Corona Virus Effect on our Mission

Exhaling is possible, but doesn’t feel real once we do.  Sometimes we get an absurd flash that we are living through a science fiction novel…and then realize that yes, we are. It is surreal at times.

It’s taking a preponderance of thoughtful daily contemplation to consider that everything changes, we can count on that, and we will get through this together.  The balancing act is retaining buoyancy while also being prudent…being optimistic while also being conservative…and above all, recalling our humanity, particularly at one of “those moments” when things feel like they are melting, and imagining that good will come out of this.  So often in a crisis we can’t conceive of any value in the process, but we are learning an immense amount!

We hope you are all well and happy and taking care of each other.  Online platforms allowing us to check in with each other are incredibly supportive to everyone…families, employment, counseling, students and teachers. If you ever want to visit, please let me know as we use Zoom regularly, and I’m happy to chat!

We were right in the middle of transacting a solution for the well at the Nhimbe Community Center when all of this really broke on the news here. The tests we were doing there, had revealed that the pathogen load including e. coli was high, and although no one had gotten ill, it was all feeling too vulnerable with the number of people using the well, and its propensity to get contaminated from "normal" use. 

We received a quote for $4,200 usd and were prepared to ask for your assistance with this special project to serve the Community Center, as the basis of the preschool and MMC maturing girls program, as well as general meeting use.  This will be a closed water system, which will not only allow the cleanest water to be made available, but also will be expected to have more volume for watering, and the new drip system gardens can be irrigated with greater ease.  All of this means a more sustainable operation in the long run, and not so dependent upon us as the only source of help. This economic shift in the world has really highlighted the need for a self-sufficiency.

As I watched the stock market changing, and the virus wreaking havoc, I knew that it was unlikely that many people would be thinking about Zimbabwe…after all, even getting our own neck of the woods in order feels chaotic.  Maybe there are some of you that are still tuned into our neighbors in Zimbabwe, and not feeling the economic situation here as challenging.  For anyone who is in a position to help us in the well project, please reply or call me at 541-259-HOPE.  I know the timing of this seems impossible for some.

Today, we just received word that the Zimbabwean government has closed the schools effective next Tuesday during this phase of the virus' growth.  Our team has opted to close the preschool Friday, tomorrow, rather than wait.  I knew that last week they were cancelling church gatherings, bira (ceremonies), and the like. We have been in serious discussions about how to proceed for a while, and for now, will watch and wait. 

  • First, we must be solvent and steady for the year ahead.  We really have not faced anything quite like this and so it’s hard to know how to proceed.  2008 was bad in all financial arenas, and this appears to be stocks rather than everything, with gold and silver not taking the hit, in the same way.  So, considering that most of our revenues are coming from donations, and many people may not be thinking about overseas, we need to be extremely frugal with the funds at hand.
  • The other piece is that our normal fundraising, like music classes, performances and selling village crafts, will not be income generating quite the same way.  We just cancelled our classes last week and began a volunteer online meeting as both a source of comfort, and potential place to connect for instructional videos and audios for practicing.  Also, we had an unprecedented number of performances scheduled for this year so far (11 in all, by the end of February!), which is also a key way for us to build community here, sharing the awareness of Zimbabwe, while raising money for the projects. 
  • Since the Nhimbe preschool etc. compensation will be paid through the end of the month, what would be best from that point forward? I’m sure their country will have some precedence to follow that will help direct us through this process in a good way.  Maybe helping the staff with a percentage of regular expected amounts? I’m hopeful guidance is forthcoming.`
  • We also were trying to figure out how we could continue to provide food to the preschoolers without endangering lives, since we have always been their best meal of the day.  There is no easy answer on any of this, as we don’t really have a grasp on how hygiene can be handled.
  • Young girls just keep maturing, and their lives are continuing to blossom. So, in this case too, can we purchase some fabrics now before everything is shut down completely, in advance of our normal batch protocol, and when everything is more settled, be able to continue low profile distribution?

I realize you don’t have all the answers, but if you want to chime in, please reply or call.  The way that many hands make light work, many minds make it manageable.  Thank you!

If you are in a position to help at this time with the well project, please let me know!  Both quality and quantity of water …I vote yes…anybody with me? We would need to raise $4,200.

Thank you for your time and consideration…if you made it to the end of this, thank you for that!

Jaiaen

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