I always try to see the silver linings as much as possible even if the clouds are dark and stormy. These last few days have all been about searching for that silver lining and we’ve found it.
Despite all the knocks, and all the problems, we cannot wait to return to Zimbabwe and carry on what we’ve started here and that’s entirely down to the people we have met and who have become fast friends. Zimbabwe is a flawed, but amazing, country and its people for the most part are compassionate and overwhelmingly friendly.
So, with all the support you could ever imagine after our ordeals, as documented in the previous blog posts, we have got back to work at the Tariro Orphanage. So many things have happened and many haven’t been mentioned yet, so it may be best to show a list rather than bore you with too many details.
1. The entire house has now been fully decorated.
2. Bespoke, waterproof mattresses have been made and delivered to Kadoma.
3. As of today, the bunkbeds are finished and await collection tomorrow for installation. This will give beds to 15 children.
4. Full gas oven and spare gas bottle have been installed and is finally giving the house the ability to cook proper meals.
5. A whole host of kitchen utensils that are essential, but they never had before, we delivered. Knives, spoons, plates, cups, jugs, tea pot, cheese grater, washing up bowl, vegetable peeler and more are now being used.
6. Emptying of the septic tank so that the toilets can be used for the first time in 3 weeks.
7. Clearing of a blockage in the sewer system so water can flow out of the house.
8. Buying brand school uniforms for every child so that they can be allowed to attend finally.
9. Allowing the children to choose their own clothes for the first time ever.
10. Taking them out to eat in a restaurant and allowing them to order whatever they wanted.
11. Replace door handles and locks on the store room door.
12. Installed the first ever cot for baby Makanaka.
13. Installed a fly trap to limit the infestation in the house.
14. Nicole has hand made 24 pillows for delivery with the bunkbeds tomorrow.
15. Buying an electric iron to replace the metal one they’d been heating up on the gas stove.
We still have many things to do and we just have a few weeks left to make them happen. We still want to replace all of their sofas and curtains, bring in a brand new fridge-freezer, employ a matron for a week to teach the current house mother how to organise the house and children, buy and install storage boxes/shelves/pigeon holes throughout the entire house.
Unfortunately things have been on hold since the weekend and we have only briefly seen the children. Neither of us felt really comfortable being around them whilst looking the way we do. I didn’t want to scare the kids with my face, nor did we want to broach the subject of violence and its repercussions. When we go tomorrow to install the long awaited beds, it will be the first time we’ll have seen them all together properly and just hope the additions of somewhere to sleep is enough to occupy their minds and forget about our injuries.
We are also not forgetting that we are in the process of selecting textbooks, reading books, source materials and teaching guides for 2 local schools so that they can carry on their already amazing work.
Despite my injuries, I was still keen to not let anything get in the way of our work here, so on Monday I went straight to Harare for our planned meeting with CPS, a publishing house specialising in school books for the Zimbabwe syllabus. Nicole, unfortunately, was unable to come with me as planned and stayed at home to begin the long road to recovery and full fitness. Mwazvita was warm and welcoming and quickly helped me get to grips with what they offer and how we could use their stock to better the schools ability to teach. She also promised to give us a 25% on all orders as we are buying them for a charitable donation.
Tariro Orphanage has really taken over our trip since we first came across it, but we have also spent a lot of time with the children of Great Hood Academy and their teaching staff. We’ve been helping out in classes, helping the children read and spell. Its an amazing feeling to be able to be there at a pivotal moment in their lives like this.
One moment that we didn’t get chance to report in the blog as yet was the day we spent with the children of grade 7. Initially pencilled in for 30 minutes, Nicole and I spent over an hour with them in a question and answer session. First of all we introduced ourselves properly. They had seen us around plenty of times, but this is the first time that we’d got to tell them about why we are actually there.
It was then their turn to ask whatever questions they wanted to know about us, or about anywhere we had been, what we do for a living, what its like where we live etc… There were a few obvious childlike questions about famous people we’d met, or football teams we liked etc. But there was also an incredible amount of serious, thought provoking questions about politics, history, economy, our personal lives, travel and not least of all the orphanage on their very door step here in Kadoma. We didn’t influence their questions, and just let them ask whatever came to mind and yet talking about the orphans of Tariro was by far and away the most asked about topic. They couldn’t believe for a moment that children their age, and younger could live like that. I asked everyone to raise their hand if they had their own bedroom, a few did. I asked everyone who shared their bedroom with 1 sibling to put their hands up, a few more then did. I carried this on until everyone had put their hands up and it seems that in this class, the most in any bedroom at their home was 4 children. Their faces dropped when I told them that there were 16 children sleeping between 2 bedrooms; and all of them on the concrete floor. Their thirst for knowledge was inspiring and I feel they learnt much about themselves; and how lucky they actually are.
So, there’s our recap of what we’ve been up to so far. There is still more to come and your money can help us to help the children of Kadoma even more. Donate here if you feel this is something worth helping. Thank you.