The past year was politically confusing but economically more bearable because of the country’s switch to the use of more sensible multi-currencies.
I must admit that although towards the end of the year I felt spiritually exhausted, I was still hopeful and one of the social projects carried out by the embassy just before Christmas helped reinvigorate me.
The embassy sponsored a women’s soccer tournament driven by People Living with HIV/AIDS. More than 500 people living with HIV/AIDS used the tournament to launch the Positive Initiative Trust at Zimbabwe Grounds, in one of Harare’s oldest high-density suburbs, Highfiled.
The enthusiasm exhibited by members of PIT was contagious. Closer to the date of the tournament our office was abuzz with excitement. Female members of staff wanted to participate in the soccer competition but numbers were not on their side.
Second Secretary Catherine Carr is a keen soccer player and Blessing Seke from our small projects section worked hard to get a team of sorts. Their efforts paid off. They were joined by our human resources manager, Cynthia Ncube, Debra “Maradona” Sithole from estates, Vielly Bafana from the consular section and management section’s Herfie Magwenzi.
They needed to get more players so children, sisters and wives of colleagues were roped in. Debra’s sister Ivy and her daughter Rumbi joined the team and so did my daughter Tendai, who fortunately plays college soccer. Our colleague Munyaradzi Korovedzai happily encouraged his wife Rachel to join the team and from our sister organisation DFID we had Neil Satchwell-Smith’s wife Pippa.
Finally a team was made, now officially named the Embassy Queens, the girls were raring to show off their skills. They did not win the trophy but they played their hearts out. A good time was had by all. I was just the official photographer but I had just as much fun.
At times when we are going through difficult times we forget the small things that make all the difference. We forget the seemingly insignificant things that not only make us happy but also bring light to other people’s lives. We forget to count our blessings.
For Blessing and Catherine this was work and play. They do not get to do both often. They are an enthusiastic team. Their commitment and hard work is rarely witnessed by colleagues but from what I have seen on the ground it is immensely appreciated by the beneficiaries.
The embassy awarded PIT a $25,000 grant to kick-start HIV/AIDS activities across the 13 districts of Harare Province. The Initiative has also given birth to 16 women’s soccer teams.
We do not often make the time to come together as a team but the few times that we have done so we have proved that we can make a difference.
Political and survival worries will always be there but this year we must make ourselves a promise: “To be the change we would like to see in others and take a more positive outlook towards life.”