Monday in Chamatutu:
“Chamatutu is at the proverbial end of the road: a small isolated village and one of our newer groups. In the past, they have struggled: they had to learn how to make baskets, they have no water for a garden, they have a poorly motivated population ( on the whole, folks are more interested in gold panning) so today was a HUGE surprise….
We met with the kids- not terribly bubbly, low aspirations. This is not unusual in villages that are new to Zienzele- it takes TIME to develop trust- we must remember that Chamtutu is early in their journey toward thriving self-reliance! Visits to new groups like this also remind Prisca and I to stay conscious of the profound changes we have witnessed in our ‘original’ groups. Sometimes we lose sight of that, having been at their side for each incremental change.
Then we met with the women. There were only about twenty women, many having left the group as their orphans left school. This is for sure one of our smallest groups. They talked with us of the challenges of people not making the baseline of 6 baskets each, of disagreements within the group, and of the inability to attract new members-hopefully it was helpful to talk it through with us.
Then they revealed the baskets.
BEAUTIFUL, HUGE, NUMEROUS BASKETS!!!
A total shock! Chamatutu’s sales wound up equal to the sales of Berejena-a larger, more experienced group!!
We all expressed how impressed we were, and naturally they were very pleased with themselves!
They also got to experience the immediate reward for their excellent basket production: we increased their student number to 26! They also got 2nd prize for the poultry show, so despite their somewhat glum tone, SOMETHING sure is working in Chamatutu!
We then went to Arch Munaka Secondary for a typically dreary meeting with the headmaster (again, once Zienzele is well-established, all these relationships improve) and then we met with our 13 secondary school students. We have five Form 5 students, and we look forward to getting to know them better when they come to Masvingo to join our Zienzele secondary student workshops next weekend!”