Seeing the impact in Zimbabwe
Jodie Sandford Oxfam supporter
17th Feb 2012
Jodie Sandford's a mum with two children who works in IT. She's also an Oxfam supporter, and she's agreed to fly to Zimbabwe and visit the charity's projects. Out there she'll be meeting people, asking questions - and reporting back in three guest blogs. Here's her third:
Today was a day of extremes. It began with a fantastic morning back at Oxfam's Ruti dam project I mentioned earlier. The water that's usedto feed the crops at Ruti - great as it is - isn't drinkable. So Oxfam have also put in boreholes to give the farmers and their families fresh, clean drinking water.
I saw the impact of this for myself when some children from the local primary school started to fill up their bottles with dirty water from the dam. Peter, one of the team running the project here, soon stepped in. Peter explained to the kids that water they can't see through contains germs that can make them sick. One little girl had filled her plastic bottle with the clean, clear water from the borehole, so Peter held it up and showed them all the difference in colour.
Peter then rewarded the little girl with an exercise book and pencil. And then, all the children ran off as fast as they could back to the borehole to fill up their bottles with the good stuff.
This afternoon by comparison was really tough. I visited a family with a 13-month-old son who is so malnourished he's only the size of an eight-month-old. He can't yet stand on his own. The family used to be able to eat three meals a day but the husband, who's a builder by trade, lost his job back in October.
The mum, who was orphaned when she was 10 years old, has no extended family to support her either. Last year, she was diagnosed as HIV positive. And, with the family's crops all failing due to lack of rainfall, they have nothing at all to fall back on. They're now down to just one simple meal of maize flour mix a day.
This was the saddest thing I've seen on the trip. The family is just about existing and in desperate need of help. It really brought home to me the importance of Oxfam's work to help people grow more food. It's vital.
So, this is it now as I'm starting the long journey home tomorrow. But I'm so glad I made the journey. I'm determined to remember everything I've seen and make changes to my own life when I get back to the UK. I want to teach my kids to be grateful for how much they've got, you know, and not always be hankering after the next big thing.
It's been a fantastic experience; at times really, really, challenging and at others, just amazing.