Zimbabwe Life Project – Sept 2019 Trip

The Zimbabwe Life Project (ZLP) team recently completed their second visit to Zimbabwe making their return to the UK on October 5th. This year I had the opportunity to accompany them and to see how they support the mental health services in Zimbabwe and I must say, it was incredible to see the dedication and commitment in each of the team members. Some of the volunteers left behind their children, spouses and they all funded themselves while taking annual leave to go and deliver mental health workshops and distribute vital donations to Parirenyatwa and Ingutsheni Hospitals. Some of the volunteers went to Bulawayo and others stayed in Harare but both teams delivered mental health training workshops on quality improvement such as restrictive practice, quality academy, suicide prevention, substance misuse, etc. It was really good to see how the mental health staff in Zimbabwe warmly received the ZLP team and how keen they were to participate in the programme.

The Friendship Bench team participated and presented different approaches to mental health and interventions that are helping to improve quality of life through therapy delivered by lay health workers. Medical staff from the University of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health & Child Care also attended and presented on how they are doing their best to improve the quality of care with limited resources. Workshops in Harare were held at Parirenyatwa School of Nursing which were attended by staff from Parirenyatwa Annex, Harare Psychiatry Hospital and other mental health teams including Tirivanhu Rehabilitation Center that provides aftercare to mental health patients in the community. In Bulawayo the workshops were held at Ingustheni Hospital.

The overall feedback from both ZLP and mental health staff in Zimbabwe is that the training workshops inspired them to continuously develop their practice and knowledge. Both sides are looking forward to future sessions and visits.

ZLP’s contribution to supporting mental health services was acknowledged by the Ministry of Health & Child Care and also by the Foreign Ministry & International Trade.  Parirenyatwa School of Nursing appreciated ZLP for the cross pollination of knowledge and skills in their graduation speech. A ZLP trophy was given to the best student nurse in community psychiatry.




Update on Zimbabwe Life Project (2019)

Zimbabwe Life Project (ZLP) will be embarking on their second trip to Zimbabwe in September 2019. This group of mental health professionals will be participating in a training program in Harare and Bulawayo. For more information on their next trip, visit the ZLP website https://zlp.org.uk/.

All volunteers going on this trip are funding themselves and have taken annual leave for the duration of the trip, just as they did last year.

This time around, the mental health professionals aim to support the identified national objectives as much as they can by sharing knowledge and experiences with their Zimbabwean counterparts.

Speaking to the ZLP lead, Lucia Vambe, this project intends to make a difference to mental health services in Zimbabwe. She also added that they aspire to help establish therapeutic programs that work for mental health patients in Zimbabwe and help improve patient care.

During their initial visit in September 2018, ZLP held training workshops in which they shared knowledge on topics such as management, leadership, customer care and reflective practice. The training workshops were delivered in partnership with the Zimbabwean team. The ZLP team received positive and encouraging feedback from the attendees and also from the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health.

ZLP workshop

ZLP Training Workshop in Harare – September 2018
During their visit the ZLP team attended meetings with a range of stakeholders in the delivery of mental health care including:

· The Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care
· Hospital managers in Harare, Ruwa and Bulawayo
· Shared best practice with therapists at the University of Zimbabwe.
· The British Embassy in Harare
· Non–governmental health organisations in Zimbabwe
· The Zimbabwe Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora
· The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority team who are working on re-branding the country’s tourism.

Nurses Graduation Ceremony:

The team participated in a Nursing Graduation Ceremony where a trophy, named after Lucia Vambe, founder of ZLP was awarded to the best community mental health student.


Four hospitals, a rehabilitation centre and a prison health unit received medical equipment donated by the UK team which included defibrillators, suction machines, dinamaps – blood pressure machines, blood glucose monitoring machines, surgical sundries i.e. bandages, syringes and needles for injections, electrocardiography – (ECG) machine, zimmer frames and walking sticks for physio, bed and bath aids, commodes, emergency resuscitation equipment and bags, ventilator tubes, various clinical items for hospital theatres, medical books for school of nursing, sanitary pads, clothes, shoes, microwave, footballs for psychiatric patients, etc.

ZLP is grateful to everyone who donated items which the health services in Zimbabwe received with gratitude.

For further information and updates on ZLP activities please view their Facebook page @zimbabwelifeproject, Twitter page @LifeZimbabwe and webpage www.zlp.org.uk.

Zimbabwe Life Project

Zimbabwe is currently emerging from a period of instability in economic growth and stressful social conditions which is a bedrock of mental health problems. There is a need to review the mental healthcare systems to improve the quality of patient care and experience.

To support the development of new systems and the provision of new knowledge, ‘Practice Development Nurse’ Lucia Vambe has mobilised a team of 20 clinicians to go to Zimbabwe with her this September to offer their skills through information sharing.

The clinicians from the NHS will travel as volunteers and already have the support of the Essex Partnership University Trust and some of Zimbabwe’s top Healthcare leaders. Together, they have agreed a work plan that will be taken forward to improve mental health provision systems and patient care in Zimbabwe.

When the Life Project team return from Zimbabwe, they will follow up their work by providing a report of their findings, the work carried out and recommendations. Their aim is to produce an overall outcome of well-trained staff and well-resourced mental health services in Zimbabwe.

Lucia and her team are looking for YOUR support to send donations and equipment to Zimbabwe this September. Click the following link to contribute towards a good cause: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lucia-vambe



2017 – A Year in Review

2017 ~ A Year in Review

As we draw closer to the end of another year, it is time for me to look back at the highs and (not so many) lows of 2017.

In 2017 I had some amazing opportunities to do things I had never done before like going to my first ever football match and flying abroad without Mum & Dad for the first time, but I’d like to start my review by just thanking God for my recovery this year.

As you all must know by now, December 2016 was not a good time for me or my family My Life Defining Moment but time really is the best healer and thankfully, we’ve been able to celebrate Christmas this year the right way, at home not in hospital.

Now without further ado, lets get into how great this year was and there’s only one place to start..

January 💪
After spending the first 5 days of 2017 in Queens hospital, much to the surprise of the nurses and doctors involved, I was already ready to be discharged from the hospital at which point, the world became my Oyster.

February 💕
February was about getting back to university which I had been so determined to make sure of. A very proud moment for me was when I returned to Sheffield Hallam University for the first time after you know what.
After returning things didn’t quite work out how I planned which I probably should’ve expected having missed so much coursework during my time out of university. I ended up coming back home later in March but I wasn’t worried, I was more encouraged by the fact that I was physically able to return to university than I was discouraged because I had to go back home.

March 😴
To be honest, not much really happened in March except having a million physiotherapy appointments and going back to Essex returning to my family and friends.

April 💼
VHS baby 😂 if you have me on Snapchat (bkvambe) you may already know about how the Vambes have taken over the NHS! Not literally of course but I can tell you that God has now blessed the four of us with jobs in the NHS which I didn’t even think was possible, but it is and I’m actually loving it. So April was the beginning of this journey.

May 🎂
The greatest month of the year in general, shoutout to all the May babies out there! This year I turned 21 and God forbid, imagine if I had missed this one. In celebration of life, my family organised a big party for my 21st birthday 🎉 and let me be the first to tell you that IT WAS LIT!!! So many friends and relatives came to the party, I showcased my wardrobe of dance moves and I think everyone had a wonderful time. More Life flex, ya dun’kno!
I also went to my first football match with my brother, Matthew after I had won some EFL tickets at a bingo night whilst at uni in February, so I guess something good did come out of temporarily going back to university. We watched Aston Villa hold eventual Championship league runners-up Brighton to a 1-1 draw at Villa Park, Birmingham which was such a thrilling experience.

June / July ☀️
Ah Summer, sunny days means happy days are here again and indeed they were. Summer involved a lot of trips to cousins’ houses for cosy evening BBQ’s, and I mean who doesn’t love those? I bought myself a BMW 3 series, may have reached out of my depth a little bit with that one but hey, still got it. I also went and stayed in Alton Towers with my brother and some family friend’s which was so much fun and ventured on other trips including a fancy night out to Shakazulu in central London, a huge and exotic South African restaurant joined with its own club in central London.

August 🕶
So the highlight of August was going away to Lanzarote with my brother, cousins and more friends leaving behind my parents for the first time. The cost, the wait, everything was so worth it and I definitely had the most fun I’ve ever had going on holiday. We went to an open air cinema, rode on camels, climbed volcanoes, visited the zoo we just really made the most of every minute we spent there and everyone had a great time. I would certainly recommend Lanzarote as a holiday destination for those thinking ahead to summer 2018.

September 🎓
September saw everyone including myself, go back to their different levels of education. I finally went back to Sheffield for my second attempt at second year in Sheffield Hallam University and this time, I knew I was ready. I settled back into my aunt & uncles house in Handsworth very quickly and I think it’s fair to say that this academic year, I’ve hit the ground running. I already have a 1st and a 2:1 in the first couple of assignments that I’ve completed and things are looking really good as we enter semester 2 of the course.

October 🌬
The best moment of October was creating and posting my first ever post on my blog. Now there aren’t many days where you just wake up and decide to start writing for fun but on the morning of the day that I created my journalism diary, that’s exactly what happened. Seize the day has been my motto since my car accident and it just dawned on me that I could be using my free time to do something a little bit different for myself and for you, my lovely audience. With all the coursework I’ve been doing, I haven’t been able to post as much as I would’ve liked to but I’m back now and in 2018, I hope to give you a lot more content on this blog site.

November ❄
Along with March, November was another pretty quiet month for me hence the lack of blog posts that month. Like every other student, I was up to my neck in coursework and spending time in the library became a regularity as it should anyway. I attended an Islamophobia Awareness rally and went to South Yorkshire Police headquarters to collect interviews as part of my coursework which I found to be very productive.

December 🎄
Despite the freezing temperatures of December, I am a big fan of winter just purely because it’s a time for everyone to be indoors wrapped up in front of the fire in your PJ’s as you do, protected from the cold. Then there’s knowing the festive period is upon us and seeing all the beautiful decorations and events being held to mark the season. We’ve just celebrated a beautiful christmas here at home in Essex with our close relatives and I trust you all had a wonderful christmas too.

Personally, 2017 has probably been the best year of my life and my only significant plan for going into the new year is to spend it in church but however you decide to welcome the new year, I hope that each and everyone of you enjoys a prosperous 2018 that is twice as good as 2017 was.

Here’s to greatness and success in 2018! 🥂

The Cross Keys, Sheffield

The only pub in the UK built in a graveyard

Handsworth is a small suburb in the outskirts of Sheffield, South Yorkshire and is home to the only pub in the UK that is built in a graveyard, less than 5 minutes from where I’m staying.

I first discovered about this pub a couple of weeks ago, whilst I was out in Handsworth looking for a local story to work on for one of my assignments. The manager of the local off-license store just next door to the Cross Keys, began telling me about this pub that is situated in the grounds of a cemetery which immediately sparked my interest.

I went home and did a bit more research on the history of the Cross Keys pub which was actually a church house built in the 13th century and was used by the chaplain and other clergy of St Mary’s Church. After the 16th century, the church house became a school before finally being converted into a pub in 1823.


After doing more research, my mind was still full of questions that I wanted answers to; Is the Cross Keys pub haunted? Are ghosts even real? As a christian, I don’t really acknowledge the existence or presence of ghosts but this story had so much potential that I put aside my fears and just went in with an open-mind to the scary, personal experiences in that pub.

Earlier this week, I went into the Cross Keys for the first time where I met the manager/owner, Collin who has had the pub for about 11 years now and runs it with his son and daughter as it is now a family owned business. They were all very welcoming and gave me a little tour around the pub which was literally surrounded by headstones in the cemetery of St Mary’s church.

After speaking to Collin, in less than 5 minutes I was convinced that the pub was haunted and even though it was in the middle of the day,  the stories that Collin told me really had me spooked. Even in a picture on the wall, you could see what looked like an apparition which just sent shivers through my body.



Is this a ghost?

Collin told me about a ghost-like figure which is seen walking through the front bar of the pub at night very often. He also told me about a ghost that he sees sitting in the back room every other day or so who he calls Mary, the name of one of the pubs landlords from years ago and says that if you’re ‘lucky’ between 10pm and midnight, you’ll start to really feel the atmosphere in the whole pub change and you may be joined by uninvited guests. I was even shown some of the headstones at the back of the building which come right up to the walls of the pub.

So the ‘last order’ of this story is, ghosts might actually be real. Although I didn’t see any while I was there, the stories are very believable and the atmosphere of being inside the pub is noticeably different.

I did get some really good audio including the interview with Collin that I would’ve loved for you to hear but unfortunately I’m unable to upload any audio media at the moment.

This story will be re-posted as soon as I am able to upload with audio, until then I hope you enjoyed reading, share and stay tuned!

Grow In The Dark

Happy Sunday to you all and welcome back to My Journalism Diary!

Today I’d like to talk to you about the powerful message that was preached today at the Sheffield Christian Life Centre by brother Luke, who is an associate leader at the church.

The message was entitled The Testing of Time, a message that I believe can apply to everyone including myself because we all go through seasons in which we face battles and challenges whether it be a build up of little things or one, big, on-going trial like I don’t know, being in a car accident?

Brother Luke began his sermon by presenting us with a rather unusual demonstration. He brought out a curl bar with some weights on it, not too many, and called up a volunteer to lift the curl bar a few times. After the volunteer succeeded, brother Luke then added more weights to the bar and asked the volunteer to do the same again which he also succeeded with. Luke then asked the volunteer if he would prefer to carry the lighter bar for a whole week or the heavier curl bar for one day, which was the option he obviously chose.

The point Luke was trying to make with this demonstration was that sometimes, it can be a lot harder carrying a smaller problem with you everywhere you go than it is to deal with a bigger problem that will only last a short period of time.

Psalms 10:1 says “Why Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide in times of trouble?” I’ll be honest in saying that as a Christian, of course I face challenges, some that last longer than others and sometimes I find myself asking God where he is when I need him. It’s a place that most Christians would find themselves in at some point during their walk with Christ, we’re all human so it’s understandable to start questioning if God is really there for us. Now this is the test of time.

The obvious temptation at this point is to just throw in the towel and give in but as people and especially as Christians, we all need a little bit of faith. The bible says ‘You can’t please God without faith’ which is only too true. On top of that, voices in your head will be telling you that you CAN’T do it when the truth is with God, you CAN do and break-through ANYTHING.

What is faith? Faith is seeing when you cant see and holding on to the truth in your time of darkness because it is in your darkest and most testing times that what you ‘see’ and truly believe in, comes out.

Psalm 25:5 talks more about holding on to God and says “Lead me in your truth and teach me, For you are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.”

Staying with God when you are at your weakest point and want to walk away is also so important. No one ever said being a Christian is easy, sometimes the challenges become too much, sometimes we sin and feel as if we are in too dark a place to make any progress. But I assure you that just like a seed can grow underground in the darkness, we also have the ability to grow in the dark, we just need to be watered with faith.

I hope this story encourages and motivates people to chase their dreams and to really hold on to God. The way I’m seeing him turn my situation around, he can definitely do the same with you.


My Life Defining Moment

My life defining moment? Well where do I start? My name is Kudzai Blessing Vambe, I’m 21 years old and to be honest, I am more than lucky to be alive.

I’ve told the story so many times now that it almost feels scripted, but I love telling people about it because it is my testimony.

Sheffield City Centre Car Crash

Exactly 45 weeks ago to the day on the 3rd December 2016, I was 20 years old at the time and I was having fun at a small Christmas party with some uni friends just outside of Sheffield’s city centre. At about 4am, the host of the party, his friend and I got into the hosts’ car and made our way to Tesco as there were no mixer drinks to mix the alcohol with back at the party.

On the way to Tesco, the driver lost control of his little Peugeot 206 and the car ended up in the air at about the same height as a traffic light, flipped and landed upside down.

My life from the 3rd to the 17th of December was blank. My last memory was looking out of the front passenger window watching the car slide out of control and my next memory was waking up in Queens hospital in Essex not far from home.

When I finally woke up two weeks later, I learnt that I had a brain injury and that my neck and my jaw had been fractured (my jaw was operated on whilst I was induced into a coma). The driver, only an acquaintance to me, sustained some serious injuries too but the third passenger who sat at the back of the car escaped with just minor scars and bruises. I think it’s fair to say that I was the worst off but I believe God rescued the three of us that night.

I think people would say my recovery has been incredible. Overall, I spent about 6 weeks in hospital after being transferred from Northern General hospital, then to Royal Hallamshire and finally, Queen’s hospital. The fact that I was only in hospital for 6 weeks alone, after suffering such trauma is a miracle in itself. I commend the UK’s National Health Services so highly for the work that all of the Doctors and Nurses involved did to keep me alive. After finally being discharged from hospital on the 5th January 2017, my recovery process was swift and within weeks, I was getting back to my usual self.

Although I still have problems with my memory and concentration and my jaw does give me constant pain, I’ve had rehabilitation throughout this summer which really helped me with my cognitive thinking and most of the remaining problems (mainly my jaw) are getting better with time.


I am now currently back at Sheffield Hallam University repeating my second year of Journalism as I had to take time out to recover. Over the summer I’ve had some amazing opportunities to work as a Compliance Assistant inputting data at the Head Office for the NHS in South Essex, I’ve been to Lanzarote with some family and friends, went to Alton Towers with more friends and the list goes on. I’ll try my best to keep this blog as up-to-date as possible with the activities I get up to.

My mum, dad and little brother were all so strong and right by my side from the beginning. They are still living in Essex getting on with their lives whilst I’m staying up north in the peaceful suburbs of Handsworth in Sheffield with my loving aunty and uncle. I feel so blessed to still be alive, as if nothing happened and I thank God for being so faithful and answering prayer.

That’s about it for now! Thank you so much for taking the time to read the story of what I’ve been through. I hope you hit that follow button and share this with your friends because there is so much more to come.

Life is too short.