Mr. and Mrs. Dube with their garden
I just returned from Zimbabwe last night and while I am tired, I am also exhilarated. I visited families who received livestock and seeds last year and who are now watching their herds and gardens grow. I was hugged and kissed and made to feel like a family member. I hugged and kissed back and held babies and vaccinated goats. I attended trainings and counted new babies added to flocks and herds (14 new kids this past month and countless rabbits). I passed out photos I took last year and watched as my friends danced and clapped at seeing themselves in a photo. The smiles of joy were amazing to watch and to hold on to.
One of the families that took my heart are in the photographs with this report. They are elderly, as you can see. They are raising EIGHT orphaned children, ranging from 3 years old to 16 years old. Together, the family is working the land to work a small set of gardens where they grow veggies for themselves. They also are raising the goats we gave them and to date, they have 5 in their herd, with one pregnant goat about to give birth.
With his ripped sweater and pants and scary cough (we need to see what is happening there), Mr. Dube is all smiles, as is his wife, whenwe conduct a spot visit to their humble dwelling. He proudly shuffles to their garden (he is 83!) to show me what is going on there. I see that the garden is nicely mulched and congratulate them on a job well done. The couple smiles and says that they do it for and with the children, as they want them to have a better life. They all eat better now - greens, oranges, yellows, and whites on their plates each day.
I am humbled by our visit to the Dube family. I am touched by their love for the children and for the hard work they do to care for them. When I thought my feeling of fullness was all I could feel, I hear Mrs. Dube say to her husband as she looks at the photo I give them, "Tanya loves us". I turn to her and say "oh, yes, I do". We hug. I get back into the truck and with a tear in my throat, wave an "I'll see you soon" wave out the window.
My heart is full.
Dubes with two of the children in their care