GWAVA, Masvingo, Zimbabwe

In June 1999, I finally visited the project in the Masvingo region of Gwava that had benefited from my parents' legacy. I travelled with The Art of Travel, a company that provides individual travelling itineraries and stayed at the Bondolfi Mission. I took with me eight suitcases containing wool, knitting needles, children's clothes and toys.

I visited the village of Gwava and was so pleased to see the borehole and hear how the fresh water was benefiting the community. But as I was shown round the village by the head man Mr Gwava, I was saddened to see a garden growing only a small quantity of stunted vegetables. Nearby was a tank that had been constructed at the same time as the borehole but there was no means to fill it.

I simply couldnít leave things like this, so I contacted an irrigation centre, bought a pump, pipes, taps and hoses and returned to the village with a technician. Pipes were installed leading from the borehole to a tap near the vegetable garden, and the tank was filled.

When I returned to Gwava in November 1999, they had trebled the size of the tank and planted rows of rigari, a vegetable crop. They were able to sell the crops to fund schooling for all the children, who left at 4.30am for the two-hour walk to the Bondolfi Mission each day.

My third visit to Gwava in October 2000 filled me with joy. The area was lush with fields of crops, the childrenís skin was shining and their tiny bodies had filled out with the nutritious diet they now enjoyed.