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

Lushumba Primary School.
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Education 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 job.

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 all.

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 and learn."

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 and Radio."

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.