Gap Year heads home

It’s been so fantastic to have Lydia and Zach from Trent Vineyard UK with us for the past 6 weeks. They’ve been serving, learning and lending their energy and skills to various things at Family Impact. We want to say a huge thank you to them and to all who supported their time here.

Enjoy Lydia’s final update on the projects she’s been involved with in her time.


I write this with our last week in Zimbabwe looming over me like a bad cold (which is apt considering the temperatures in Bulawayo). Very shortly, it’ll be time to say our last goodbyes, take all the selfies and hop back on a plane for a journey from Bulawayo to London. So perhaps now is a good time to shed a little light on the projects I’ve been working on. As part of our time here at Family Impact, Zach and I have been assigned individual projects to work on over the last 6 weeks. It’s been rewarding, challenging, and, at times, frustrating, but it’s also been so fun and I’m already starting to miss it…


One of my ventures has been to provide some creative ideas and input to the Real Man campaign, alongside Tai. The campaign seeks to redefine some misconceptions about what it means to be a man in Zimbabwe and Africa: many men here are told they must stifle all display of emotion, often resulting in men being distant from family life but still claiming the title of head of the household. The campaign’s aim is to encourage discussion on what it actually means to be a Christ-following man in Zimbabwe today. Now the principles advocated through the campaign are a little different to what I’m used to: principles such as, the man should be the leader and should be the provider and protector, aren’t really emphasised in the same way in the UK (although I’m aware many people do share these values). It has been interesting to engage in a different culture that isn’t better or worse than my own, just different. Check out the campaign on the Family Impact website and the Real Man Facebook page.

Another project I was given was to organise a display of the history of Family Impact. This meant I would spend a considerable amount of time sifting through piles upon piles of materials, including workbooks, booklets and leaflets, some dating back to before Family Impact was officially Family Impact. It was so interesting to immerse myself in the scope of resources Family Impact had put together over the years: materials for educating people about emotional health, parenting, marriage, sex and family life, all of which must have equipped people with essential knowledge about all these topics; topics that, until recently, were not openly discussed. Not only did I have to go through the copious amounts of resources, I also had to envision what this display would look like (praise God for Pinterest), where it would go, how much the display materials would cost and where they would come from. Needless to say it’s been challenging and I’m not sure that this will get finished while I’m here, but it’s been so fun finding out about Family Impact’s history while getting to be creative and independent – all the things I love!

The last of my assignments has been these blogs which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but never did it recreationally, mostly because I didn’t think people would be interested or that I had anything interesting to write about. So if coming on a 6 week missions trip to Zimbabwe isn’t interesting enough to warrant writing a blog I don’t know what will and it’s been an absolute pleasure. These blogs have encouraged me to think and communicate my ideas in a new way as well as proving strangely therapeutic. But for now, I sign out and say thank you for reading and joining me on this journey. I honestly hope my Zimbabwe adventure hasn’t ended but is merely taking a hiatus: so until next time…

Written by Lydia Bernard-Brooks