This morning I during my weekly call with Zimbabwe Director Bekithemba Moyo, we had a little extra time to chat about daily life, our families and prayer requests before getting into our meeting agenda. One of the many things I’ve learned from our friends in Zimbabwe and Zambia is to slow down and take time to inquire after family members, share prayers and praises and really listen when someone responds to my question of “how are you?”
By virtue of climate, geography, economics, culture and a hundred other factors, daily life for our partners in Zimbabwe is very different than my day-to-day life in Pennsylvania. That’s no surprise to any of us. But I thought today for my “this week on the ground” update I’d share a bit about what daily life is like for our partners and the children they serve. As you and I look toward this weekend, one of the last of the summer, here’s what it will hold for many of our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe:
- Water rationing – we’ve talked a lot on the blog about the need to pray for rain as it impacts the agricultural programs of our partners. Last year saw widespread crop failure in Zimbabwe, particularly in Matabeleland where our partnerships are focused. But neighborhoods where our partners serve are now also experiencing water rationing as there isn’t enough supply to meet the demand. For weeks now, businesses, homes, churches and schools have been impacted as water is cut off 2 days a week (though schools now closed for break). We thank God that the rationing is not as frequent in some recent years, but continue to pray for Good rains this season to alleviate the drought and for His provision until then when many are struggling.
- Windy, dusty and dry – we shared earlier this summer that the winter months in southern Africa (May-September) were proving to be particularly cold this year. While the cold nights are starting to abate, the dryness of winter is still a challenge. It’s dusty and windy in many areas, with the potential to affect respiratory health.
- Census time – This weekend marks the start of Zimbabwe’s population census. Many are hoping for accurate and transparent data which will prove useful in evaluating the impact of challenges (HIV/AIDS, drought, economic turmoil etc) as well as relief and development efforts over the last ten years…and help in working towards a brighter future.
- School break – This break before the third and final school term of the year started a week early to allow teachers helping with the census to prepare. School breaks can be a challenging time for vulnerable children when the structure of school (which may include the consistent presence of a caring adult or a daily meal) is removed. For this and other reasons, school breaks are a common time for churches like the ones with whom we partner to hold children’s and youth retreats, focusing on the spiritual and psycho-social needs of kids in their communities.
- Farming preparation – now is the time when our partners are actively engaged in planning the next planting season’s agricultural programs. Training, field preparation and purchasing seed and fertilizer are key tasks happening right now to lay the groundwork for a successful harvest. That, and much prayer for good rains.
Thanks for keeping our partners and the children we serve together in your prayers this weekend, and for taking the time to learn a bit more about their daily lives of late, particularly in Zimbabwe. Have a wonderful weekend!
Ellen Shaffer, Director of Project Management