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

Faith in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
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has lived all her 22 years in Zimbabwe, a country that has been steadily sinking further and further into poverty, famine, and an AIDS epidemic that has infected nearly 30% of the total population.

When she was 18, her stepfather died of AIDS, and she spent the next year caring for her mother, until her mother, too, died in 2002. That year was the most important year of her life, "Because I felt I got more time to spend with my mother. I believe I did everything I could, I believe I did my best, and I was with her when she needed me most."

Faith had already been a volunteer counselor at the Masiye (pronounced mah-si-yee) Camp, a Salvation Army sponsored organization that offers psychological counseling to AIDS orphans. "I started to volunteer at the camp when I was 16. I volunteered because I heard people talking about Masiye Camp, and how they were helping the children... and where I was living there were so many orphan children. So I would help on weekends, and share stories, and just play with them. Just to help with the children."

What began as a desire to help other children cope with losing their parents, became her own reality, when both her parents died.

"And now, I know how people feel, because I've been there. I know that before our parents died, they had dreams for us, but they can no longer help us accomplish those dreams. But that doesn't mean to stop dreaming. So I just told myself, that whatever I wanted in life, I was going to achieve it."

Faith was not the only orphan in her family; she had 3 younger sisters and a brother, who now relied on Faith to help support them. She needed to find work, and finding a job looked impossible, in a country with more than 70% unemployment.

But the Masiye Camp had already begun planning the Splashgirls, an all-girls bicycle messenger service they set up to provide jobs for AIDS orphans in Bulawayo, the second largest city in Zimbabwe.

Ezekiel Mafusire, the Director of the Masiye Camp, describes the selection process for the Splashgirls, "How the girls were chosen was that there were young girls who were now the heads of their households, so we chose the most needy out of them. Faith was one of those."

But he considers Faith special, "I think that Faith, she's a bit unusual. Looking at the situation, she's very positive. She sets her goals, and she's very self-driven."