A short report from the Head teacher following Astonishment’s visit.
The visit seemed to go very well. Saturday evening we had about 45 people at our house for a get together and buffet supper. This proved to be particularly good because some of our young people who visited Zimbabwe in 1999 and went to Matthew Rusike were able to relive their experiences chatting to Astonishment. Although they had not met him before a rapport rapidly developed.
At Sunday morning’s service we arranged a question and answer session with Astonishment and he spoke very movingly, touching a lot of people. We then had a church picnic where Astonishment and Bridgety paddled in the sea for the first time. In the evening there was an open-air service and again Astonishment spoke powerfully. (Some Zimbabweans living in the area turned up to listen!)
On Monday morning Astonishment and Bridgety visited an NCH run “Sure Start” scheme in Plymouth which gave them lots of ideas.
Altogether it was a great experience for all at Saltash.
We shall be glad to hear of any ideas to help further with practical support. We all enjoyed Astonishment and Bridgety’s visit and were moved by what they said at the evening held in the Principal’s House at Harris Manchester College. There were many interesting and probing questions which Astonishment answered skilfully and honestly. I hope the whole visit went well and you were pleased with the responses. The Zimbabwe situation does not improve. What a disaster.
We are delighted that Astonishment and Bridgety’s visit was so successful. It certainly was here in Orpington. Our minister came to a meal with us in the evening so that he could discuss the Sunday morning service with Astonishment. The parade service was buzzing and a great opportunity for him to ask Astonishment lots of questions. Afterwards so many people were asking how they could help. As you know we are already supporting MRCH at our Harvest project but wonderful news – an anonymous donor has very generously offered to match whatever we raise.
At Sunday lunchtime we held a lunch at our house and over 20 people came which gave a good opportunity for Aston and Bridgety to tell more of what they are doing.
Actually for us it was a humbling experience knowing just how very hard they both work to look after children and staff in their care, and we will try really hard to raise a good amount at Harvest time.
Just wanted to say how much all of us at Headingley enjoyed and appreciated your visit with Astonishment and his wife. We were really moved by how he spoke and the dedicated way in which he obviously runs the Matthew Rusike Home and looks after the children. We did record the service so that those who were away could also share in what Astonishment had to say. We have already had appreciative comments.
It took John and I (and others at HMC) most of the following week to come round from the emotion that Astonishment’s words created. We felt very humbled.
I do hope that Astonishment and Bridgety had a safe journey home. I’m sure that they would have felt very tired once they got home but hopefully encouraged to know that others are thinking about them and their work.
You can read the Birmingham report (2005) following the visit by Astonishment and Bridgety Mapurisa.