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One month volunteer at Mutoku Hospital and visit Harare and Lake Kariba near Victoria Falls.

Dictatorship, poverty, freedom

To understand this country, you need to take a small step back in history. Zimbabwe from 1898 to 1979 was a wealthy British colony, known as the name of Rhodesia. In 1980 the country was declared independence (it was among the last to obtain it) thanks to the victory in the elections of the ZANU party led by Robert Mugabe, who from that moment never left his post as President until the 2017 coup d'état. established he opposed dissidents and civil rights with violence and implemented policies that led Zimbabwe to a great humanitarian and financial crisis. First, the intervention in the war in the Congo caused the loss of economic aid and high costs; then the tightening of land reform, which took 70% of land from whites to give it to inexperienced hands without the right passage, destroyed the strong primary sector and made Zimbabwe unable to self-satisfy food needs.

In 2011, during my trip, hatred towards whites was still strong: the military often arrived at the hospital to instill fear and other white doctors in the country were killed in that year. Poverty and hunger caused deaths every day and many walked on the road to Mozambique hoping to survive and find a better country.

Rimini for Mutoku - Luisa Guidotti Hospital

I was lucky enough to have this incredible volunteering experience thanks to Rimini for Mutoku: we were a group of 6 guys who left to bring the funds raised and give our support for a month in the daily activities between the orphanage, the hospital , the "gardens", the pharmacy, the school and the church. In 2011 Dr. Marilena Pesaresi was still alive who dedicated her life to this place and she lived here for 50 years; with her since 2005 the dentist Massimo Migani who today runs the center. Here people spread joy regardless of everything. Patients came from nearby village huts and family members camped outside the hospital. Many children had malformations, were malnourished and most had HIV but here they played and hoped. For us Europeans, the water had to be boiled (but coca cola had arrived), the main food was polenta eaten with the hands, light and running water were out of the question and for a shower it was necessary to heat the water in the sun in special bags . We all need to make a month like this and understand again the priorities and wastes of our world.

🏥 Luisa Guidotti Hospital

Leper hospital of Mutemwa

Mutemwa means outcast in Shona, the local language. This is a leprosy treatment center that houses sick people who are marginalized by society. Mutemwa sees around 50 residents, 1000 outpatients a year and supports the homeless and indigent. The center is working towards self-sufficiency through agriculture, livestock and a shop. Famous was its director John Bradburne. World War II hero, during the 1979 civil war he refused to leave the colony and was assassinated at the age of 58; today we celebrate his birth on June 14th. Even today over 7 million people are affected by leprosy worldwide. They suffer severe prejudice and discrimination, a life of abuse, isolation and shame, due to popular beliefs and lack of information. Leprosy is treatable, but many don't know it. In Mutemwa this is possible and leprosy is not scary, it is a place pervaded by great humanity and harmony. Near the leper colony there is a mountain, a round rock, to be climbed up to the cross placed at the top to see the panorama and stop and think.

🏥 Lebbrosario Mutemwa

The Capital Harare

Harare is a busy capital, with vans, shops and lots of people on the move. There are not many monuments to see.

Among the things that struck me the most, there is the center that treats women affected by HIV: here almost all of them have lost their limbs due to the disease but they didn't give up and weave beautiful beaded key rings using only their feet . An example of incredible fortitude.

Safaris and animals in their ideal ecosystem

Zimbabwe has the colors of Africa: red earth, sparse trees, giraffes grazing on the horizon, green expanses by the water, incredible sunsets and strong smells you learn not to do without. Here you can find animals in the wild everywhere, it's a country that has recently opened up to tourism (when I went in 2011 it wasn't at all) and the animals live in the area without barriers or fears. It is easy to come across elephants or hippos cooling off in the water; however, you have to be very careful and not get close or make yourself heard because they could get scared and attack.

In Zimbabwe you can also admire the beautiful baobabs, whose fruit looks like a green and oval coconut and is used in various ways: from superfood, hair oil, anti-inflammatory for the intestine to a musical instrument. Africans tell us to be careful of the baobabs and not to fall asleep under this big tree, because it is often inhabited by a very dangerous black snake..and here in Africa the giant ants, spiders and other insects are enough to not sleep peacefully.

Finally, the starry sky is something wonderful, it almost seems to be able to touch the stars as they shine and you can see the constellations of the southern hemisphere.

Lake Kariba

Lake Kariba is an artificial basin of 280km, born thanks to the dam built between the 50s and 60s on the Zambezi river. The dam serves Zimbabwe and neighboring Zambia to generate electricity and allows the people of the area to irrigate and fish. Its banks are inhabited by local fishermen who sit on small stools in the water waiting for the right moment and by beautiful animals and birds such as hippos, crocodiles, elephants, lions and eagles.

Victoria Waterfalls

These waterfalls are a UNESCO heritage site and one of the seven wonders of the natural world. The Zambezi River pours with unheard-of power and leaps from around 90-108 metres, creating an aqueous mist that rises over 1600 meters and can be seen from a distance of 40km.

It is a very touristic destination, but travel must be well organized: although close to many African countries, the stop at the waterfalls could be very expensive.

🎫 Entrance 18 euro - how to reach (foto dal sitoweb)

Buon viaggio!



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