Thursday, June 07, 2007

Joy...Down in my SOUL

Last week I got to go to another Kufusa Mari graduation field day in the city of Mutare. Normally, Kufusa Mari works mainly in rural areas, but recently ASAP has adapted the project for implementation in urban environments like Mutare.

It was so much fun to see the women dance, tell stories, and sing together in celebration of their success! This time, I even got to give a speech to the graduates congratulating them on their accomplishments. When Joseph Miti, the Kufusa Mari Project Manager, asked me to speak I protested saying that I was here to learn from these strong women not the other way around. He laughed and told me that I didn’t have to talk for long; everyone would just want to hear my funny American voice! However, he maintained that I should speak because seeing a woman speaking confidently to a large group would be encouraging to women who may not be accustomed to having a voice even in their own homes. According to Miti, many of these women faced opposition from their husbands when they decided to join Kufusa Mari, but were brave to pursue the opportunity anyway and now have won over their whole families. These women are courageous and willing to battle through adversity in the hope of a better life for their families.

This field day was a special one for me because I also had the privilege of helping to hand out the diplomas and t-shirts to graduates. I got to shake the hand of each graduate and personally congratulate them on their hard work and admirable accomplishments. At the end of the ceremony, Lovemore Manjoro and Causemore Samanga declared Marty and me to be graduates as well and gave us both our own Kufusa Mari t-shirt! As they handed me the t-shirt, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the people, experiences, and lessons that are coming my way this summer.

Then, to top it all off, I ran into Netsai Chikohomero from my last blog entry and was able to talk with her awhile longer! All in all, it was one of my favorite days in Zim so far. Life has not been kind to most of the women and men who graduated from the Kufusa Mari program, but despite everything else going on in their lives and in their country, they know how to be joyful in celebrating their blessings.



Louise said...

Good day Stephanie,

I am a South African, and have finally come to the realsation that I can no longer sit on the sidelines with regards to poverty in my very own country. I have recently joined the One campaign online and am busy looking for "causes" close to home, somewhere I can help/volunteer/get involved. I don't mind donating, but really feel that I'm called to be actively a part of something. If you could contact me via email that would be most appreciated.

ASAP Africa said...

It is so encouraging to hear about others who feel passionately that something needs to be done in Southern Africa! I applaud your commitment to get involved and help others with both your finances and your energy. If you were in Zimbabwe, I'm sure we could find a way for you to help out in a volunteer capacity, but there are plenty of other non-profits working in South Africa who could use an extra pair of hands. Look for an organization that focuses on sustainable change directed by the participants themselves. There are plenty of places where you could help deliver handouts, but if you really want to see an end to poverty, you have to empower people to help themselves. Happy non-profit searching! Leave us a comment to let us know what you find!