We donated a Vegtherm and some valves for the tractor at the Learning Village where people from the region are educated. Melanie, from Saltspring Island, BC took the items with her. The people there cannot afford diesel, and sometimes not even get it. They cannot run their truck for trips to town or use their tractor to help in food production. Yet, there is quite a lot of used cooking oil available, and they were already growing both Jatropha, and Moringa, and sunflower, all potential oilseeds for fuel production.
Subject: Arms Wide Open
I am finally in Zimbabwe. Has it been a year? Maybe, but it doesn't feel like more than an season. When I left it was dry like bones left in the savanna sun. Now, after four years the rains have finally come. It feels like it has only been one season since we sat by the fire eating sadza, laughing about each other's country -leaders, sharing stories of ancestors and the the idealized future. there used to also be laughter about the zero's that strangely multiply on the price tags. now that it costs a million Zim dollars to by a bag of apples, a few onions and some grain, no one, not even the peaceful, joyful shona people are laughing. the only laughter we hear is mine, which is charged by absurdity and irony.
I did write a beautiful email to send today, but my PC memory stick wont be accepted by this Mac. So there it will stay for another few days.
I am happy to finally arrive. and I did arrive, fully after a good 13 hour sleep. It was hard to sleep, but I knew the only way I would truly arrive is if I did this and gathered the pieces of me that trailed behind. I can't seem to keep up with the speed of the airplane. Belgium was like a dream. I was jet lagged and lacking two nights sleep. My boss, whom I stayed with would not let me sleep. He loves his city, and wanted to show me every part of it. I even drank Belgian beer and toasted my mum and Jasmyn who would have been proud.
Everyone At Kufunda is good. The ones that are HIV+ are not doing as well, but there is some seeds of hope, as they learn more about how to self medicate from the herb garden that has expanded five fold since I left. There are 100's of jatropha trees and moringa trees planted and thriving. there is wormwood, lavender, rosemary, mint, so much in abundance. We meet today and see what they want to do, where they want to go with it all.
I mention the rains again. It truly is magical to see so much blooming. My friend Sailas told me two nights ago that after 4 years no rain, the govt finally called on the svikiro's the rain bringers, to do ceremony. Funny, this has to be demanded by the govt and not just done anyway. Well, it worked. In each province the svikiro's did ceremony and it rained. In fact so much, that the farmers that depended on fertilizers instead of building up their soil organically had every thing washed away. there is now a resurgence of permaculture, I am told. Harsh reality is what sometimes brings about positive change. when will North America change to bio diesel and organic crops?... the exchange rate is now 1US$ to 200,000 Zim$'s . I am having 60 US changed. I have been warned about the bulk and weight of this paper, since the biggest bill is worth 50,000 (these were recently issued, it used to be 20,000 was the largest bill. the inflation is now at 900%!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is why I laugh. It is just too absurd. Yet people, not all, but most are surviving. Not well, but they are surviving. At Kufunda, people feel lucky. They feel that something special happened to them that they live with so much. There are gardens and water and electricity. There is food. there is a communal lunch every day, at least if nothing else. I have been trying to do this too. See what happens if I just eat one meal a day. It is hard. I get cranky, weak, edgy. Of course I know that I have the option, the privilege to do this. It is an experiment, while this is reality for most. No choice. I hope to send the real email soon. I hope this one is sufficient for now.
So much savanna love to all.