(This post went out last night but got buried in the Mailchimp post, so here I'm re-sending it.)
Like many of you, our Zimbabwean neighbors, although on the opposite side of our earth, are very much daily in our hearts and minds.
Currently, the situation is much like Oregon with a limited number of Covid-19 cases, and governmental intervention to keep it that way. Last week we heard they closed Western Union, as well as most all stores except large markets. Then also, the postal services from the US to Zimbabwe were ceased until at least the 19th of April, due to lack of flights. This week we hear that banks, including Western Union, will reopen on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. But, to travel to town, a person would need to present a supporting letter from the police. Soon, we will know more. Everyone waits by their radios in the rural area to hear the news as it unfolds for each day.
This is harvest time and most people would normally have a good harvest but due to the drought, some farmers in the Nhimbe area, are reaping only 30-40 kgs of maize to use for their whole year. Four days ago the government announced a delivery from World Food Program to those who were eligible. Those selected people receive 6 kg mealie meal (ground maize), ¾ litre cooking oil and 1.5 kg peas. The food was distributed according to the number of people residing at the homestead. Not everyone is chosen and so, food continues to be a challenge.
Everyone is in a lock down mode with armed guards at the store next to our Community Center. Soldiers and police were deployed to keep people from gathering. There are a few stores now open again, but little that one can buy because the shelves are empty, since wholesale shops have not reopened. Generally, no one is allowed to be walking around, unless they are on their way to their fields. City life is also restricted and most people are staying home. Fortunately, they know to wear some form of mask on their face and have heard about washing hands with soap. TV also is very informative for most in the city.
We have been talking about the idea that wearing masks really help a person remember not to touch their face, and it really isn't full protective gear. We are discussing how to implement a way to support the villagers in making masks. My sister here, like many gifted seamstresses, are making masks and donating where there is a need. She is helping us to describe an easy mask to sew, since she has made many and continues to make improvements. There aren’t many ways for us to help them, but this seems like one possibility, although our team there and I haven’t sorted logistics. Education is largely word of mouth in the rural area, but if you can’t gather and visit it changes everything. One possibility is when the print shop reopens, a pattern could be printed with instructions on one side, and other educational information on the other. We continue to wait upon the unfolding.
When I saw that stores were to be closing here, I asked Patricia to go out and buy 8 batches of MMC supplies. enough for 120 girls, so when the stores closed there, we would at least have our basic materials. No one knows the future, but we do know that girls don’t stop blossoming. If stores are closed, we might borrow the MMC purse fabric we just purchased, and use for mask making, which would make approximately 200 masks. Just a thought.
Thank you again for your interest and support, now more than ever!
We totally understand that some of you are facing very difficult family circumstances and financial hardship. We are holding you all in our thoughts and hearts, and we know we will get through this together!