Twenty-three year Karen Gillespie from Cloughjordan says her life has been changed after her recent trip to Zimbabwe.
Karen enlisted with the international charity Christian Aid, travelling with a group of eight Christian Aid Ireland supporters from different communities and churches throughout Ireland. The team spent 10 days visiting the international aid group’s partners around Zimbabwe.
For Karen, this was the trip of a lifetime. Christian Aid has been working in Zimbabwe for more than 30 years and now works alongside a number of local churches and partners across the country.
Karen and the team were able to visit a number of these projects, including a communal vegetable garden, education projects and an advocacy group. Karen found that the new relationships she forged and the lifechanging experiences she enjoyed changed her whole outlook on life and made re-evaluate the important things in life.
She found her time away to be quite inspirational saying: “The people of Zimbabwe have had a really dreadful past, they have a really uncertain future, but they have a hope for the day to keep going.
The trip has made her reconsider some aspects of her life. As she explains: “Before I went my attitude would have been ‘work as hard as I can, and save as much for the future’. Now I live for today. I also appreciate things more; before my car was giving me problems and I kept thinking ‘I’m going to change it’. Now I think, ‘you know what? It works, it’s fine’.” Since her return Karen has been keen to act on her experiences, “I want to advocate for people more.
“I wake up in the morning now and think I’m going to do something good with today”. She also wants to express her gratitude for all the wonderful support and encouragement she received from her local community.If you would like to support Christian Aid, you can visit christianaid.ie or telephone Dublin (01) 901 5035