For some years I've been sponsoring a little girl in Zimbabwe. If you haven't come across the idea of sponsoring before, it works like this. You contribute a small amount of money each month, and some of it goes to help a specific child. In most cases it means that they can go to school and have a proper lunch. Things my own son takes for granted. (In fact he'd be only too happy not to go to school, but I doubt if he'd prefer farm work all day instead.) You can write to the child and get replies. It's a window onto another world, and it makes a huge difference to the child and their community. You see part of the money that doesn't go directly on the child is used for community projects like providing safe drinking water. I do this at World Vision and it currently costs just £18 a month.
Little Manyara got a blanket and a school uniform. The sponsorship money paid for two new school blocks and supported a health clinic. World Vision built a vegetable garden to help feed undernourished kids. They installed more taps (faucets to Americans) with clean water, and water bourn infections went right down. Twenty adults were trained to run their own small business and given small loans to get them started.
Then Robert Mugabe decided on operation "clean up." If you've been off the planet for a while, this is officially a crime fighting exercise consisting mostly of slum clearance. In practice it's meant that all the houses, the school and the clinic have been demolished and World Vision has been told to get out. Of course it makes perfect sense to fight crime by stopping kids from going to school or seeing a doctor. I'm sure it's nothing whatsoever to do with the way the area voted at the last election.
So now I've lost track of Manyara. I hope she's OK, wherever she is, and the three years education I paid for will help her cope.