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 couldnĂ­t 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 childrenĂ­s skin was shining and their tiny bodies had filled out with the nutritious diet they now enjoyed.