„I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills“

I am sure that most people know this quote. Even though I have not seen the movie „Out of Africa“ I feel today like somebody who lived back in this time at Karen Blixen´s place.

Before we go back to Germany tomorrow, we want to discover a little bit of the countryside of Zimbabwe. 100 km east of Harare is a wildlife conservancy, which was founded 70 years ago. Their Rhino Breeding Programme is world-renowned, helping to protect Zimbabwe’s heritage with the successful re-introduction of Rhinos back into the wild. The farm with its 45 square kilometres, the game drive and the beauty of the African bush is something really special.

All in all I can say that Zimbabwe is a fantastic place. For sure the country faces a lot of challenges. But the people here are outstandingly friendly. Just for their smiles it is worth to come back again. I will do this for sure.

I would like to say thank you to all supporters of our new PATRIZIA KinderHouse in Hopley, this counts also for our project partners, like „engineers without borders“, „Vision & Hope Foundation“ and „ZimRelief“, as well as for the school director Mr. Kazembe, his deputy Ms Makoni and the entire team of teachers and school administrators.

And of course I would like to thank all followers of this blog.

Stay tuned – or in Shona words: Tonana!

Andreas

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Please show me your drivers license, switch on your lights, set your right and left signal, show me your fire extinguisher and warning triangle: police controls are quite common on Zimbabweans roads.

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Outside Harare: A lot of countryside. Zimbabwe is areawise a bit bigger than Germany, but regarding population the country is only one fifth of Germany´s size.

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Zimbabwe is a country with outstanding rock formations.

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May I introduce: This is Nzou, 47, an elephant who thinks she’s a buffalo! Nzou, has lived in the game park since her parents were killed in the 1970s. Rangers put Nzou within the only large herd animal which the park had at the time – the buffalo. Nzou had become acclimatised to living with the buffalo and had even taken on some of the characteristics of the buffalo and lost some of her elephantine qualities. After several (unsuccessful) attempts to encourage Nzou to become part of the elephant herd, the ranger decided that her rightful place should be back with the buffalo. And there she has remained ever since.

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Kristina Egbers, Janine Egger and Mudhara Menke.

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Why do you need a watch when you have time?

Today, the new school building is officially handed over. According to the formal invitation, the opening ceremony starts at 11 am. But after only two days in Zimbabwe, I know that time schedules here are not set in stone. So we made sure to come to school with a delay of one hour – and even still we were the first official guests to arrive.

Shade and a light breeze ensure pleasant cooling in Zimbabwe, luckily the new school buildings are designed in such a way that between sections 1 and 2 there is covering. So thankfully the waiting time until the festivities begin, was easy to handle.

Opening ceremonies in Africa are known for the time they take. Everyone wants to say something to express hers or his gratefulness. Speeches are not only very many, but very many, many, many. Fortunately, the students had also prepared a lot, so that each speech was followed by an enjoyable dancing or singing performance.

I have to say that the legs and hips of the people in Hopley are made differently to European bodies. If you have ever watched the way Zimbabweans move you would never dare to go on a dance floor again.

What a moving day!

Andreas

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While waiting you can take a lot of photos and selfies.

 

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Zimbabwe has a very young population. Compared to Europeans with an average age of 43, Zimbabweans are much younger with an average age of 20. No wonder that teachers of the school named me in their local language Shona „Mudhara Menke“, which can be translated to „Old Man Menke“. However, for the children Andreas was to difficult to pronounce so they called me Mr. Monkey.

 

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Without architects and without builders there would be no school. A big Thank you to the team of Kristina Egbers (left) and Franziska Bilger (right). They really did a great job.

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The new well for the school is nearly finished – sponsored by our project partner ZimRelief.

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Definetly good partners: Godfrey Mungazi (Vison & Hope Foundation) and Christiane Bohr (ZimRelief).

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Celebrating gives you a thirst. If you like Szadza you will like the corn beer Chibuku.

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Even though it doesn’t look like it, this is the future of Hopley. Holes for the foundation have already been dug. In May 2018, after the rainy season is over plans will continue and construction of the third school building will begin.

ZIMply great sport

Classrooms and lessons were yesterday. Today is about much more. Shooting goals and throwing baskets. Competing with others and having fun together.

Since yesterday the students have been working on the field next to the school. They do not only collect litter from the field. They also cut down the bushes with big knives. Teachers draw lines with ash for the playing field. Goals for the coming football games are being set up, as well as baskets for netball. And it is just in time, the sports tournament starts with only a 90 minute delay in the „Hopley Dome“.

The first match, two all girls teams for Netball, later two female teacher teams. Before the first whistle was blown, the fans have already spread an atmosphere that is Champions league worthy. Supporters of both teams cheered, sung, clapped and danced as if there was no tomorrow. FC Liverpool fans from Anfield Road known for being the best supporters in the world, could easily learn a lot here at Hopleyfield.

For the football, two boys‘ teams played, first against each other, then later the teachers against the builders of the school. While the boys had a draw, the builders beat the teachers 4-0. But no matter who won or lost, at the end of the day everyone celebrated and was happy.

It was a ZIMply great day!

Andreas

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The new PATRIZIA KinderHouse shirts: in yellow, black, green and red – the colours of the national flag of ZIMbabwe.


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New shirts …


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… and nicely done hair …


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… make a great team.


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Ms Makoni shows full commitment.


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The Hopley-Dome.


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The Netball field is quite even …

 

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… as the football field is a bit rocky.


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Preparation for the match.


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Most of the students played barefoot.

 

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The new PATRIZIA KinderHouse is for Hopley standards a huge building which can be seen even from far away.


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Hip Hip Hooray – what a great day!

 

A Rising Star

„Simudzai mureza wedu weZimbabwe“ – with these words students of the Rising Star School begin their school day. At 7.30am all students gather in the schoolyard and sing together the national anthem of Zimbabwe. In total, more than 600 children from the Township attend the school today. To make this possible the classes are held in two shifts.

It all started in 2010 when the residents of Hopley founded the Rising Star School. At first, children were taught in the open-air. Later tents and mud huts served as classrooms. In a later stage basic classrooms were set up. But these school buildings which were completed in 2014 do not meet governmental requirements. They are far too small and too dark for the 50 students per class.

The newly built PATRIZIA KinderHouse sets different standards and is a real landmark property. Above all, the new building fulfills the legal standards so that in future the children of Hopley will be able to receive a state-recognized school diploma. One year ago, the first module of the new school building was completed with two classrooms, now in October 2017 the second module.

And it looks really great!

Andreas

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Singing the anthem in the schoolyard surrounded by the new and old classrooms.

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The new classrooms …

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… light, airy and spacious!

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Ms Makoni (left together with Hope) introduces us to the students who have lessons in the old classrooms.

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Singing makes everyone happy.

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Everyone wants to be in the picture …

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… and everyone wants to have look at the picture.

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Lining up – for lunch or so I thought …

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… but it was for new schoolbooks, sponsored by our project partner the „Vision & Hope Foundation“ and „ZimRelief“.

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Lunch time: Szadza makes every Zimbabwean smile.

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Szadza for everyone: builders, teachers, students and visitors. Everyday. And everywhere. You love it when you are born and raised in Zimbabwe …

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The best time of the schoolday: Enjoying the break between lessons.

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The very beginning of the Rising Star School in 2010. What a great development over the last seven years! You can feel the energy and the power of every school member who wants to make things better than ever.

New Hope for Hopley

Arrived. Finally. Zimbabwe is not exactly just around the corner. Fortunately Kristina Egbers and Franziska Bilger picked us up at the airport. They are based in Harare and work as architects for our project partner „engineers without borders“. Together with local builders they set up our new KinderHouse which will be used as a school for the children of the settlement Hopley.  After finishing the first new building of the „Rising Star School“ for 100 pupils last year, module 2 will now be officially handed over to the school to host a further more 100 students. As representatives of the PATRIZIA KinderHouse foundation Janine Egger and I have travelled to Harare to take part at the official opening ceremony.

We are more than excited about what is waiting for us here and are looking forward to getting to know the school and the students personally.

Andreas Menke

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Inspection at the airport immigration. For my gifts the custom service requests duty. At the beginning over 1,000 US-$ was to be charged. 

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After explaining who the foundation is and for whom the gifts are, the tax collector has reduced the amount to 140 $. Good that I have had the latest KinderHouse report with me.

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Our rental car is technically not really up-to-date. Starting the engine is always a nail-biting event. Luckily we find fast help on the roadside everywhere.

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Hopley is an „informel“ settlement on the outskirts of Harare. 

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Hopley was „founded“ in 2005. At that time the government forced more than 30,000 residents of Harare to leave their homes and settle on undeveloped land outside the capital.

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In recent years the population of Hopley has increased from 5,000 to 12,0000 inhabitants, still without having access to any infrastructure like electricity or a water supply.

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Downtown Hopley.

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Dusty roads make for thirsty travellers: Fanta-stic refreshment for Janine and me.

 

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Lister Makoni has lived in Hopley since the very beginning and is the co-founder and todays Deputy Principal of the Rising-Star-School.

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Dinner invite at Ms Makoni place. Her 15 year old daughter Evernice (what a great name for a woman!!!) prepared the national dish „Szadza“ (corn porridge). Janine and Franziska Bilger are hungry like lions.

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Kristina Egbers and I have a lot of fun on Ms Makoni’s couch.

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At 20.30pm all is very quiet on the settlement Hopley. Only one barber shop is open. However, we are looking forward to some sleep. Tomorrow we will visit the school. 7.30am start. Poor us!