Update from Zimbabwe and sponsored bicycle ride
Posted in Updates
15 February 2022
Many of you will know that my last visit to Zimbabwe, intended to last three weeks actually lasted eight because of Covid! This was in some ways a nuisance, in many ways a great pleasure, and gave me the chance to see more of the young people than I would otherwise have done. It also gave me more chance to work with the leadership of Tariro in Zimbabwe, particularly Fr Mutasa and Edwin Komayi and to see how the various Tariro projects are drawing together and making decisions for themselves. It was very encouraging. Tariro has a future in Zimbabwe because the present leaders, and also the young people growing up, care so much to make it work.
One exciting new venture is the agricultural project in the Honde Valley. The pigs were moved down there in October and they seem to have settled well. We hope they will soon start making a good stream of income to help us along. At the same time the boys grew some good sugar beans and some magnificent cabbages. In a small way we are helping the country to feed itself and providing jobs for a couple of our young people.
Covid did mess up the kids’ education and we are still waiting to see the effects of this. Edwin and the trustees did all they could to mitigate this by putting IT facilities in place and also extra coaching. At the end of last year, there were seven youngsters in the rural areas writing A levels and two wrote O levels. The trustees out in Zimbabwe are waiting to see what their results are like so they can decide how to help them forward on the next part of their life.
For me it is the individual youngsters that really make this work so exciting. Lamech is very happy doing an excellent course on agricultural and can now talk in a really informed way about how agriculture in Zimbabwe needs to take account of climate change. Takudzwa, working for a degree in water engineering is also one of those who has to think of how to bring water effectively to places like his own dry area of Shurugwi. Then there is Joram who was abandoned by his grandparents after years of abuse and is now settling in with the sisters at St Francis and doing well enough in school to give hope that he may get into a good boarding school next year.
One great pleasure in this last visit was to meet Munashe whom was taken on last year as a rather scared, unhappy youngster who desperately wanted to go to secondary school. He has blossomed into a stocky little chap with a big smile and, though doing well in academic subjects says his favourite and best subject is woodwork and design. His teacher confirms it. This is good news as he won’t waste time dreaming of being a pilot or a lawyer. He can be trained as a really good carpenter and he will always find work.
Then there is Willard, a delightful lad from an abusive home life. Despite that trauma he did well in school and is now in an excellent boarding school where he should flourish and learn to be happy. I can’t wait to see him in April with a smile on his face!
Shearly Cripps Children’s Home, Chikwaka
Shearly Cripps Home was founded about 60 years ago and has had a great history. I worked there myself as a young priest in the 1970s. In recent years, shortage of money has led to it becoming badly dilapidated. The Government is supposed to fund it but doesn’t. The Church has no money spare. When Edwin and I visited we found twenty-seven kids without a single working toilet or shower, many broken windows unrepaired and many other problems. We decided Tariro just had to step in. With help from a very generous American friend we have replaced the toilets and showers, tiled the walls and floors, and repaired the windows. There is much more needing to be done and a cost attached, but the kids are thrilled with this change in their fortunes. We are praying we will find more money to make this the lovely place it once was.
One good change has been that one of the local nuns, Sr Faustina is now the Administrator. She is a very able and dedicated person and we are working well with her.
You will be glad to know that our finances are reasonably healthy though the renovation of the Home will put them under a lot of strain. As a result of Covid many churches are really short of money. I am touched at how many have still managed to send us some support. So have many individuals. Please keep it up and encourage friends and family to do so as well. Every little helps. Most of our donations come in as little ones and, added up, make for big things.
Fr George has reactivated his sponsored bike ride. It was always intended to focus on our wonderful Anglican saint, Arthur Shearly Cripps. Now that we have taken over the Home named after him this has added significance. At the end of April, Fr George will cycle from Ford End in Essex where Fr Cripps was Vicar before going to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1902, to St Barnabas, Tunbridge Wells, where he was brought up. The Donate link is: Https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/19744
Thank you all for your marvellous support. It is a great privilege for me to visit the young people in Zimbabwe and also a privilege to know of so many people who support us in this work. May God bless you all for your generosity.
Nicolas Stebbing CRRead all News