Introducing Faith
Masiye Camp Explained
The Splashgirls
The Swiss Connection
Faith talks about AIDS
Faith and Volunteering
Ezekiel Mafusire, Masiye Camp Director
Faith and School
Faith Visits Her Rural Home
Faith at Home
Copyright 2005
Zina Saunders
All rights reserved

Meeting Faith's world.
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got in touch with Faith by way of my Overlooked New York project, which is a series of portraits and interviews with quirky groups of New Yorkers. I had been interviewing bike messengers, and one of them, Stacy, told me that she was trying to raise funds to bring an all-girls bike messenger company of AIDS orphans from Zimbabwe to New York for the bike messenger Olympics. Women bicycle messengers are very rare in New York, so the idea of an all-girls bike messenger company was pretty interesting, and the fact that they were AIDS orphans and in Africa made it even more intriguing. Here, I thought, was an inspiring story of how young women were rising to the terrible challenges they were facing in Africa. I wanted to pursue it.

I should admit here that I knew nothing about what life is like in Africa, and had only the sketchiest notion about the AIDS epidemic there. I had seen the statistics and the despairing quotes in the media over the years, but the situation had never been made real to me.

After contacting Faith, I started asking more and more questions about what life is like there, and the whole thing shifted from quirky to much deeper and more human. And the bike messenger company, the Splashgirls, had fallen on hard times, and the whole political situation there started deteriorating even more over the last months... well, it became much more about trying to put a human face on the suffering and poverty and desperate problems they are facing in Africa.

For years I've been reading serious history books about the Middle Ages, and I've often wondered what it was like to live through the Black Death, when a third of everyone living in Europe died ... that's what they face in Africa, and I've been learning a little about how they brave the ordeal.

And while the world watches Africa slipping further into chaos, millions of people like Faith try to pull themselves out of the maelstrom.