In September 1998 Philip and I, along with our three children, Abigail (6), Kezia (4) and Jacob (1 ½) travelled to Zimbabwe for a six month stint at Ameva. On our very first night Philip was called to help fight a bushfire that had broken out on the farm, literally a baptism of fire into our time on the farm.
We were a family of five from London and, as you can imagine, the contrast was great. We had no car, no telephone or television in the house and relied on John and Celia to lend us their car for grocery shopping and use of the phone. Whilst we were living fairly basically, in a vastly different environment, our time at Ameva was precious and fulfilling.
Philip used his administrative gifts to consolidate the business side of the farm and set up a reconciliation system for eggs and chickens being sold. He also employed a security guard to ensure produce from the farm wasn’t stolen. Another business endeavour that John instigated was the production of sunflower oil, it was very exciting to see the finished result of bottled Ameva Farm Sunflower Oil sitting on shop shelves in Chegutu.
I enjoyed homeschooling the girls and teaching our lovely maid, Gladys, to read and write. A couple of times we would open our front door to see cows passing by … a novelty for us Londoners.
We also lead a youth group and enjoyed sharing the gospel with the young people from the compound. The slower and simpler pace of life was a God send to us all and whilst there were challenging times as well, we were very blessed by our time at Ameva.
A traumatic incident occurred on the way home from church one Sunday when we were in a convoy of four cars with students from the Bible College and workers. A swarm of angry bees attacked the cars and resulted in many people being severely stung. God was so good and it was a miracle no one died, one young boy had hundreds of stings all over his body.
Our experiences at Ameva were many and varied, and our overarching memories are of a precious and exciting time where God moved greatly.