Love Zimbabwe update

As many of you know, there have recently been problems in Zimbabwe. In January, people took to the streets to protest about the rampant inflation. Shops had minimal food supplies, and what was in stock was unaffordable for nearly everyone.

Petrol is now the most expensive in the world, so it is impossible to afford transport to be able to get around and trade goods or find cheaper alternatives.

The rioting resulted in six people killed by soldiers on the streets.

As a response to these problems, Martha decided to climb Pen-Y-Fan, the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons to make people more aware of the situation.

She managed to choose one of the days when snow came to the county! However, on the day the sun also came out and made the climb possible.

Martha’s good friend from Pembrokeshire, Samara Hawthorn accompanied her as it would have been a very difficult solo task.

They managed to go up and back in two and a half hours, which was a good time in the circumstances. I was there to welcome them down and give them both welcoming mugs of hot tea!

Prior to the day, Martha had set up a Just Giving page and had already collected £700.

After the climb, the figure increased, and the total amounted to £1,200, due in part to the generosity of members from the Methodist Church contributing £320.

The money will come to Zimbabwe with us in April and be spent on the Library/Learning centre.

Unfortunately, because of the recent troubles, John Griffiths, AM for Newport East cancelled his visit. We had also planned to take students with us but have decided that the conditions may not be suitable at the moment.

Martha, Tanaka and I will be going out for three weeks to hopefully finish the Library building and to work on our new project. This is a conservation project on a new plot of land, donated by Chief Chinamhora. We plan to plant 3,000 trees and develop a sustainable planting programme involving 100 local women. We have to fence the 4-hectare site which is about 5km from the community centre on the side of a mountain.

We will arrange a talk to church members on our return from Zimbabwe in May.

We obviously hope for peaceful solutions in the country and ask you to pray for us on our trip.

Another date for your diary is Saturday March 9th. We are holding our Fairtrade Fortnight Finale at the church hall from 10am – 5pm. We have a full day of activity, starting with the opening by the Mayor, Teslin Davies and AM Nick Ramsay. This will be followed by a talk from Martha. There will be stalls from Love Zimbabwe and Traidcraft. We then have a talk from Aileen Burmeister, head of Fairtrade Wales followed by music from the excellent Cor Elen. Then we have the beautiful sounds of Kathy Batchelor playing a selection of jazz and show tunes on the flute. Finally, we will show a film- The story of chocolate- Unwrapping the bar. There will be Fairtrade tea, coffee and importantly, cake!

Written by David Holman