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Tag Archive | "Africa"

The Post travels to Zimbabwe


Esther Couturier at the orphanage in Zimbabwe.

Esther Couturier at the orphanage in Zimbabwe.

By Esther Couturier

This summer a life long dream recently turned into reality for me when I was able to travel to Zimbabwe, Africa. Since I was 12, God has been cultivating a desire in me to someday live in Zimbabwe. I have continued to believe that despite my circumstances, and of not knowing how it would happen, that one day God would provide a way for me to travel to Zimbabwe.

God orchestrated this through my meeting a young man, in my church, who was visiting from Zimbabwe last summer. He invited me to stay with his family. I was able to travel to Zimbabwe on May 31 and stayed for eight weeks! It was the best eight weeks of my life, so far.

While I was there, I took the Post on many adventures, from reading to children in an orphanage, decorating cupcakes with foster children, helping feed the elderly and visiting a Government Hospital. We also visited Gonarezhou National Park, where we saw hippos and rhinos. At a game reserve we rode elephants and petted a lion. We also experienced Jackal hunting, hiking Victoria Falls, and white water rafting on the Zambezi. We also toured a butchery and shopped at the flea markets.

My favorite part of the trip was staying on a farm. Besides enjoying the absolute beauty of the place, I also enjoyed vaccinating mombes (the word for cows in Shona—Zimbabwe’s native language), riding motorbikes, and teaching at the school. I helped teach math to eight-year-old children and English to 14-year olds. I also climbed gomos (mountainous terrain), and I talked with many of the employees, who helped teach me Shona.

Everyone I met along the way was exceptionally nice. The families I stayed with are very relational and enjoy talking over tea and rusks. I really loved just listening to everyone’s stories. Some tell of just the hardships in the past, others tell of hope for restoration, while most tell of both. There are so many different aspects and cultures in Zimbabwe. Life is different there. Even though there are power outages daily, lack of variety in food and supplies, potholes galore along with insane driving, and a corrupt government, I loved every bit of it!

God answers prayers and He fulfills His promises. He is a God who has a plan for everyone’s life, because He formed us and loves us. I know without a doubt I will return to Zimbabwe. The vision God has placed in my heart is not yet fully fulfilled.

Thank you to everyone who supported me, prayed for me and encouraged me. I hope to continue to share this journey.

I was not able to, or had forgotten take photos with the Post everywhere I went, but it was in my back pack everywhere I traveled.

Thanks, Esther, for taking us with you on your adventure!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

 

 

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Cedar Springs is taking steps to build schools in Uganda


African childA local non-profit organization is gearing up for a fundraising event that will help build schools in communities in Africa that need it.
To: Africa From: U.S. (TAFU), founded by Cedar Springs High School science teacher Mary Fournier, has built a dorm, computer lab, a well, and a water tank since its inception in 2009. It has also provided text books and school supplies for schools and mattresses and medical supplies for medical clinics. The next thing TAFU aims to do is build a school building with three functional classrooms for a school in desperate need of them.
“The school that needs it has over 150 students and just 2 classrooms that are not much bigger than a dorm room,” explained Fournier. “The school is for children ages 3-8. It is one of the only schools in the area that does not turn away students with special needs. They have built temporary classrooms from branches and tarps. These rooms are even smaller than a dorm room and they fit about 30 children each with no desks.”
Fournier said they only need $10,000 more to build a school building (it costs $14,000) and they hope to raise it February 1-14 with their Miles to Uganda challenge. Some students, as well as some staff will be making the effort to cover the distance between Cedar Springs and Uganda, 7582.4 miles. Participants will be finding people to sponsor them and then covering as much distance as they can, anyway they can—running, walking, sledding, shopping etc.
At the High School, Fournier said students are getting involved in different ways. Every t-shirt bought raises $5 for the cause. The girls basketball program will be donating money through the miles it covers on the court at their Feb.8 home game to the cause. “This will total more than 200 miles on that night alone,” she noted.
On Feb. 11, following the home basketball games against Coopersville, there will be a dance at the school where some of the proceeds will go to the cause as well. Each hour that someone dances counts as 3 miles. “Cedar students could easily cover over 500 miles at this dance in only a few hours,” said Fournier.
Fournier said she thinks it’s powerful for our students in Cedar Springs to know that their peers half-way around the globe are fighting for a chance at education while we often take it for granted here.
“We, as Cedar Springs, have an opportunity to reach out and make a world of difference to a few hundred children in Africa,” remarked Fournier. “I will watch them build this building this summer as I travel there. The mark I would love to leave there is a big Red Hawk on the side of the school knowing that the great people of Cedar Springs cared enough to make this happen.”
The public can also become involved. To find out more or to register for the hour-long challenge to be held at a local Greenville fitness club on February 5, check out their website at http://2africafromus.com/agenda.html.

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