Just over a month ago we sat discussing where we would go to for a last-minute holiday. Mexico was the number one choice and I flirted with the idea of spending a whole month in Greece…but I then I thought it would be a lovely idea for my husband to surprise his Gran in Zimbabwe. I met her 11 years ago when she visited England but hadn’t seen her since then and Jon hasn’t visited in 7 years so it was time we made the trip together.
We booked our flights the week before but unfortunately there are currently no direct flights from London to Zimbabwe so the journey was quite long and tiring. When we eventually arrived it was to the warmest welcome with family members dancing and singing as we left the airport; a welcome that set the tone for the rest of the trip.
In harare I was taken straight to the tailors where I browsed books of various Ankara styles, a traditional African dress, and was fitted for my very own to take home. We spent a few days in Harare before visiting the village, spending time with family and recovering from jet lag.
Harare felt like England, only twenty years ago – a bustling city full of hope and aspiration and while poverty is still present, the majority we saw were hungry for entrepreneurship. We stayed in quite large homes with swimming pools, a stark contrast to village life.
This photo shows Jon as we enter his Grandmother’s farm in Murewa, a township 75 kilometres North East of Harare. She didn’t know we were coming so it was a huge surprise!
The farm was beautiful with far more amenities than I expected including television and hot water, quite different to a lot of the village homes. Although many of them do use solar panels to charge their phones!
It is typical for wealthy families in Zimbabwe to have a maid which was strange at first but I made friends with them and loved observing how they cook over a hot fire, which I tried one afternoon. It was Winter in Zimbabwe but still very hot and I managed to cook four dishes over this boiling hot fire – an experience I’ll never forget.
What I didn’t expect from this trip is so many people, adults and children, greeting me with such kindness – I’ve never had so many random people approach me with genuine happiness.
I was the first white person many of the village children had seen so their bewilderment and curiosity of my skin and hair was magical.
One afternoon we sat enjoying a lovely lunch at the village house of an Aunty, she said that she had so many people who wanted to come see a white person up close. One child came in wearing a tuxedo, specially dressed smart to meet me. This melted my heart and a memory I’ll hold close forever.
As we visited family I got stuck in and and embraced village life. How could I not?
Meet Billy, we bought him as a gift for Ambuya (Gran) for her to keep on the farm. Sunset over the farm.
I loved how natural life is in Zimbabwe with fruit trees of banana, mango, lemon and avocado.
Zimbabwe was a life experience that opened my eyes to a different, more fulfilling way to live. The simplicity of village life in Africa taught me to slow down, to live naturally and to be incredibly thankful. I am very much looking forward to our next trip!