Two months ago, Kameron and Erin Toews boarded a plane in South Dakota and landed in Zimbabwe to serve at Karanda Missions Hospital. Check out their photo journal below as they give us a day-in-the-life glimpse of ministry and culture in southern Africa.
Makadii. Hello, Internet! We’re the Toews from South Dakota, USA, living at Karanda Mission Hospital in Zimbabwe for a year. Erin is serving as a nurse, and Kam is working as a videographer. We’ve been here two months now, and we are slowly getting into the swing of things. It’s amazing to be a part of God’s life-changing work in beautiful Zim. We’re pumped to give you a small taste of life in the bush. So let’s go – hundai!
Home sweet home! Here’s a typical Zimbabwean family home, with each building acting as a sort of “room” in the family’s house.
Let us introduce you to sadza, the staple of the Zimbabwe diet. Sadza is corn meal mixed with water until it becomes the consistency of very thick mashed potatoes. Here it is served with seasoned chicken and a relish in peanut butter sauce. I’m sure you were wondering: yes, of course you eat with your hands.
We’re serving at Karanda Mission Hospital this year, and almost every day we hear a local tell us how KMH is the best hospital in Zimbabwe. People travel across the entire country simply to receive quality, loving care. May God continue to be honored and made famous because of this hospital in the middle of the bush!
Nursing in Zimbabwe is so, so, so different from what I’m used to in America. Sure, the culture and language are different, but even the names of medicines and basic procedures are different. I’m on the pediatrics ward this week, and I’m loving that I get to help the little munchkins. But some days can be frustrating and overwhelming since I have to re-learn so many nursing skills.
“Mommy, this man took my picture with a big machine.” A smile is a beautiful thing.
Kids are something else! Even across the world, in a culture so different from mine, kids are the same. You have the trouble-makers, the pouters, the popular kids, the shy ones, and everything in between. Awana has been a great place for us to meet local kids and hear them shout Bible verses at the top of their little lungs.
Just a few years ago, when Zimbabwe’s economy was at its lowest, $500,000,000 might have been able to buy you a loaf of bread. Now, Zimbabwe has officially changed to the US Dollar, and the old notes are simply worth their value in paper. Today, we’re using US bills, and many of them are holding together by a thread.
Meet Joshua. Joshua walks the 7k path from his village to our house three days a week to tend our plants and yard for just a few hours of work a day. It can be difficult to find paying work in Zimbabwe, even for skilled and willing workers. He is such a joyous man and a hard worker. Many days, Joshua has worked longer than asked because he can’t leave a job unfinished! When the economy gets better, he plans to return to school to get a university degree in agriculture or teaching.
Karanda Mission Hospital has an in-house radio studio that broadcasts music, devotionals, local news and Bible readings to the wards. Each Friday morning, the nursing students fill the studio to sing and pray over the patients.
It’s jacaranda season! The purple trees remind us of a Dr. Seuss book. This tree sits in the hospital court yard, which buzzes daily with patients, family members and staff.
I see you through my binoculars. Meet Gary and Janet and their baby. Zimbabwe is known worldwide for its safaris and game parks. There’s no animal quite as amazing (AKA awkward) as the giraffe. It’s our favorite and decorates much of our house.
Something as simple as driving needs to be relearned in Zimbabwe. Why? 1) 99% of vehicle are stick shift, and we had never driven a manual before. 2) Drive on the left side of the road. 3) Traffic lights – AKA “robots” – may or may not be working today. 4) DEFENSIVE DRIVING. People, cows and public transit vans pop out of absolutely every crevice along the road.
“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow’ – when you now have it with you” Proverbs 3:27-28. This verse has become something of a theme verse for our little family. We do not always live by it, but we regret it every time we forget its importance.
Want to connect with the Toews? Follow Kameron and Erin on Instagram or check out their blog.
Pray that Erin will have confidence, patience and humbleness as she goes through orientation in a hospital setting very different than what she’s used to in America.
Pray that Kameron will have an eye to see stories that need to be told around Karanda.
Pray that God will teach the Toews to find their worth in Christ, not in completing a to-do list, and that they will find some good local friendships.
Praise God for the wonderful missionary relationships they’ve been able to build already.
You can give directly to the Toews’s ministry in Zimbabwe by clicking here.
You can help TEAM send more missionaries like Kameron and Erin by supporting the Global Outreach (GO) Fund. Click here to give!
Right now there are 47 different opportunities for you to serve in Zimbabwe. Missionaries are needed in the areas of education, medical care and business. Click here to learn more about TEAM’s ministries in Zimbabwe and view service opportunities.