Bringing Blessings and Joy to Blessing and Tafadzwa

AIDSOne of my highlights during the Zimbabwe Mission Trip 2015 was visiting a child-headed home in Mvurwi, about 100 km north of Harare.  A few years ago, the headmaster (school principal) of Mvurwi Primary School kindly offered to help two children, a brother and sister, with accommodation on the school property.  These children lost their parents to the AIDS epidemic.  Mvurwi goes on record as the area with the highest AIDS/HIV cases.  The children current live on their own, in a small dimly lit room at the school.  The oldest, Blessing, is a girl aged 12 years old.  She cooks and takes care of her little, almost malnourished brother, Tafadzwa.  When we met Blessing and Tafadzwa, they were very quiet.  They appeared shy, overwhelmed, yet joyful.  They did not ask for anything, except expressing their gratitude through their small quiet voices.  Blessing’s wishes are to continue her education, and make sure she passes her classes.

I was moved to tears as I proudly watched the ZMT 2015 members compassionately respond to the needs of these children by paying school fees for Blessing, Tafadzwa, and another girl called Diana. The donations will cover school fees for two years of each of the three children.   Outside Blessing and Tafadzwa’s little room was a little open fire cooking area.  On the little table in the corner was a bundle of wilting colored greens.  A box of matches and a little candle on a stand provide the light for them during the evenings.  On another corner were two, thin, torn blankets Blessing and Tafadzwa put on the floor for a make shift bed.  A few clothes lay on top of the blankets.

People_living_with_HIV_AIDS_world_map

As I sit here, I am thinking of Blessing and Tafadzwa.

  • What is Blessing cooking for dinner tonight?
  • Do these two children have food?
  • Children often get scared of the dark, and of being lonely. To whom do Blessing and Tafadzwa run when in fear?
  • To whom do they cry?
  • Who do they tell the stories from their day at school?
  • When the adolescence, physical changes begin to happen in Blessings body, who will talk with her?
  • Who will be there for her when she needs to ask dating questions?

I have learned that an individual, outside of Christ, cannot change the whole world, but an individual can change another individual’s world.  This trip has reminded me that a human being armed with love and passion can get things done.

Overcome with emotions, pity and compassion, the Howard family pledged to buy two small beds, linens, and blankets for Blessing and Tafadzwa.  The Howard family’s hopes and desires would be to eventually adopt these two children.

  • You, like the Howard family, can make a difference.
  • You can pray for Blessing and Tafadzwa.
  • You can donate to Blessing and Tafadzwa so they can have food and shelter.
  • You can visit Blessing and Tafadzwa in Zimbabwe.
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Grinding Mill for the AIDS/HIV Support Group in Zimbabwe

Grinding mill

The poverty, as well as the suffering I have seen this week is overwhelming.  I grew up in poverty, in Harare, Zimbabwe.  I grew up in the ghetto, in Highfield, Harare.  Having been living in the developed world for over 15 years, coming back home I am welcomed by the astounding poverty that lingers in the neighborhoods.  It appears, I have adjusted to the Western lifestyle and comforts.  However, a great proportion of my heart loves this land.  Deep down, I am a Zimbabwean to the core.  I may have changed my citizenship, but I have not changed my heritage.

Last year, on a brief business visit to Zimbabwe, I learned about Nunurai Support Group.  Nunurai Support Group comprises ten members who were trained as AIDS/HIV caregivers by The Salvation Army’s Howard hospital in Zimbabwe. Under the umbrella body of the Nunurai Support Group, are 25 support groups each with about 10 members, supporting 250 individuals who are infected or directly affected by AIDS/HIV. Children have their own support group.  The children’s group is composed of 19 children in all – 9 girls and 10 boys.   Nunurai Support Group has been seeking income generating projects so as to be self-supportive.  With the income generated, the group will support its members by purchasing medicines, paying school fees for AIDS/HIV orphans, and buying food for the struggling families.

Golden Goni, the chairman of the Nunurai Support group, told us the group has chosen to seek funds to purchase and install a grinding mill. Why Grinding Mill?  Maize (corn) is the staple food in Zimbabwe.  Many people grow maize for consumption.  Families need to take the maize to a grinding mill to be ground into a powder with which they use for cooking sadza.  There is a great need for another grinding mill in the Mvurwi area.  Grinding maize is a money-maker for businesses. Through owning and running a grinding mill, Nunurai Support Group would raise funds to support its members.

On Thursday, July 9th, the ZMT2015 team purchased and drove 100 km to Mvurwi to donate a brand new grinding mill.  The grinding mill was installed in a half-built room in the business area of Rusununguko (Freedom) Business Shopping Center.  The group plans to build its own shop on the land generously donated by the Mvurwi Town Council to the Nunurai Support Group.

Tonight, I go to bed fulfilled and blessed to have been used by God to be the conduit of His grace to the suffering in Mvurwi.  I go to bed grateful to many who have supported our Zimbabwe Mission Trip 2015.  I go to bed knowing that the lives of a few people have been changed forever, as a result of the generosity of The Salvation Army El Cajon Corps.  Thank you God.  Thank you all who helped make a difference in a part of the world a few would like to visit.

Fresh Water Well Installed in Zimbabwe

   water 3

I am blessed when someone comes up with a brilliant, life-saving idea.  A couple of years ago, one of our congregation members came up with the plan to raise funds to install fresh water wells in Africa.  I authorized her to fundraise at the corps (church).  Just before we left the USA for the Zimbabwe Mission Team 2015 trip, Maxine had met her goal to purchase and install a fresh water pump in Zimbabwe.  This illustrious, generous woman is Eva Loomis, affectionately known as Maxine.

Why water?  Worldwide, 2.6 billion people — 72% in Southern Asia — lack access to improved sanitation facilities, and 884 million — 37% in sub-Saharan Africa — do not use improved sources of drinking water. (WHO/UNICEF)  In addition, “This year, 2.2 million children will die from diarrhea and related diseases.” (Rehydration Project)  Research has shown access to clean water is directly linked to better health.

Water

 In Zimbabwe, and in many other developing nations, it is estimated thousands of people living in remote rural villages die due to the lack of clean drinking water. These deaths are needless as they could be prevented.  Often, it is women and children who walked long distances to fetch water. Unfortunately, some of these distant water sources almost always contain contaminants.  Most villagers bathe, wash their dishes, and relieve themselves in or near the rivers, from where the villagers fetch their water.

As a young boy, I remember seeing long lines, as women and girls waited hours in line waiting for their turn to collect water. The process is painstakingly slow as the women and girls use small to fill each can or bucket with the water.  Sometimes the well would dry up before some people got the water.

My wife and I coordinated the efforts of selecting a rural area in which the fresh water well will be installed.  We decided to install the well in Chihota village.  We engaged the services of a company to find the water table before drilling. The company uses an old time method called the Electroseismic method.  This is a geophysical technique that attempts to provide the depth to groundwater and an estimate of the permeability.  After finding the water tables, we hired another company to drill the well.  The drilling went down to 40 meters!

Water 2

Last Monday, the company went back to install the actual pump.  At about 12:00 p.m. local time, we gathered the village herdman (chief) and some of his family.  The chief and his wife expressed their deepest gratitude for this life-changing donation.  His village comprises 31 homesteads, adding up to over 120 individuals.  All these families are now going to have access to clean water.  The chief also told us that he will open a community vegetables garden near the well.  The families will not only have clean water, but they will also benefit from growing and selling vegetables.

Thank you Maxine for your vision.  Thank you to all who contributed towards this project.  Thank you to the ZMT2015 members.