TWU student brings hope to Zimbabwe this Christmas

“I saw an old man like my father. It had been four or five days since he last ate. I looked in his eyes and said, ‘I’m coming back before Christmas. I’m going to do what it takes.” Bedium Zimbiti, TWU student, staff member, and Langley resident.

Langley, B.C.—What if your Christmas list included over 1500 people in a village half a world away? Ten years ago someone decided to give the gift of education to Langley resident, Bedium Zimbiti—now that single gift is multiplying to impact 1500 lives this Christmas when Bedium will deliver food to people starving in Zimbabwe. On December 16th, Bedium is flying back to his African community to distribute 60 tons of grain.

For Bedium, buying 60 tons of grain has meant working on TWU’s janitorial crew while continuing in his graduate studies, writing letters, selling his car, attaining letters of permission from senior Zimbabwean officials, committing to tell his story to raise support, and figuring out the logistics of transporting grain to over 200 families.

When Bedium arrives in Zimbabwe, he will meet his former school principal and together they will travel and meet with four different government officials, show their documentation, pick up grain from the farmer holding it in reserve, and deliver the grain to the villages surrounding Kandeya—Bedium’s hometown.

This August, a visit to Africa confirmed Bedium’s resolve to find a way to help bring change to the Zimbabwean people. Bedium returned with his family to see what was happening in his country. “I was shocked to see the changes—could this be the country I knew?” says Bedium, “it all went down so fast,” says Bedium.

During their visit, the impact of political decisions was painfully obvious in the lives of the people. “We drove to the rural area where my mother lived. Swarms of people were coming to our car. I didn’t know what was happening,” explains Bedium. “Later we found out they thought we were bringing food.” “I saw an old man like my father,” he continues. It had been four or five days since he last ate.” Right there, Bedium confirmed his decision. “I looked in his eyes and said, ‘I’m coming back before Christmas. I’m going to do what it takes.”

Though Zimbabwe is one of the richest countries in Africa, the economy relies heavily on agriculture. “Due to political maneuvering [in Zimbabwe’s government] they took farms away,” says Bedium. “The farmers were told they couldn’t farm anymore. The political situation continues to escalate—many people have been with little or no food this year.”

“When I left, one ton of grain cost $100 USD, but these numbers are constantly going up,” says Bedium. Each bag that Bedium will distribute contains 50 kg of grain—an amount that may be the difference between life and death for many people in Kandeya and the surrounding villages.

Bedium's initial move from Zimbabwe to Canada began ten years ago when an American neighbour and missionary, saw Bedium’s teaching abilities through his work with a Sunday School. She encouraged him to go to Trinity Western University in Langley, BC. Despite the cost of university education, they wrote letters to raise funds and trusted in a miracle.

After sending out 400 letters in the spring of ’92, Bedium saw the impossible happen. Within a few months, TWU called to let him know $5,000 was in his student account. “When I left Zimbabwe the government gave me $10. It’s all I had at the beginning, but God is so good,” recounts Bedium. Each year, an anonymous donor put $15,000 USD into his account and continued to fund his education and family’s living expenses for the remainder of his undergraduate education.

“What I’ve discovered in life is that one man can control 11 million people [in Zimbabwe]—just because of power,” says Bedium. “Can I make a difference? Absolutely. With these people, I can,” says Bedium.

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,200 students this year. With a broad based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 38 major areas of study ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 other graduate degrees including counseling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2015-07-13
Author: Keela Keeping