By Brenda Ndapasuwa for CRS (a Caritas member in the USA)
Hello from Zimbabwe. My name is Brenda Ndapasuwa, and I live in Mabvuku township right outside the capital of Harare. In celebration of International Youth Day on August 12, 2009, I’ll be “tweeting” about a typical day in my life on Twitter*. Join us here.
I’m happy to share a little about me and my country, but I’m not sure where to start. Well, I’m 14 years old and am halfway through seventh grade. I didn’t start my formal education until I was 11, because my mom was sick a lot, and my stepfather wouldn’t allow me or my brother and sister to go to school. Sometimes he would even give his biological children meat for dinner but would just give us some vegetables. It wasn’t a very good time.
Our mom died when I was 9, my sister was 10 and my brother was 12. Because of all the problems in Zimbabwe, no relatives could afford to take us all in together. First I moved in with an uncle, but he had four other children. I could tell it was difficult for me to also be there. Then my mom’s younger sister brought me to her house. She treated me like a daughter and thought it was very important for me to get an education.
That’s when I started school at Mavambo Learning Center, a place supported by Catholic Relief Services that helps children who have never attended school quickly learn how to read and write so we can enter the regular education system. Because I’m a fast learner and get good grades, after just a year and a half I entered fifth grade at Batanai Primary School. Last term, I was sixth in my class of 43 students. I love reading English books, and I really want to go to college, especially after visiting the University of Zimbabwe.
My aunt died two years ago, so now I’m living with another uncle. We live on a compound with my two other uncles, their wives, and nine children, including me—with each family unit having a room of their own. Taking in orphans like me isn’t easy since most people struggle to earn money here, but fortunately my uncle Andrew let me become part of his family. I miss my mom and my brother and sister, but it’s okay. I still get to go to school, and my uncle works as a mechanic in a car garage, so we have an electric stove to cook on and even eat meat a few times each week.
For now, this is all I have to share. You can learn more about one of my typical days from my tweets at http://twitter.com/catholicrelief
on August 12, 2009. Thanks for spending the day with me. And please keep me and my family in your prayers.
* Due to time differences and technical constraints in Zimbabwe, Brenda’s tweets are based on prior conversations with her and will be posted by CRS staff.