Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Sunset at Domboshava Rocks, Zimbabwe

While spending some time in Harare, Zimbabwe, we were able to do a bit of hiking. – and you know how much we love hiking!
A few of the local churches participated in a youth conference for a week. One of the nights, we were invited to join them for a hike at Domboshava Rocks to watch the sunset.
Domboshava is a town located not far from Harare, about 30km. It is situated amongst giant granite rock hills. The biggest granite hill is actually a National Monument. Locals and tourists are welcome to visit the park and pay a small fee to climb to the top. The hike is fairly easy and does not take very much time. For most of the time you are walking on hard, sturdy granite. – Just make sure you are not wearing flip flips or other flimsy shoes.
There are some caves with rock paintings as well, but we did not have time to check those out this time. We’ll have to go again and explore all that Domboshava has to offer!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Zim Zips: Languages

This week on Zim Zips, Kameron is sharing about the languages spoken in Zimbabwe.

While many people here speak English, the two of us are learning to speak Shona (the most widely spoken tribal language in Zimbabwe). Learning Shona is both difficult and easy to learn. It is easy to learn because each vowel has one sound and it pronounced the same throughout the whole language, while in English, the "a" has many different sounds in simple words like "cat," "what," and "ate." It is difficult because there are many many noun classes & in English we have one. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, think of Spanish, which has 2 noun classes: male & female.) Each noun class has a different way to put words together. Right now it is all confusing and WAY over our heads, but maybe in a year we will be speaking fluently! 
A few of my study materials.
While most of the time we are learning Shona by speaking with friendly people on the street, and twice a week we meet with language helpers to go more in depth, we also watch a DVDs series about Shona grammar and sentence structure and verb tenses. 
We also draw fun pictures to help us learn our Vocab.
We usually study with a little help from some delicious treats!

Please be praying for us as we learn the Shona language. While we could get by with speaking only English, we know that relationships will reach deeper levels if we can speak with our friends and patients in their native language. It is an important and fruitful way to point people to Christ. 

Have you ever learned another language? What tips do you have for us?
This is the first post in a series called Zim Zips. Each week, Kameron will host a new video highlighting a unique aspect of Zimbabwe or Shona culture. To see more Zim Zips, click here. To subscribe to our YouTube page & stay up-to-date on all of our videos, click here.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Mukuvisi Woodlands

Last weekend while a short-term missionary doctor was in Harare on his way home, the Toews + our neighbor Stacy took him to Mukuvisi Woodlands to see some African wildlife.

Mukuvisi Woodlands Wildlife and Environmental Centre is located in Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe. It was only a 20 minute drive from our guesthouse. Mukuvisi offers opportunity to see wildlife without going deep into the bush! They offer different ways to experience the Woodlands: by horseback or on foot, a quick viewing from a terrace or 2-hour trek around the property with a guide to get up-close & personal with the animals, or a walk through the Bird Park.
We chose the option of a walking safari with a guide.
We saw zebras.
We saw giraffes.
We saw birds.
We saw crocodiles.
We saw turtles.

We saw cacti.
We saw flowers.
We saw impala.
We saw eland.
We saw many trees. (Can you spot my my long-necked friend in the picture above?)
Erin’s favorite of course was the giraffe!
Kameron was the lucky guy with the fancy camera who took all the pictures... So he isn't found in many of these photographs. Thanks Kam!

Our guide’s name was Simba (How appropriate)! Simba was very knowledgeable and answered our many questions about the types of animals found at Mukivisi, ages & names of the animals, etc. He even took a “selfie” with us.
The cost was $4 per adult to get into the park, and $6 per person for the walking safari. So $10 for a fun time seeing African wildlife. Not bad at all! – Granted not all of the Big 5 game can be found at Mukuvisi, you can still see some of God’s amazing creation.

If you come for a visit, maybe we’ll take you there! --- Or maybe you want to take us to Victoria Falls?

And some funny pictures to make you laugh!
Africa's most common animal seen on safari: White Girl. Complete with a latter, touristy hat, and GoPro on a selfie stick.
& Stacy with a random animal's pelvic bone as a mask. Doesn't she look good?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Zim Zips: Ombera

(ed: after recording this video, I learned I was clapping the wrong way. Women are supposed to keep their fingers together & hands cupped as they clap. You may notice that my left thumb is not touching the rest of my finger.)

While in Zimbabwe, we are learning about the culture and language of the Shona people (the prominent people group in our area). One of the most common topics covered is about 
R-E-S-P-E-C-T (sing it with me). Yes, respect.

You are expected to show respect to all of those ahead of you in the line of respect.

Line of respect – Sekuru (grandfather or leader), Ambuya (grandmother or first wife of leader), Baba (father), Amai (mother), married man, married woman, single man older than you, single woman older than you, child.

Showing respect in the Shona tradition means having good manners and being humble & considerate. There is a proper way to do and say almost everything in day-to-day life. Respect is shown in many different ways: following the set patterns for traditional greetings, approaching others with the right posture & attitude, and clapping.


Yes. Clapping. (or “ombera” in Shona)

Clapping is a way of showing humble politeness. You clap your hands when greeting other people, when thanking, and before receiving a gift. There is a proper way to clap, and men & women each have a different clapping style. Men clap with hands flat together and palms & fingers joined. Women cup their hands and lap the right hand crossways over the left.

The louder the clap indicates more respect.
The more claps, the more respect.

The next time you want to show someone respect, why not clap your hands and see what kind of response you get!

How do you show respect in your culture? Have you ever been to a new place and had to learn a new way of showing respect? Or maybe you have accidentally shown rudeness in a different country when you thought you were being respectful. Leave your answers & stories in the comments below.

This is the first post in a series called Zim Zips. Each week, Kameron will host a new video highlighting a unique aspect of Zimbabwe or Shona culture. To see more Zim Zips, click here. To subscribe to our YouTube page & stay up-to-date on all of our videos, click here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

AdventureLust - 03 "Thoughts on Studying & Living Abroad"

Today on the podcast I am chatting with Hayley Swinson from Savvy Girl Travel the alternative online travel magazine for women. Hayley is not a stranger to traveling abroad for long stretches of time. Most notably, she received her Masters studying abroad in Edinburgh. Hayley gives us insight on steps you need to take to study and live abroad, including some thoughts & priorities to consider before making your plans.

You can listen to the pilot episode by pressing play on the player above.

If you like what you hear, PLEASE subscribe to the AdventureLust podcast on iTunes.
If you're feeling extra kind, share with your friends & rate the podcast on iTunes as well.
Please let us know if there are any issues that should be resolved, we're still troubleshooting & experimenting with this podcast thing.
More episodes can be found HERE.

SWAP – Working Holiday

World Travel Market – free conference in London

Interested in working on a “tall ship?”: or
DestinationExploration – Travel blogger Suzanne
OceanXploration – Website about Suzanne living on a boat

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