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isn't free in Faith's world. Going to school in town for a semester can
cost the equivalent of 4 month's pay, if you're lucky enough to have a
The rural school that Faith's siblings attend costs about 600,000 Zimbabwe
dollars per term for all 3 (the bank rate is 17,000 Zimbabwe dollars to
1 US dollar). They go to a council school, where there is no blackboard
hanging at the front of the classroom... only a blackboard-shaped rectangle
painted on the wall. The chairs and tables are few and ramshackle, but
it's better than at the Lushumbe primary school, near the Masiye Camp,
where the children kneel on the floor. That school has no furniture at
Ezekiel Mafusire, Director of Masiye Camp, describes the tiered-schooling
they have in Zimbabwe, "There are various levels of schools here;
we have schools which are privately owned. These schools used to be for
whites only and are the most expensive ones and well-equipped as well.
They are very Western in their nature. The President, ministers, foreign
diplomats and rich people send their kids there. We also have government-owned
schools [that are] not too bad, and then there are Missionary schools.
These schools were set up by the missionaries who came mostly from Europe
in the 1880’s, and they are owned by Christian churches. These schools
are well run as well. On the bottom of the list comes the rural council-owned
school like Lushumbe primary. These schools receive a paltry grant of
less than 50 US cents per child per year. This is the reason why we really
want to help them, they are so neglected that you feel sorry."
Like many children, Faith didn't always take her school very seriously.
"Well, when I was young I was equally intelligent but I didn't really
[care about school]. I started to be serious about it when I failed my
Ordinary level and I could do nothing; I couldn't continue with education,
I couldn't become what I had dreamnt of becoming, and life became harder.
It was difficult for my mother to take care of me after completing school
and doing nothing. So I made a determination that I would go back to school
Faith and her mother came up with a plan. "I started trading with
her, buying and selling, [and] then I got the money and re-wrote my examinations.
I continued to trade, selling different things, [like] salt, soap, and
second hand clothes in the rural areas. [That's how] I raised money to
go to A level."
Though difficult, selling door-to-door is one of the few ways people can
earn a little money in the country, "Selling was hard because I had
to walk big distances, selling door to door. But I am so used to selling,
that even now, when I get extra money, I buy little things and send [them]
to my grandmother to ask the kids to sell. I mean, that's one of the better
ways to raise money in the rural areas. They don't have an option."
Faith would like it to be better for her sisters, "But if I had an
option I would take my sisters to a better school... but I don't, so that's
where they stay.
"It's hard, really, because the children can not do anything about
the situation that they are in, much as I could not do anything about
my situation when I was young.That's sad, [and] it has always been that
bad. You know, most children this side grow up knowing that life is very
hard, and they sometimes don't find anything to look forward to in life.
Their lives revolve in the same atmosphere and it's just like that."
Remembering when she was a child going to the rural council school, she
says, "But the thing that I wished for most, when I was at school,
was that I could have at least a full and complete school uniform. But
it was not possible."
This year, Faith is attending a college, studying HIV/AIDS Care and Counseling,
"When I joined Masiye my heart was touched by the plight of the children
affected by AIDS, so currently I am studying in that area and I want to
be a Youth and child advocate.
It's not an easy
course of study for Faith — one day, after spending hours on a paper,
she said, "I was cracking my head, working on one of my assignments
at school and, Oh, it ain't easy... But I've got to sacrifice."
Faith devotes a
lot of her spare time to her schoolwork. "I wake up at 5 AM and study
till 6, when I get ready for work. Then I got to school from 5:15 PM to
7:15." After she gets home and eats, she's back to studying and doing
assignments, finally getting to sleep about 10 PM.
Earlier this year, Faith had plans to begin studies in a new area. "Next
year, I may venture into my long-time dream and do a program called Communication
Science. When I was growing up and now, still, I had a passion for TV
When asked what
in the Media she'd like to do, she says, "I would want to be either
behind the scenes or on TV or radio. I just have a passion for media!
I wouldn't mind being a movie star, really, or a producer."
Faith feels the world is filled with possibilities, and has a new dream.
"Well, I am not sure that I will still do the Communication Science
one, I have thought otherwise and I want to do something different now...
I have changed my mind. Next year I am planning to study International
Relations and Diplomacy, that's what I have decided because I want to
be well-versed in what is happening internationally and maybe I could
become a representative."
Faith's enthusiasm and unflinching self-assurance is in sharp contrast
to the suffering and desperation of the world she steers through; she
seems to only see promise and possibilities on her horizon, a remarkable
outlook, given the devastation of her terrain.