As I’m driving up to Portland for my flight to Zimbabwe in just a few hours, I’m happy to have a guest blogger this week, sharing some more recent news from Zimbabwe! Today’s guest is Dana Moffat from Rubatano Center on Whidbey Island. She recently returned from a two-month trip to Zimbabwe where she did some very important work with Tariro, including interviews with new students on our waiting list to determine which students to add to our programs this year. Dana’s post shows the depth of support for Tariro’s programs that has come from the Whidbey Island community. We can’t thank them enough!
Here is Dana’s post:
This past December and January, Jennifer and I helped each other out with an exchange between our programs on Whidbey Island, WA and Zimbabwe. While I helped out with Tariro in Zimbabwe, Jennifer took over my classes at Rubatano Center and lived at my home. On leaving for Zimbabwe, I was confident I had left my classes in good hands because my students had recently had a week of workshops with Jennifer and were excited to have her back for a more thorough experience of her excellent teaching of Shona music.
In preparation for seeing the Tariro girls, Jennifer had suggested to me that I take underwear for the girls. I put that out to my Rubatano community and the response was overwhelming! Over 200 pair of new ‘girlie’ underwear were donated and delivered to the girls of Tariro.
Once in Harare, I attended weekly rehearsals for the Tariro marimba and dance group. Soon the idea of a CD release party for Mbira dzeMuninga’s 2009 USA tour came into being, and we decided to invite the Tariro girls to open for the show at The Mannenberg. After much work getting ready, they put on an amazing performance on Jan. 14th. The crowd was over-the-top appreciative of their performance. The Mannenberg was packed with many musicians, as well as visitors from the US Embassy. Our respected friends, Cosmas Magaya and Dr. Sheasby Matiure, both spoke at the event about how pleased they were to see the girls do such a fine performance. It was a good demonstration of the work that Zimbabwean and Americans are doing together – a real eye opener for Zimbabweans unfamiliar with what is happening in the US.
Rubatano Center marimba community also came together in support of my trip to Zimbabwe by donating funds to use for Tariro while there. Those funds went for tuning the set of marimbas, 10 new pairs of mallets, and the cost for food and transportation for the girls to rehearse at Emerald Hills and to travel to The Mannenberg for the show.
More news soon from Jennifer in Zimbabwe… I’ll be spending three weeks in Senegal prior to my arrival in Zimbabwe on March 8th… check back in with us soon!