Thursday, June 21, 2007

100 Kilometers from Nowhere

Today I went to a wonderful field day in a very rural area called Nyamhingura. About fifteen years ago, several non-governmental organizations and governments banded together to build Zimbabwe’s infrastructure. This area is an example of how the infrastructure has outgrown the rest of the country’s development. In Nyamhingura, there are schools, but no qualified teachers. There are clinics, but no doctors or medicine. There are roads, but there are no buses for people or transport for crops. The people here live on the cusp of change, but lack the resources to improve their lives.

That’s why Kufusa Mari has made such a difference to these women and men. They are able to pool what little they have with the contributions of their neighbors and then make their own development without waiting for a foreign organization to bring them what they need.

Today, 195 participants graduated and were certified capable of continuing their savings activities without the monitoring or guidance of ASAP field officers. What a moment of success and empowerment for many who have felt powerless! The celebration was wonderful as groups of beneficiaries sang, danced, and made speeches. At the end, the cluster presented me with a beautifully woven basket as a gift. I was humbled to be honored by women and men who deserve so much more credit for their work than I do for mine.


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