Monday, 17 October 2011

Teaching in Zimbabwe

In August, as part of my sabbatical, I was able to spend three weeks in Zimbabwe.  My main task while I was there was to teach Bible to a group at the training centre linked to Kuwadazana Presbyterian Church.  That was particularly interesting for me as Kuwadzana has long had a link with a United Reformed Church, though not in Eastern Synod.  The link is with Westborough URC in Guildford where my father was, at one time, the minister.  The training centre was dreamed up by Jonnah Masaka, then and still now, the minister there together with my Dad, so it was just a little disconcerting to be teaching with his photograph beaming down at me every day.  A class, that was supposed to be capped at 15, but actually varied between 18 and 23 (or thereabouts) explored with me the books of Jonah and Revelation.  We spent three mornings on Jonah and nine on Revelation and had a fascinating time, exploring a wide range of questions which emerged from the themes of those books.  The lectures were translated from English into Shona and the questions in the other direction.  Language was a barrier, but not nearly as big a barrier as I thought it might be.  The training centre was a great context for me.  It includes classrooms, accommodation, a kitchen and dining facility as well being a pre-school and a school.  There is a computer room and a library.  Kuwadazana is a high density township, some distance from the centre of Harare, not somewhere to go off wandering around, which gave me a great excuse to spend chunks of the afternoons reading and relaxing – and, of course, enjoying the hot sun.

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