Even in the midst of this globally challenging year, time flies, courage rises, hope does not lose its power, and the struggle continues!
As I thought about this report and all that we continue to hope and struggle for, I was reminded of a blog I wrote a few years back and it just seemed appropriate:
"Everything in me pulsed as I watched the scene from the documentary “Reparando” of a native woman named Tita looking out over La Limonada, the Guatemalan slum in which she lived and had started a school. The filmmaker asked Tita about what was apparently assaulting their senses from their vantage point. Her reply was this, “All I smell is hope, and I like it”.
That, right there, is my “why”. It is my life driving passion to smell out hope and to dance with it... barefoot wherever possible. It always has been.
Sound like fun? The interesting thing I am learning about pursing hope is that, contrary to the common ethereal perception of it, it is most often a jagged, relentless challenger, not satisfied to leave me shaped the ways I was at first, or last, encounter. It jolts me at every opportunity, never allowing for comfort in my own ability to formulate solution, never hosting my vanity stemmed from privilege or place or the relative means I have to walk wherever I may. Sometimes hope smells like African rain falling on dry ground and when it does, it washes me and I need it. But mostly it stirs up things that stink and when it does, it grows me and I’m learning to love it.
Hope is not about dominating or changing the face of me, of you, of a community, of a slum, of the state of a nation. Hope is about stirring the thrive of a nation, of a slum, of a community, of you and of me. The target of hope has never been to expose who we are or are not in relation to one another. Its target exposes our own “why’s” and challenges ownership of them for our futures and the futures of those we have the privilege to share in.
So, let it stir you. Let it stink. Let it challenge who or what your “why’s” are really about. All I smell in the process is hope, and I like it!"
As I read through this again, the "why" of myself and team, as we smell the hope in the Zimbabwean slum areas we love and are so grateful to walk and inspire hope in every day, became powerful again. No doubt this year is hard! Still in lockdown, we have supported as many families, including child-headed homes, as we have been able with food distributions. We have seen domestic violence increase as the pressures of survival, in these and all of our families, has intensified greatly. We have had to remind ourselves as community to watch out for and support each other when instinct pulls us in toward self-preservation. We have had to choose, each day, to embrace the jagged edges of hope.
May our journey with hope in difficult times stir yours as you take a moment to hear from us today. As you see our masked faces in the photo's each of our Oasis programming team took of themselves, and as you read the few words written to you underneath those frontline faces, may hope rise for you too. Let it stir, let it stink, let it challenge.....
A luta continua!