Zimbabwe, Mozambique
January 2019

We were to land in Harare to pick up the Numwa women to take them to Mozambique, but the day before leaving a civil up rising started and we decided to stop in joburg and drive up to the farm in Sussendenga which took us 3 days to arrive.

Starting in joburg we drove up to the border on the first day. A 10 hour long drive took us to inhambane on the second day and finally 8 more hours on the last day got us to Sussendenga.

We decided to set up the sewing room and buy the sewing machines hoping that in the meantime violence would end in Zimbabwe and the Numwa women would manage to join us in Mozambique.

Taking into consideration the social structure within the villages, we met with the chief of the village to ask permission to do our project. He was enthusiastic about the project and agreed we could set up the sewing group.

Our next step was to meet with the woman selected to head the new sewing group and choose the other women that would join. One of women was the chief’s daughter who at age 13 married and had her first child. She shared with us her story and the difficulty between schooling and tradition and not being able to go to school as she married young.

We were now ready to set the sewing group so we drove to Breira to buy the sewing machines and material. This was an adventure on its own as we encountered flash floods, towns surrounding Breira were flooded and the river banks bursting.

We pushed forward and managed to find the machines. Bought them and left as risked being stranded with the road getting washed away.

Fortunately, the violence had stopped in Zimbabwe and the next day the  Numwa women managed to arrive to the Mozambique border by bus and we picked them up.

We spent the following day shopping for material, underwear, towels and soap. We also met a Zimbabwean woman who was interested in joining us the next day to also learn how to make the kits to set up a group in her town.

Trainig day arrived and the new women’s group at the farm began their sewing lessons. It was incredible to be a part of the cultural exchange that happened while amidst the sewing, they taught each other their local songs.

After a successful long day of sewing, we accompanied the women back to the village and wanted to give our respects to the chief. He introduced us to his many grandchildren and his wife who offered us a cockerel to take home to eat. After a hair-raising chase of dogs after chickens and the kids running after the dogs, when a dog caught the cockerel they all stopped and the dog took it to the chief’s wife who then presented it to us to take home – alive fortunately.

Sewing, chanting and many more anecdotes after, we managed to make 50 menstrual kits and the new group was ready!

It was time to pack up and say our goodbyes.
We continued and drove to Imire Rhino & Wildlife Concervancy, home to our Numwa sewing group.

We spent a couple of days there in order to distribute menstrual kits to school girls. We wrapped up our days there with lunch with the women – there is a saying or rather a story where a man visited a friend in a neighbouring country and was given a wonderful stay and so to say to your hosts as a return favour “we are fed up and when you come to our country we will revenge’ so the women had their revenge and made us an amazing local cuisine lunch.

As we left the farm we stopped to look at a python and suddenly we couldn’t stop the snake from getting into the car and settleing behind the gas tank. We had trouble trying to get him out and ended driving to Harare with the snake somewhere in the car.

Last days were spent in Harare and then back home.

All ended well for the cockerel we called him Giuseppe and we found him a chicken mate, Giuseppina, and they are living happily ever after on the farm.

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