China trip helps Zimbabwean students heal from Cyclone Idai trauma

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Ten students drawn from Cyclone Idai affected regions of Zimbabwe took group photos after coming back from China in Harare, Zimbabwe, Dec. 29, 2019./ PHOTO: Xinhua/ Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe.

A group of students from Zimbabwe’s regions affected by Cyclone Idai visited China in the festive period as a means of providing therapy for the trauma they underwent in the wake of the tropical storm.

The ten students were drawn from different schools within the Southern African country, with the six-day trip co-organized by the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe and Zhejiang provincial government.

“I wish a prosperous new year to the people of China and Zimbabwe,” said Wimbainashe Zviuya, one of the students.

Besides experiencing Chinese cuisines for the first time and visiting many scenic spots, the Zimbabwean students also used the opportunity to learn about Chinese culture and ancient history.

Zviuya noted that the trip was important in restoring hope for herself and her fellow students.

“Children were affected psychologically, some of their friends and relatives were taken by the floods. Some of them had nowhere to stay because their houses were washed away by the floods,” Zviuya said.

“The trip helped them get fresh air since they had not been able to travel away from the district. It also showed them that life can go on and they can still experience good things after the destruction of their schools and their homes,” she added.

Cyclone Idai caused catastrophic damage in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. The Zimbabwean government reported some 299 deaths and 300 people missing in Cyclone Idai.

It is estimated that 250,000 people were affected by the floods in nine districts in the southeastern regions of Zimbabwe, with Chimanimani and Chipinge being the most affected.

Among them, about 48 percent are under 18 years, with many in need of psychosocial support.

Hou Yuehan, an attache at the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe, said the Chinese government wanted to show kindness and solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe.

“We invited these children, because they are the future of the country,” she said.

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