Today (Saturday) was our second full day in Zimbabwe, and we again started the day off with an amazing breakfast with an even better view. We then traveled to the Harare Children’s Home to play with the children there. I made a new friend named Anaesu. He is a small and cute 3 year old boy. During our time at the Children’s Home, I played with him, helped feed him, and made him laugh. When we had to leave, I hugged him and he began to cry. I felt amazing but also terrible on the inside. I could tell that I impacted a children’s life, but I also left him so soon after spending a day with him that really touched his life.
After going to the orphanage, we went to the Wild is Life animal sanctuary. We saw cheetahs, fed giraffes, talked with elephants, and even engaged with lions. These animals had all been injured or has had some other event prevent them from living in the wild. The sanctuary provided the animals with a place to live that was very close to their natural habitat.
We left the house at around 9:00 and took the bus to the children’s home, the largest orphanage in Harare. As we got off the bus the kids ran up to us to play. It seemed as though we all got attached to one or two children and played with them for our time at the children’s home. Some of us were given tours of the interiors of the orphanage’s buildings. After the tour and after seeing how they live we played with them for hours. We ran around and engaged in different activities like soccer, basketball, dancing, and singing. We then gave the children paper and crayons and they drew beautiful picture. One boy drew a picture of Jonas and Alex, and then another girl wrote Manny a letter saying how much she will miss her and that she loves her and “had the best day ever”. Many of us were extremely emotional leaving the children. It was an experience we will remember for the rest of our lives. After finishing at the children’s home, we went to a wild life sanctuary, which had exotic rescued animals such as lions, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, and many more. The sanctuary was beautiful and most of the animals roamed freely, except for the dangerous ones, like the lions and cheetahs. The most memorable part of our visit to the wild life sanctuary was probably feeding the giraffes branches. Another memorable memory was when Jonas put his phone in the lions cage to video and the lion jolted at him. We left the sanctuary in very good moods, and then went to get dinner at Nando’s. We then came home for a night swim and took time to reflect on the happenings of the day.
– Jonas and Manny
Here’s a note from Trip Leader Hailey London about our trip to the Harare Children’s Home:
“This morning, I tried to subtly brace the group before we traveled to the Harare Children’s Home, reminding them to allow themselves to feel whatever emotion may come up. They truly blew me away with their emotional maturity, ability to engage and the way the opened their hearts instantly to these children. Within seconds each Ross child had a small child in their arms, which stayed full all morning as child after child sought some affection. They made me prouder than I could imagine and exceeded any wish I could imagine”