My name is Timothy Mudhluyi and I am 23 years old. I have stayed with my grandmother since I was 7 years old. I have one sister and four brothers who were also brought up by my grandmother. Her name is Joice Chidambazina and she is 89 years old as I write this. I am very proud of her, she is a strong woman but has started to suffer from health issues, I am now taking care of her – this is how life works.
I went to a local school both primary level and secondary in Chimanimani and I managed to finish my Ordinary level which is 4 years in secondary school in 2014. I enjoyed school and found it a wonderful experience especially as I was the last born. My grandmother was already old by the time I came along but she managed to give me the opportunity of education even after putting my brothers and sister through school before me. Education in Zimbabwe is expensive especially for large families with may children.
I started to learn golf at 13, I used to watch and caddie for member’s of the Chimanimani Golf Club and then started to teach myself, but it was not until I was 19 years old in February 2015 that I met Jane High when she organised a golf competition at our local golf club. I played that competition and got good scores and that was the first time Jane and I got to know each other. The first thing that she asked me was if I was interested in becoming a travelling coach for all the junior golfers of Matsetso club. I loved it and it was such an exciting experience. I enjoyed being responsible for the younger golfers and visiting new places like, Mutare, Bulawayo, Harare, Gweru and Kwekwe. I was a coach and a chaperone and did my best to work hard as Jane’s assistant on these trips.
One day Jane asked me to try guiding and to see if I was interested. I didn’t know much about guiding except that it involved being kind to visitors. I also didn’t know much about animals or birds. When I was young I used kill birds with a catapult and although I knew the types of animals, I didn’t understand the roles that they play.
In October 2015, Jane suggested that I should start getting to know my birds. This involved going out into the bush and listening and practising. Jane helped me with books and put me in touch with other bird guides in Zimbabwe. I able to use the internet at the education centre to research. So that was the the start of it.
Now its almost been 4 years in training to be a guide. Most of the time, I am in the mountains training myself especially in improving my knowledge of birds. I now know my Eastern highlands very well. I am teaching in communities and schools about the importance of our wildlife and environment.
My life has changed because of this and I have quite a number of people that I have impressed which is making me known in other parts of Zimbabwe as a bird guide. My dream is to be known nationally and internationally as one of the top bird, field and Mountain guide of Zimbabwe. I always try my best to do good work and sometimes guests refer me to other clients – this keep me motivated!
My ambitions are to find a place in Chimanimani where I can start a little business in the tourism industry, where I can have things to sell and provide a hiring service for mini gas cookers, bicycles and pitch tents
, that kind of thing. I would like to find a site where I can build a cultural place for tourists to have a Shona cultural experience because in the past, I have found tourists enjoy learning about our culture. I love this career as a mountain guuide because it is providing me a huge opportunity to be connected to the world, to represent Chimanimani and Matsetso Club and to help protect and educate about the wonderful animals and birds of Zimbabwe.