Gunnedah Evening VIEW Club members were treated to a delightful presentation by guest speaker Florence Chauraya at the June dinner meeting, with an interesting insight into her journey from Zimbabwe in southern Africa to her new home in Gunnedah.

Officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, Florence’s ancestral home is a landlocked country between the Zambesi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the south-west, Zambia to the north and Mozambique to the east.

Florence grew up in a mining town and after her marriage to Fortunate Chauraya, he accepted a position in Botswana where they stayed for five years. 

When a friend in her bible study group told her she had a vision of her in a green country surrounded by water, Florence was rather sceptical considering they were landlocked. Soon after her husband was offered a position at Mackay in Queensland and the couple took a giant leap of faith to travel to a foreign country with their two little boys and try to embrace a new culture.

In November 2007, they arrived in Mackay and it was the first time Florence had seen the ocean up close. Florence found these first months rather difficult as her husband was employed on a Fly In Fly Out (FIFO) basis and she was alone all week, until she befriended a woman from Tasmania who was also far from home.

The family later moved to a mining town in Central Queensland before arriving to Gunnedah in 2021 in the middle of the floods, with their little girl who had been born in Queensland.

Florence told her story with grace and humour but also said they have never regretted coming to Gunnedah.

“This is home,” she said.

“We had a chance to go back to our country but it wasn’t the same. Everyone said, ‘for the sake of your children, stay there’ – it took that trip back home to realise that we had made the right decision.”

A presentation was made to Florence by program officers Sue Braby and Kerry Keating as a token of the club’s appreciation.

National VIEW vice-president Elizabeth Birch, VIEW national manager Mary-Anne Maher and past executive member Beryl Pike were in Gunnedah last month for the delegates’ meeting, attended by representatives from Gunnedah Evening and Day VIEW Clubs, Coonabarabran and Narrabri. Twelve VIEW clubs in the area sponsor 36  students living in disadvantage through the Smith Family charity’s  Leaning for Life (LFL) program.  VIEW Clubs  nationally are the largest supporters of LFL students with each one receiving a laptop, internet set-up and digital skills. 

An invitation has been received from Gunnedah Day VIEW Club to help  celebrate its 50th birthday next month. Christmas in July will be celebrated at the July meeting, with guest speaker Tracie Finlay presenting an opal jewellery demonstration. 

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