Love Zimbabwe Grows

Summary of events during 2014

It has been a very busy year so far for David and Martha Holman and their charity Love Zimbabwe. David and Martha moved to Gilwern, Wales in April and have been busy planting lots of organic vegetables!

FairtradeIndividualAward2013

Fair Trade Wales Award for Inspiring the Nation.

The charity raises money for essential projects in rural areas of Zimbabwe such as boreholes for fresh water, improving medical services at their local clinic in Domboshawa and establishing an area of community land where local people can grow food and work in the workshop built there last year. The workshop was constructed by David and Martha last November with funding from the Castle Street Methodist Church. It has been used primarily by the mothers of disabled children group to make batiks.

In June the couple were guests at the Fairtrade Wales conference in Swansea where Martha was given an award for ‘Inspiring the Nation’ for her work with Fairtrade Wales.

Martha&Awards

Martha with her awards at Glastonbury.

Following this they took their 2 year old daughter, Tanaka, to Glastonbury where they set up a large stall selling fairly traded arts & crafts from Zimbabwe. Fortunately the weather was fine and a good amount of money was raised. Another award was presented here for sustainability and the people’s choice for the best stall at Glastonbury.

 

JEREMY VINE

Dave & Martha with Jeremy Vine and ZimVoices, Gilwern, Wales.

Soon after this Martha received a phone call from BBC Radio 2 asking whether she would like to tell her life story as part of a new series on the Jeremy Vine show which comes out at the end of September. Jeremy Vine visited David and Martha at their home and spent all day there recording the programme.

 

Read the review of our recent Zimbabwe visit

A collaborative piece from Sam Hawthorn, Dan Grimshawe, Martha Musonza-Holman, Steve Jarvis and Taurai Sinaro.

On Arrival

Wow what an experience! Just five and a half weeks felt like a lifetime! We were all really touched by the spirit of Africa, and are deeply grateful to have had the possibility to travel to the community centre and experience life together there.
Life started quickly in Chinamhora, many friends to make, children to greet, it took a few days to settle in, especially the children who were the centre of attention for all the local boys. After that period, the work started as everyone became accustomed to village life.

Thank you very much to Martha, Dave and their family and friends, to Martha’s mother, Gogo Rosie and her family, to the mothers, the children and the men of the community, for the warm welcome and support we received during the visit to Zimbabwe this year. Our lives and those of our children were deeply enriched and inspired by the experience and by the friendships and connections we all made there. We were all sad to leave, and hope to return again.

Steve-

Within the scheduled time, the water tank was built with a lot of help from everyone there, and the tree nursery with shade nets was constructed. As well as many other projects, these along with the tree planting, were my main focus. At times I had to overcome my frustrations, which were related to material availability, tool scarcity etc. When you have no access to things like a cordless drill (or any drill) and a saw that China sends willingly at a high price but then decides it doesn’t like its job after all, a broken tape measure, but god bless the multi-fix-all ability of wire, it’s tough. This is the situation for the majority of the world’s population, and it was a learning experience for me to see how well the local people cope, along with a strong trait for adaptability.

Tree Planting Project

On a personal level I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. To be in Africa, the birthplace of humanity, the music, wildlife, stories and the open-hearted people, who struggle so much day to day, truly touched my heart. Visiting Lake Chivero was the highlight for the boys and us all I think, especially seeing the crocodiles.  It was a welcome break from the work at the center and driving to meetings, town, shopping etc.

By the end of our visit, everything we set out to do had been achieved and we were all still talking to each other. So a successful trip all round. At times it was hard and the challenges of Zimbabwe are huge compared to life here. To not have a dollar in your pocket (or know when your next one might come), the small projects set up in Chinamora could help in an encouraging manner, even in the way of people feeling they are not alone in the world and others are willing to help. The visit for me was definitely a two way exchange – I have come home with rich memories of how people can share, laugh at dire situations and, with a strong sense of family bonds, move through hardship.

Samara-
The centre, projects, gardens and people evolved during the visit, moving and growing through different phases and stages, until finally the grand opening day was held on our second to last day.

Martha, Dave and Taurai gave a tour of the centre and land, past the two new African huts, then the new septic tank, and onto Taurai’s talk about the thriving sustainable gardens and methods he is trialling from his training in Uganda. The gardens are now protected with a new chicken and goat proof fence, and newly planted hedge of acacia.

We passed the new water collection tank, next to the new tree nursery, where Taurai’s new contacts and partners from the training centre gave an informative talk about the importance of agro forestry and planting trees from seed.

Then the Headman cut the opening ribbon to the newly completed and painted working toilets and showers! The Headman promptly shooed everyone out so he could christen the toilet! He emerged looking very content.

The women were sewing the moon pads, and gave one out free to every woman at the open day, and showed others the work they were doing.

Mai Katsande had her bags and fantastic aprons on display, with Martha modeling one that said, “If you are hungry, ask me!”

Our two traditional African huts

Congratulations to everyone on all their hard work, and so much appreciation of the time and commitment all put into the whole trip so we could achieve so much.

Martha –

When it comes to supporting projects and individuals in the community, I found that it is essential to critically analyse the repercussions of the support before providing it. We are a small charity and funding is extremely tight, whilst we are in Zimbabwe there are so many people who rely on us and hope that we will sponsor them for the year. But, as a charity the hardest thing is remembering that there isn’t enough money to support everyone. In the UK and Zimbabwe, we constantly fundraise and seek funding, but I cannot emphasize enough that the work we do is only made possible by our supporter’s kind donations.

We are still a small charity and each trip brings back a lot of education, every year I feel that Love Zimbabwe is becoming better known. I want to thank everyone who went to Zimbabwe on this trip, there was so much work that was accomplished in such a short period of time. Taurai (Our community center manager), your team at the community centre is amazing. Keep up the good work. I am so impressed with the key-hole garden and the other little nitrogen gardens that you have planted around the centre. It was so difficult to leave, especially with the newly implemented flush toilets and shower!

Dan-

Every time I return to Africa, I learn so much more about myself. My tolerances, needs and necessities, how to adapt to different situations and abilities to communicate. The most fulfilling aspect of the work Love Zimbabwe does is the fact that it provides individuals with so much inspiration. The rich knowledge you gain from each trip would be impossible to teach without experiencing it and living within the real Zimbabwe. Being on the ground and providing so much support to Zimbabweans who genuinely need it is far more rewarding than anything I have ever done.

On returning back to New York, I feel completely refreshed and as an artist, I take so much from these lived adventures. I cannot stress enough how much Love Zimbabwe depends on support from our supporters, the work we do couldn’t be possible without you.

Martha and Sam giving an assembly

Taurai –

The bright future is there!, LoveZimbabwe is really growing and I am excited with the MOUs ( Memorandum Of Understandings) that were signed between the charity and different government bodies here! I would also like to thank the trustees and volunteers who were with us for the past month, may the almighty bless you all for your kindness!

Samara-

I think we were all humbled by the generosity, resourcefulness and resilience of the people.

Today I saw a quote..

“A community is not a place where you can stay without having a sense of who is around, nor is it an item on the market for sale. Rather, a community is an environment where you can find a home in each other’s heart and soul. It is a living entity with spirit as its anchor, where a group of people are empowered by one another and by the ancestors to be themselves, to carry out their purpose, and use their power responsibly.”

 

Donations of Medical Supplies & Clothes

During our annual visits to Zimbabwe between 2007 and 2010, we have donated medical supplies, water purifying tablets, a large number of wheelchairs and numerous suitcases of clothes and shoes. British Airways have supported us by waiving the extra baggage charges when we’ve flown with them to Lusaka, Zambia, so we were able to take these essential goods for the community.

In 2009 we delivered 400 kilograms of medical supplies to the area during the cholera epidemic, which claimed many lives. This medication helped to save many more lives during that period. In addition the clinic and a locally based doctor, were able to hand out condoms and antibiotic drugs to individuals, ensuring that they are able to protect themselves against the threat of HIV and Aids and this has prevented many premature deaths.

We continue to collect medical equipment, clothes and basic sanitary essentials and send them all year round by post.

What our work means for the people

“I’m so grateful to the work of Love Zimbabwe which has served lives for the people in this community. I was seeking to emigrate from this country, but because of the support that I have received from Love Zimbabwe, I shall stay and serve my people. Thank you Love Zimbabwe.”

Dr Mbambe, St James Clinic, Chinamhora.

Water is essential

Bore water hole

A key project that was sponsored by the charity in 2009, was the drilling of a bore hole – the community’s only water supply  – which is essential to everyone.  It meant that the clinic was able to operate, saving lives and the whole village has water to survive. The charity still relies on funds to maintain all water projects in Zimbabwe. We are keen to find volunteers to sponsor and fundraise for water projects specifically.

During our annual visit in 2012, we funded the work to lay water pipes so another part of the Chinamhora community can be connected to the municipal water supply.  This is quite a distance from the borehole and was essential to provide a basic human resource to more remote parts of Zimbabwe.

Clinic facilities

Between September 2009 and November 2012, Love Zimbabwe Charity completed a sanitation project  to put flushing toilets and bathrooms into the nurses homess and the maternity room for Chinamhora Clinic. Prior to this, there were no washing facilities at all.

Building the Workshop

Our main project has been the building of a workshop for the arts and crafts producers in the community. They need space to work, access to running water and space to store their products.

The site was completed in 2012 and has now been painted with murals. This is a huge step forward for the community producers and is already in full use. The great thing about our centre is that everyone accesses it. The community spirit is incredible and we rely on the mothers of disabled children to hoe the grass and maintain the landscape.

Taurai Sinaro, our charity trustee based in Zimbabwe, is now temporarily occupying one small room in the workshop for security, and to manage the use of the workshop with our producers. He will also be managing various food-growing projects on the land. If you wish to see our projects first hand please contact us and we can arrange a tour of the centre.