Martha arrived in Zimbabwe on the 28/07/2019. Martha went to see Chief Chinamhora who was at the courts. He promised that he was going to come to the community centre soon after the court. She was very delighted when he turned up with all the court officials. She clearly explained to him and some committee members that the purpose of this trip was to start work on the new land.
The first meeting with the chief was very successful. It was agreed that Love Zimbabwe Charity would have to be accepted traditionally to start work by the spirit mediums. They were assigned to organise an all-night traditional celebration when the chief was going to address the community and officially hand over the land to Love Zimbabwe. Traditional beer had to be brewed in preparation for the celebrations. They informed all traditional healers in the local area about the celebration. They were asked to purchase a cow and to provide food for the community. The event lasted for two days. The mothers of disabled children worked very hard in preparing everything that was needed including taking part in the whole process of brewing the beer. This beer is made of sorghum malt and grain and takes 7days to ferment. A trip had to be organised between the mothers, myself and Taurai to go and purchase ingredients from Mbare Musika (major trading market for all sorts of stuff).
Meanwhile, two herdsmen were assigned by Chief Chinamhora to work with us throughout the process. Our first point of call was the spirit medium’s house. They had to invite as many spirit mediums as possible and this had to be done in time before the Bira (the traditional celebration) because they would not go ahead with the ceremony if they did not approve.
On 29/07/19, Taurai, Tafadzwa, one of the headmen, Mr Mutake and Martha went to visit the village spirit medium. It was not an easy process, but the headman guided us through. She is one of the most well-respected spiritual mediums in the community. Accordingly, they can tell whether one is a bad person or not. If they said that your work is not welcome in the village, then that’s the end of the story. It came to my relief that our work was greatly approved and welcomed. They then invited the spirit medium to attend the ceremony and he agreed. He promised to bring more spiritual people from the village. They did not agree on a date as they were still waiting for the chief to give them a date. Therefore, they agreed that they would drive back to inform them as soon as the chief had given us a date.
Meeting with Village heads at the community centre
Martha was very pleased to welcome 4 village heads at the community centre to discuss way forward. They selected a new committee that was going to help with administering and managing work at the new land. They assigned duties on procurement for building materials and agreed they were all going to meet again at the new land for mapping out. They agreed to meet the next day at the new land. They were served lunch by the mothers
Meeting with Chief Chinamhora and Headman Gwindi
Taurai, Martha and headman Mutake left the community centre just after midday to meet chief Chinamhora and headman Gwindi. They needed to inform the chief about the outcome of the trip to the spirit medium. They also wanted the chief to give us a date for the bira. Martha told the chief about the meeting with the village heads and that they were all ready to start working at the new land. Martha asked the chief to give us a written consent to start work at the new land. They needed to build a toilet in 7 days! They met the chief at the Showgrounds (our local shopping centre).
The following day the mothers started the beer brewing process. They then realised that the date they had in mind for the celebration- the 11/08/2019 was a bank holiday (Defences Forces Day and Heroes Day on the 12th). They eventually agreed that the ceremony was going to be held on the 13/08/19.
First visit to the new land!
They agreed that they were going to take some mothers to the new land. They were going to recruit builders from the village and buy local equipment such as bricks, river sand, and stones.
They spent the day clearing a pitch for tree nursery and seeded over 2,000 acacia trees. A well was dug which filled up with water just after 2 metres deep. They assigned 4 people to cast rings that would be placed at the bottom of the well to keep it in place. The water was clean therefore they didn’t have to worry about drinking water for the ceremony. They all drank water from the well. They ordered farm bricks and assigned people to start digging the toilet. Four boys from the village were tasked to work on the road-there was no clear access to the top of the hill for delivering goods.
Building work on the new land
Building work started. They decided to build a two roomed house that would be used for storing materials and as a dwelling for someone to live at the land for security. Martha was pleased that the builders were very hard working and the toilet was finished just before the ceremony. It is now open to public. They have many people who go past the land into the valley beneath. The toilets were buikt with a wash compactment in themiddle. Here is the finished toilet building.
Heroes day – 12th August
This was Heroes day! Martha was up at 5 am. She noticed a huge group of soldiers going past the community centre. I had to make sure that all the food was ready to go in the car on the first trip. During the day, Taurai made 5 trips to and from the new land delivering chairs, cooking pots, blankets, the mothers and trees. Martha walked down the shops where she hired a truck to go and fetch the tents. They also needed to transport some cement from the shops. Then Martha joined Taurai in the rest of the trips. They had planted over 500 trees at the community centre. Together with the mothers, they transported all the trees in a different lorry that Taurai hired. Most of these are fruit trees which will make a great fruit orchard at the new land.
The day of the traditional ceremony!
This was the day they held the traditional ceremony (Bira). Views of the new land!
Parents of disabled children at the community centre
Apart from all the running around with the new land, parents of disabled children also needed attention. Each day there was at least 5-6 mothers at the centre with their children. Wednesday is the day that they all came. Martha held several meetings and spent time picking corn for maize meal. Major discusions were on how to look after the children and how the mothers want to run the center together with Taurai and Tafadzwa. They had sessions when they taught the mothers of children with celebral palsy how to give massaging therapy to their chidren. They also spent time painting one of the walls in the sensory/play room.