Bridgety Mapurisa’s thoughts on her visit to the UK (2005)

As we sat to reflect on our visit to the UK, we both could not say whether it was a business trip, or a holiday adventure. Indeed it had both components. We worked. We enjoyed! Thanks to the generosity of all our hosts. In fact, the whole trip was well organised that every next host family was like the previous one. We were thoroughly entertained.

This was my first time to experience real English environment. I expected serious cultural shock. Little did I know that people are people, wherever you go. Astonishment had shared with me about how good the Friends were. But I had no idea of the context all together. The trip turned out to be an exceptional holiday for both of us. It was one of those rare visits where we experienced the culture, and shared in it through staying with the people.

Every family expected us. They had made all the preparations to host us. THEY WERE ALL VERY WELCOMING! At Saltash, and Ringwood, we had the rare opportunity of visiting the beach. I had never been to the sea. I had never thought one-day l could paddle in the sea. Now I got the courage, I can even swim!!

My husband had never rested in his childcare career. Always busy. No time to break, and sometimes, no time for the children and me. This visit drew us together. WE both enjoyed every step. We strolled, we saw the British countryside, and we walked in town, courtesy of our hosts. We were able to go shopping. Our Friends sacrificed their family resources to make us happy. It was a buy schedule, but it was equally exciting.  This was one trip we will leave to remember. Our family resources are meagre, that we cannot afford a holiday. Thank God we just had one, courtesy of the Friends.

The least I can say is that the trip was well organized, we enjoyed it and that we successfully fulfilled the schedule. We benefited a lot. Astonishment is happy as there are more resources coming to help in his work. There is a lot of progress taking place at MRCH. We found our children happy and expectant. They enjoyed the presents we brought. Thanks to the Friends, we had enough stationary for all the home’s children. Paddy and Jenny made sure that we had a present for each of them. The children will also never regret being left for so long.

Astonishment Mapurisa’s thoughts from his visit to the UK (2005)

This was my second trip, but one with a difference. I found it to be a blessing as Bridgety and I needed time-out after many years of transitional hard work at the MRCH. The Friend’s decision to invite me to the UK together with my wife will always be remembered. The trip was hectic as the itinerary was congested, but it went on very well because I was not ‘home-sick’. With Bridgety on my side, we were determined to stay longer.

We had prepared a documentary on the MRCH, showing most of the current developments: from the new housing units, the clinic and the Community Based Orphan Care Scheme. The trip took us to over twenty-two different and well-chosen destinations, including five NCH projects and addresses to church services. All our hosts were excellent and exceptionally hospitable. This is without exaggeration! Every step of our visit was enriching socially, spiritually and professionally. Bridgety and I remember all our hosts with great love.

We enjoyed the opportunity of showing the video, and our audiences received it with great excitement and enthusiasm. I also enjoyed visiting so many new destinations. We are sure it made positive impact on creating new partnerships and friendships. Bridgety and I also felt great relief realizing that there were so many Friends who were committed to champion our course in the UK. The care and concern that our hosts showed us was very therapeutic. We feel encouraged even today.

Visits to the NCH projects were also very essential. It was reinvigorating to see models of best practices. I am in the process of revisiting my vision and enhancing project write-ups having been inspired by these visits. Our stay with the Withingtons, the Banhams and subsequent meetings with the Bromleys gave us wonderful professional and moral support. I cherish their experiences and enjoy their support.

All those strolls we took in the countryside and in towns, we still remember and cherish them. We pray for all the Friends who sacrificed their family resources to make us happy. Indeed, we came back refreshed. Paddy and Jenny can testify that indeed Bridgety and I paddled in the sea. Ruth and Bob gave us sea-side experience too. Next time we swim! God less you all.