Update on the Lovemore Boys

(Update and pictures from Lee Cooper after her latest visit in August 2017)

My trip to Zimbabwe was a joy! August is a school vacation month, so I spent lots of quality time with almost all of the Lovemore boys. Then I spent over two weeks in the family home of Finding Hope Foundation with the boys it fosters and with two of our boys, Tinashe and Shingi, whom FHF is now fostering after their release from the government-run orphanage.

On his last evening at a Catholic orphanage before going to a new foster home, I had a good visit with Nyasha Runodada, age 14, who is our only Lovemore boy in public school. He is a good student and a very courteous young boy. He and all of his friends at the orphanage and I colored beautiful and creative Traveling Jesuses, with polka dot robes, multi-striped sashes, and purple sandals. The children taped the Traveling Jesuses to their bed posts. It was fun, and I felt so happy for Nyasha.

During my first few days, the 3 boys going to university, Tichaona (Univ. of Zimbabwe, veterinary science), Munashe (Nat’l Univ. of Science & Technology, IT and accounting), and Abednego (NUST, industrial engineering) and I saw each other several times. They were thrilled with the clothes from our congregation, and with new shoes. And they were almost speechless with excitement about their new computers! We all went together to buy them.

Simeon, a young man from Finding Home Foundation, also got a new computer. He’s a second term student at University of Zimbabwe, and he told me that there is only one computer lab there for over 11,000 students. These computers will truly help to bring our boys to current levels of learning. They were so appreciative! (Letters from them are on the table in the gallery hallway.)

One gift of the age and maturity of Tichaona, Munashe and Abednego is that we were able to have stimulating conversations about their futures, the world situation, and the tragedy of Zimbabwe’s economic and political crises. Robert Mugabe, age 93, will run again in 2018 for president!

For the remaining 17 days, I stayed at the Choto’s rented house, also home to the orphans of Finding Hope Foundation. I was with a Choto sister and her 18-month old daughter, a Choto brother, and 6 orphan boys and young men, including Lovemore boys Tinashe and Shingi. It was life at a much quicker pace, with grocery shopping, cooking with the boys, going around paying tuition for summer terms coming up in September, gardening, having spelling and comprehension tests at night, and DRIVING… on the left hand side of the road, at night with no street lights and very few stop lights, dodging tremendous potholes, and always with a load of boys in the back seat! I was challenged, and definitely added some “character” to Jerry and Tatenda’s Faithmobile. Life at Finding Hope was so family oriented and built much self-confidence in the boys. Shingi and Tinashe were happy to be part of a family and Form 1 students at Mhondoro Presbyterian High.

The Choto family worships at Northside Community church where the Finding Hope boys were baptized. It is non-denominational, multi-cultural and multi-racial congregation - a broadening experience for me! One Saturday night the youth put on a very professional talent show, all to the glory of God. Boy could those young people dance!

Once again the Zimbabweans and I often were without power, and shortly afterward the water (borehole pumped electrically) would be finished. People have generators if they can afford them, LP gastops for cooking, and they store water is 5 gallon tubs with a heating element. No hot water ever piped in, though, so I got used to Navy baths.

As it has always been, the trip was a blessing to me. South Highland has had many successes with the Lovemore boys, and we will continue to have!