What made me come back

Posted on 7th September 2015 by magdalena in Allgemein

Ich freute mich sehr über die Frage, ob ich bereit dazu bin einen kurzen Bericht darüber zu schreiben, warum ich nach zwei Jahren wieder zurück nach Zimbabwe gekommen bin. Für mich ist ganz klar, dass ich dieses Land einfach liebe! In seiner ganzen Schönheit, aber auch mit all den Schwierigkeiten. Ich habe folgenden Text in Englisch geschrieben und dabei hab ich in keinem Wort das Projekt erwähnt. Das hab ich ganz bewusst getan. Denn für mich stehen meine Freunde, die Kultur und die Abenteuer die ich wieder erleben darf im Vordergrund meines Aufenhalts. Ich sehe es immer noch als Geschenk an, dass „fließendes Wasser in Mutoko“ mit großen Schritten dem Ziel entgegen kommt.

Aber nun zu meinen Gedanken:

What made me come back to Zimbabwe

Before I start talking about why I came back to Zimbabwe I want to introduce myself. My name is Magdalena Kärle (21 years) and I live in Austria, which is a small country in the midst Europe. After my A-levels I decided to do a volunteer year overseas and I applied for the Jesuit volunteer program in Germany. As they accept me I started doing some preparations and after that I was allowed to approach a new adventure called: ZIMBABWE.

8.000 km away from home, I found myself at the Makumbi Mission in Zimbabwe, which is led by Jesuits. The Mission itself has many projects, like an orphanage, an herbal garden, a parish office, a visitation Highschool, a primary school including a pre-school and the ruvarashe trust, which teaches people with disabilities to sue clothes and repair shoes. Moreover there is the “Wadzanai-Centre” which is working as a woman empowerment organization.

During my voluntary year I worked in the Mission as a pre-school teacher in the morning and in the afternoon I used to visit the Ruvarashe Trust and to the orphanage. Within that year I learned the local language- which is Shona- and I would say that I became quite familiar with the culture. All this happened in the year 2012/2013, so I was just 19 years old. During the weekends I enjoyed visiting families and friends in the villages around the Mission. Basically I just got to know the families by walking around.

One of the most memorable things about this time was the Zimbabwean hospitality. I loved that and it still fascinates me. If you walk around as a foreigner it will not take long until some children are following you and keep on asking you questions. Even for supper you can be invited and that is in the most cases the beginning of a good friendship. Maybe that is already one of the reasons why I came back to Zimbabwe: the hospitality and the way people are just welcoming you. Myself I felt like being at home even if my family was back in Austria.

The second reason is friendship. When I left Austria I had a hard time leaving my friends behind. But it did not take long until I got to know people of my age. I was really exciting to share stories with them and to talk about our different lives. I really became close to young adults but also to families with many children. As children are always playing and keep on chatting it was easy for me to click with them. Therefore I also got to know their language, local games they play and so on. I just loved the open way in which the Zimbabweans welcomed me and lead me to their culture.

As I mentioned before I learned a lot about the native culture. I guess that finally is the real reason why I came back. I love the humble way the Zimbabweans live. If they have a visitor or a friend they just give them everything they have. But what else I learned is, that you are not just like a friend but more like a family member, you have duties and it is expected that you do whatever you can. I was taught a lot and even if my friends have been serious teachers we enjoyed our time. I benefited a lot from it. I now know how to cook Sadza the stepper food in Zimbabwe. I can carry a baby on my back and lifting a bucket with water onto my head is no problem anymore. It might sounds a bit strange but I also got to know how to talk properly. Shona and German -my mother tongue – are two totally different languages and it is not about the language itself, it is all about the way of using the language. It is so different that at the time I came back to Austria it was even hard for me to have a normal conversation. The biggest difference between Shona and German is probably the respect, which is carrying through in Shona.

Since I was asked to write a short article, I have to stop now. Now in the year 2015 I am back for a seven-week long visit. I wanted to come back to meet my friends, to get energy and to experience this culture one more time in order to feel strong again when I go back to Austria- to a different world.

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