In Zimbabwe people don’t talk about problems but ‘challenges’. I think this is supposed to give it a more positive feel. Our current challenge is to find fees for our University students who begin in February. Dumisani in Chinoyi, Talent in Masvingo, Vanencia, Tariro, Kundai and Wellington in Harare cost us about £3,000 a year each. That’s much less than England but still a lot for us to find. Yet it is so marvellous they have made it through the difficulties of their lives that we really must help them complete this journey.
Here is just one of the many stories I could share with you from Tariro Nyenda:
“It was on 17th July 2006 when life became tough to me. On that day they buried my father. All my dreams, plans and aspirations were all washed away with the blow of death. Unmindful of what the future had in store for me I had faith in myself and I knew very clearly that I had to move out of that place. Because I had a goal I had a strong reason to live. So gathering up my courage I left the village and its people, left the dead bodies behind, I walked across the roads, through the bush, through the dongas. I moved ahead until I reached a convent of Roman Catholic sisters.”
Twelve year old Tariro stood there in the silence, looking at that convent.
I had been crying all day, crying with hunger, crying with fear, with pain. Suddenly a lady came out; she hugged me tightly in her arms. Only tears expressed how I felt when she asked me why I was there. She told me to go back home and to wait for help from the invisible hands, the hands that created this world. I waited because that was all I could do.
I waited for over a year and no sign of relief came I began to lose hope, and then one day I heard the sound of a motor car. Cars were rare in our district. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I found it was coming in our direction. It was the lady I saw a year before at the convent. She told me to pack my things and leave for an orphanage with the name of Shearly Cripps Children’s Home. Here I found peace, love, comfort and all my needs. I went to school and did well. I passed my O levels with 3 A’s and 4 B’s.
In 2011 there was a split in our church and the nuns were chased away by the excommunicated bishop and the police. From that time I suffered a lot because I supported the nuns and tried to care for the other children who were suffering. In November 2012 I was chased away. My village was 200 kms away from the orphanage. I was in despair and was about to commit suicide but I realised the words of that nun “Wait for the invisible hands to hold the situation.”
One of the nuns who had been chased away, Sr Praxedes, was now working at Tariro Youth Project in Harare. She heard about my situation and brought me to this house where I have lived ever since.”
Tariro went to the local high school and got very good A levels, despite the trauma she had been through and is now doing Development Studies at the Women’s University near the TYP house. She has grown into a beautiful, poised and delightful young lady and we have great hopes for her future.
You can see how rewarding it is to work with youngsters like these.
I arrive in Harare on 1st February and have a number of things on my agenda:
- Visit all four centres (TYP Harare, Penhalonga, Chipinge, St Francis Shurugwi) to see the children and supporters.
- Visit the boarding schools to make sure our kids have all they need, and to show them they are not forgotten.
- Arrange a meeting of trustees at TYP to talk about the future of Tariro and see if we can develope our vision to embrace a larger idea of how we can serve Zimbabwe our Christian commitment. I hope this will involve a commitment to environmental issues as well as to finding ways of helping other young people in similar situations of distress. We will bring our older students into this conversation because in the end it is a vision they must make their own.
- Look into the possibilities of re-starting the Children’s Home at St Augustine’s which fell on hard times last year.
- A direct debit even of a small monthly amount provides us with a steady income which we desperately need.
- LENT. Ask your church if they can support us. If they have another charity to support for Lent ask if you could have one special collection for Tariro after a service. Give up something that costs you money and let us have what it saves you. You will be surprised how much that can be!
- Tell other people about Tariro; pass on this newsletter and recommend people subscribe to it (they can email me or sign up on the website), “like” our Facebook page and invite your friends to like it as well. Ask any group of people you meet with if they would like to help us. Don’t be embarrassed or scared. The worst that can happen is that people may say No. They are more likely to be helpful and say Yes, or at least be interested.
This will help us a lot and I think you will find you enjoy it!
With thanks for all your support and encouragement