We are living in unprecedented, unsettling and uncertain times and never before has the world had such a unified focus. Regardless of you age, gender, race, social standing, wealth etc this is affecting you in some way. I wanted to share a few things about how it is affecting us at Gogo Olive and in Zimbabwe.
On Friday 20th March we sent the ladies home with enough knitting to keep them going for a few weeks and shared with them everything we knew about COVID-19 and what they should be doing to try and prevent the spread of the virus. On Monday 30th March a National Lockdown was implemented in Zimbabwe.
There are similarities to how COVID-19 affects us as individuals, families, communities and countries but there are differences too. I feel that it is going to look different in Zimbabwe, a country where unemployment is already over 90%, where Drs and nurses are striking, where millions of people don’t have access to running water, where medicines are scare and where people can’t afford to panic buy. I read a quote in an online newspaper article that said ‘People are choosing daily survival over measures to protect themselves from a virus that “might not even kill us.”’ I don’t want to sound negative or to suggest that isolation / staying at home isn’t the best way forward, I really believe it is. But, realistically, I know this will be a lot harder for many Zimbabweans.
Here are 3 areas we would love if you can join with us in prayer for…
- For the health and safely of the Gogo Olive ladies and their families. Most of them are healthy but some are in poor health and have already compromised immune systems. They would be vulnerable wherever they lived in the world but the lack of medical care in Zimbabwe puts them in a much more vulnerable position.
- For us as a business. Already we have had orders put on hold and we know that the next few months are going to be tough for so many businesses and sales are going to take a hit. We operate as a non-profit and already work with very tight margins so we are able to pay the ladies a fair wage. Please pray that we can find creative and proactive ways to turn this situation around for us and we will see it as a positive time to look for new opportunities (I’m working on some new designs as we speak!)
- For Zimbabwe, a country already on its knees, that we will be able to weather this storm, that it will be a time of unity in the country and that it will be a time of refocusing for our leaders that will bring about positive change.
And on a more positive note! I have shared 2 photos with this post – one is an African Proverb that is painted on the wall of our new workshop and one is a drawing by Charlie Mackesy – I would highly recommend looking him up, with only a few brushstrokes and words he has an amazing gift for inspiring hope and conveying how we are all feeling, in a very beautiful, simple and powerful way!
I have always loved this proverb but it feels even more real and relevant now. Yes, these are scary and hard times but the day will come and we will see blue skies again. One thing that has always challenged and encouraged me about the Gogo Olive ladies is their resilience and their ability to laugh and find a joy that goes beyond their circumstances. The two things that I have seen that carries them through the most difficult times is their faith and their friendships. Sometimes the night is very long and the storm clouds are very dark, but a strong faith helps you to believe that day is coming and that there are blue skies beyond the clouds. And tight knit friendships and being part of a community as you are on the journey through the dark times keeps you going and gives you the strength to carry on.
Despite the uncertainty we are all living with at the moment there is still so much to be thankful for and so many different ways that we can support each other through this time and help each other to believe that brighter days are coming. Connect with people, put yourself in someone else’s shoes, forgive someone, laugh together and HOPE!
I definitely don’t want to sound preachy! I don’t know what’s going on any more than anyone else does and I’m still trying to find the balance between being realistic about the severity of this situation and positive about how we can use this unexpected time and the unique opportunities it brings.
Stay safe everyone wherever you are in the world!
Sending love from Zimbabwe,