As we move into the weekend, I’d like to offer you a short letter of thanks that Tariro recently received from Patience Chaitezvi, the aunt of one of our sponsored students, Gillian M. Patience is a high school teacher in the town of Chinhoyi, several hours away from Harare. She is also an excellent musician, and has toured the United States twice playing the mbira dzavadzimu, one of the best-known Zimbabwean instruments.
While the poverty line for an urban family Zimbabwe is pegged at $540 per month, school teachers such as Patience make an average of $253 per month, making the income from her tours abroad essential in supplementing her earnings as Patience raises her son Lionel. In addition, Patience’s family has experienced several significant losses, leaving many orphaned children who Patience struggles to support. Among them are the four children of her brother Endiby, who passed away in 2010.
While Endiby’s eldest daughters have secured scholarships to pursue university-level study, his younger son and daughter were at risk for dropping out of school. As his daughter Gillian already attended Highfield High 1, one of the schools within Tariro’s sponsorship program, she applied for enrollment within our organization and was accepted shortly after her father’s death. As you will read in Patience’s letter, Tariro’s executive director Jennifer Kyker also worked closely with Patience to recommend fundraising strategies through which Patience was able to raise funds for Gillian’s brother, who was not eligible for enrollment in our program due to our focus on working with teenaged girls. Finally, Patience thanks us for sponsoring the daughter of yet another mbira player who passed away within the Highfield community, Silas Madziva. Here is her letter, in full:
“Dear Tariro Organisation
“I have written this email to show my gratitude towards your organisation for helping me pay fees for Rutendo Gillian M. who is my niece. Since the passing away of my brother last year I faced so many difficulties and one of them is paying fees for his kids. But you made my life easier when you accepted Rutendo in your organisation. You are as good as her guardians because you are helping build her future. A child with no education does not have future.
“I thank you so much. My brother was a breadwinner in my family and passing away meant a huge responsibility to me and yet my earnings can not sustain the family even for 2 weeks.
“When I came this year i did not even mention Rutendo because she is well taken care of. I talked about Tapiwa who is her brother who needed fees since he is a brilliant young guy. I’m so happy I got ideas from Jennifer which made me have money for 3 terms. I’m so grateful.
“Last but not least I thank you so much for paying fees for Silas Madziva’s daughter. To me Silas Madziva is a brother because of his totem, the eland (Museyamwa). Just before he died he told his relatives that when he passes on they should contact me, because I will be able to inform his American friends and they will help out send her daughter to school. I did and Chris from Seattle did help a bit by and Tariro Organisation accepted her. To me Silas, even though he has gone, his spirit is resting because he wanted his child to complete school though he did not leave any funds to help the daughter. I thank you so much and hope you will continue with this loving spirit.
“NDATENDA CHAIZVO (I thank you so much)
I’ll leave you with a short clip on YouTube, which pairs some experimental images with a track of Patience playing with her late brother, and Gillian’s father, Endiby.