…

This post is dedicated to my most recent escape to the Namibian desert.:) I decided to take a quick break from my stressful fieldwork and travel to Namibia for a week. I am grateful for the chance to go where I want to go when the mood strikes. I will be the first to say my life hasn’t always been this flexible and I do not take it for granted.

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At the airport

My plan was to go camel-riding and quad-biking in Swakopmund, and I got to do just that. The experience was surreal. I still haven’t found the right words to describe how I felt riding atop the majestic animal known as the camel. I was scared at times, thinking at any moment, the animal could just take off running with me. Thank God, they are well-trained and did not take off running.

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The camel was posing better than me, they are wonderful beasts.

The quad-biking was just pure adrenaline. As we went up and down the sand dunes,¬†it felt like I was flying. Nothing I have experienced so far can compare to that (trust me, I have been bungy-jumping and it still doesn’t compare).

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I also got to spend some priceless moments with old friends and some new friends I met in Namibia during my trip.

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You can see from my smile that it was happy days…

 

I went there drained, close to research burn-out, and I came back rejuvenated. ¬†The most important moments for me were the moments of quiet, where I was alone with my thoughts and facing the beauty of God’s work. The sea and the expanse of the desert, stretching to God-knows-where, did wonders for my soul. You just need to experience it for yourself, because words will not suffice.

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Smiling from the inside…

My life has been amazing so far. I have experienced exhilarating pleasure in different places and I know there will be more after this. I am the kind of person that lives for moments like these. My life is far from perfect, but give me a new destination and some free time, and I am ALIVE. ¬†What traveling to a new destination does for me can only be compared to the feeling of a child opening a new toy. ¬†I don’t even need people to validate my experience or be with me in that moment. Leave me on an island, or desert¬†(after this experience) and I am all good.

Do travel when you get the chance. It’s amazing.

I am back to reality now, in Zimbabwe continuing work on my project. But, I came back with a new energy and it is because I dared to take a few days off.  And trust me when I say everything else can wait. Your mental and spiritual health is important.

If you want to know more about the places I visited in Namibia (restaurants and the like), drop me a message. It is a lovely place to visit and the people are so friendly. Transport is easily available and the locals try to converse in English with visitors. You will not feel lost in Namibia.

Till next time,

GG

LIVING IN BEITBRIDGE…

Welcome to the newest chapter of my life…LIFE IN BEITBRIDGE!!!

As I blog I am sitting in a room that is sweltering with heat. A massive 40 degrees of hot weather…that is how I have been welcomed to Beitbridge town. My crazy life has led me into yet another exciting journey, from the cold and wet Cork City in Ireland to the extreme opposite dry and hot weather in Beitbridge, Zimbabwe. As I am going to be here for some time, I thought I would share this journey with my readers.

Beitbridge interests me for a number of reasons. I am here for work and will be exploring the rural areas of Beitbridge conducting much needed developmental work. Rewind to November 2015, a month after my arrival to Zimbabwe, I got a job as a Social Anthropologist at a research institute in Harare. This, in a nutshell, means I conduct social research and engage in social dialogue with communities as well as engaging in the rich culture and lives of people in their lived environments. I will be working on a project that supports mopane worm (madora) harvesters to improve their livelihoods. I am recently learning that there are populations living in conditions of food insecurity in Zombabwe’s dryest parts, particularly because there is no rain this year compared to other years. Mopane-Worm-Salad-Slide

That is actually a madora salad…who knew??? You learn new things every day.

These populations rely on mopane worms (madora, amacimbi) as their main food and income source. I am curious to know what else can be done with mopane worms and I am happy to say I have tasted them, I have touched a live mopane worm too!!!

If I say this work excites me, I am grossly understating how my new job makes me feel. I am grateful to God for the opportunity and the grace to be able to do what I love in my own country.

So welcome to my life in Beitbridge where I will be for a few months before I move on to other interesting projects. I am with a group of colleagues, which is just about it in terms of who I know in these parts. Living in Matebeleland South means getting exposed to new languages, the majority of people speak Venda, I heard a sprinkling of Sotho and Ndebele. Someone said some people speak Shangaan. ¬†Shona and English are being used but not in the villages where I spend most of my days. This means I have to learn Venda fast!!! I am living in Beitbridge town, which I was quite impressed to see is quite developed now. There are hotels, ¬†casinos , a shopping centre with most facilities including banks and supermarkets. Another plus is that Beitbridge is the border town between South Africa and Zimbabwe. If I could cross to South Africa, it is just less than 20km away to Musina. Sigh…

COLD WATER  has become a very important commodity. This place is HOT but I am staying hydrated. Dressing around the villages needs to be conservative as this is a conservative community, so goodbye to shorts and minis. I will be posting pictures of my new wardrobe which includes ankle length skirts, long sleeved tops (no cleavage) and definitely a sun hat. This is definitely new because everyone who knows me knows I love my shorts.  In Beitbridge town though, where I am currently reside, I can wear jeans and normal tops.

I hope to update my blog often so you can join me on this journey. I actually think I need to blog to stay sane as well as writing is my escape. I am taking lots of pictures and will probably do a vlog so that I show you the environment I am working in, especially the villages. I have already been introduced to the Venda culture of greeting the Village Headman whom I have met and engaged with a few times. See image below that illustrates how Venda women greet traditional leadership

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Image from https://underwaterheritage.files.wordpress.com to illustrate how village leadership is greeted by women. I did this myself, pity I could not take a pic because the Headman was present.

Do follow my journey and feel free to engage with me at any point if you have questions, advice for life in Beitbridge and anything else.

Love from GG…

 

 

When life gives you lemons…

The past few days or maybe weeks have been the craziest of my life. Maybe I have had crazier days but these past few weeks stand out because I have had a lot of time on my hands to reflect upon them. I will not go into the long story of how I ended up having a few weird weeks that leave me wishing I could run away from my own  life or maybe exchange with someone who is having a better time. I choose to focus on the lessons I have learnt from the crazy experiences I have been having which I will list below:

Crazy experience 1: Leaving Ireland and adjusting to life in Zimbabwe
Life lesson: what doesn’t kill me will make me stronger. Zimbabwe is my home and although I am yet to understand the hustling lifestyle that everyone seems to know so much about; I did not die in the first weeks of being back home. Zesa does its own thing and I have learnt to live with it. People wonder who moves back from Europe to Zimbabwe, well I just did and I am still here. It’s really not as bad as everyone makes it sound. Having my family close to me is a bonus.

Crazy experience 2: Identifying and letting go of some fake friends
Life lesson: Not everyone who smiles at you or spends time with you when all is well is going to be around when the storm comes. I have reduced my friend count and some don’t even know what hit them. One of my “friends” when I lamented about feeling as if no one had my back said they never knew me to be the kind of person who depends on other people. Well, guess I’m human after all!!! I just realised having people who always take from me (energy, time, anything really) and never give anything back is quite draining. I have no time for excess baggage in my life and those who no longer served a purpose or who weren’t building or enriching me, simply had to go. This also goes for ex-lovers who hang around but serve absolutely no purpose. NO MORE!!!

Crazy experience 3: Getting stuck in Dar es Saalam, Tanzania
This is right at the top of my crazy experiences and I sincerely hope I will laugh about it one day. Just not now. As I blog I am in Tanzania and my business here was put on hold because of unforeseen circumstances  and the fact that the country is busy with general elections. Seriously this is not the time to be in a foreign country and trying to distract them from the business of voting. I thought of abandoning the mission but maybe there is is something to be learnt here so I am still holding on.
Life lesson: quitting is for losers. 

Busy making lemonade to mix with some vodka…Got to make good use of these lemons being thrown at me. Or maybe…

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How i feel sometimes...
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My week in London!!

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At Picadilly Circus…it was freezing and raining but that did not stop me from exploring…

A big thank you to my hosts and family in London. Words cannot explain the time I had. I decided a pictorial will do the trick as I would need a whole book to describe how I felt about this trip. I thank God for the opportunity to step into the land of my former colonizers, the United Kingdom. ¬†Just had to see it for myself…So as the saying goes…I came, ¬†I saw, I conquered. In Latin “veni, vidi, vici”. I have a feeling I will be back soon. More pics on my IG @jusgee_gee

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Always have time for a selfie…I went into a restaurant to get away from the cold for a bit before continuing my tour
Streets in Central London are busy…
I changed my honeymoon destination...The Savoy hotel it is now #dearfuturehubby
I changed my honeymoon destination…The Savoy hotel it is now #dearfuturehubby
Highlight of my trip, had sadza at the Zimbabwe House (embassy of Zimbabwe in London)...best sadza iv had in years. Only Fridays after six, they also play Zim music..it felt like home...
Highlight of my trip, had sadza at the Zimbabwe House (embassy of Zimbabwe in London)…best sadza iv had in years. Only Fridays after six, they also play Zim music..it felt like home…
View of London from the London Eye...must see.
View of London from the London Eye…must see.
A lil bit of crazy..on the London Eye
A lil bit of crazy..on the London Eye
London Eye at night...
London Eye at night…

Week 5…Remember your purpose!!!

This week’s blog will sound really different from the last one. It has now been five weeks since I came to Cork and I am happy to say the adjustment is getting smoother. I am getting closer to calling this place my second home. In fact I found myself saying to my sister the other day “I am in town I will call you when I get home”…In the first week it was just an apartment or where I live. I was not thinking of it as home but I am glad that is changing.

I attended an event last weekend in Dublin (about 250 km from Cork city). This was an event organised by my sponsor Irish Aid in order for all the Irish Aid recipients to meet and get to know each other. So I got to meet all the other intelligent young adults scattered across the country who are also postgraduate students from different countries. All in all we are four Zimbabweans in Ireland on this programme and that alone makes me proud to be one of them. I was also comforted by the fact that we are all going through the same experiences in the different towns and cities we are coming from.

So this was a good networking opportunity but for me this was not all it was. This was also of utmost importance, a reminder of why I am here in the first place. I was reminded of why I am going through all this to begin with: the adjustment, the homesickness, the experience of being a minority and the sleepless nights. All of this is because I am here to do something and it will all be worth it in the end. One of the most inspiring speakers was a lady from Uganda by the name of Beatrice Mugambe. She was a 2013 fellow and just finished her year Masters. She was proud of her thesis which for me symbolised the end result which we are all here to attain. She is now a qualified sociologist, critical analyst and social activist and she was proud of all these achievements. This is why we are here and that light at the end of the tunnel, that outcome is the reason why it is all worth it. So my focus is clear and even though some speakers also emphasised the importance of having fun and embracing the experience, I was most moved by the tangible end result of my time here. So in one year I will be Getrude, the social policy analyst critical thinker.

The pictures from last weekend tell a story of their own… more pictures on instagram @jusgee_gee.¬†

Until next time…Stay blessed and remember your purpose!!

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Irish Aid, my sponsors!!!They totally rock...they are dong a lot of work in Zimbabwe which I hope to get involved in after this
Irish Aid, my sponsors!!!They totally rock…they are doing a lot of work in Zimbabwe which I hope to get involved in after this
With Zainab from Sierra Leone, MA Sustainable Development
With Zainab from Sierra Leone, MA Sustainable Development
Bewley's Hotel...i mean my sponsors are quite generous I will not complain
Bewley’s Hotel…first class treatment I am always grateful for

Women’s Day!!!

I was invited to the Church Of the Good Shepherd in Kirstenbosch Cape Town last Sunday. I was meant to give a talk in line with Women’s Day that was on 09/08/2013 and the work that I do with female street children was relevant.

Women’s day is a day that commemorates the national march of women on 09/08/1956 to petition against legislation that restricted the movement of African women. It is the day that South Africa remembers and pays homage to the women of this nation who fought against apartheid. The strength of women and girls who become women is an important theme in society. The Good Shepherd Church-Protea also holds a history as it was the people of the Protea Village¬†worshipped¬†until they were displaced by the Group Areas Act of 1950. Here I was standing on historic ground and being part of South African history. This was an extraordinary moment.

Having the opportunity to speak about the work that I do at Ons Plek Projects for girls was an honour. Some of the congregation are the original Proteas, there was an amazing woman aged 90. I felt young but proud to be in the presence of old age which for me means fountain of knowledge. I spoke about how the girls at Ons Plek are given hope, love and basic needs of every child such as accommodation, education and a chance to be reunified with their families(www.onsplek.org.za). Being a social worker there for the past two years has afforded me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of girls who need guidance and love in their lives and ensuring they become able,independent women in society, inspite of their traumatic backgrounds.

The congregation at the Church of the Good Shepherd was very welcoming and warm. The whole experience was like a trip to visit my grandmother…heartwarming!!! I was happy to give information to those who had no idea what goes on in the streets of Cape Town. Sometimes our lives are so comfortable that we forget there are those who are less fortunate than ourselves. I was happy that the church set aside a whole month to compassion ministry which allows them to hear and see where they can be of help in society. This is the work of God.

 I thank Good Shepherd Church for inviting me to come and speak on behalf of Ons Plek. I am grateful for the ladies who prayed for me to have strength in the work that I do(I needed this), for the girls to have a bright future and all the blessings they deserve. I was touched on a personal level because I realised only God can give the strength to cope in difficult circumstances, only God can give the strength to go on.

 I need more of these excursions where I get to mix with different groups of people and we unite for one common goal which is to make a difference in society.