On the afternoon of the first day, Marianne and several of the other Kufundees invited us into a Circle. This was the first indication that this community was being built with processes that were simple, real and practical.
We were introduced to the idea that learning can be exchanged between everyone. When we open ourselves to receive from others and when we assume we have something to give no matter what we assume is our 'position' in society, our experience, knowledge, qualifications, or how much paper (money or property titles) anyone holds.
That evening we went to Harare for a night of comedy in the Book Cafe. Happily these brave people were able to bring their much needed humour to address the political madness that surrounds them.
The next day we had a trip to Highfield, a ghetto in Zimbabwe's capital of Harare. This was, in Chris' words, "where we met some righteous youths fighting to make a difference in their community with permaculture, art and wisdom as their weapons."
We were invited into their humble house where the Highfield activists called a circle and introduced us to the various collectives that made up their group and what each one was engaged in.
The Arts Collective included activities such as the Theatre of the Oppressed (I hope to get some video material from them). The Media Collective who were printing and communicating their own news. The Permaculture Collective who were networking and involved in health issues and growing food. And The Labour Collective who supported Labour Unions and other Civil Organisations. Kim said it was how she imagined a visit to a Black Panther meeting in the US might have been back in the days when they were a force for positive change in their community in the US.
It was during and after this visit that I periodically experienced a persistent flow of moisture from my eyes and become aware of a cramp in my chest, which I was able to relax through to some extent. It was an experience that continued throughout the 12 days we were with these Kufundees and all the other spirited people they introduced us to.
These are mostly young people who know that the future is in their hands. Maybe the fact that Kim and I are expecting a baby in July had something to do with the emotions I felt.
When we gathered again in a circle back at Kufunda, to share the feelings and thoughts about the Highfield visit, Marianne touched a nerve for me by expressing that she felt a sense of "no hope, but not despairing." I wonder where hope comes from? Is it a sense of having a ticket in a lottery that we hope we might win and that outside forces will take care of everything for us?
My feeling is that the Highfield community have said "enough!" and are now working to build their community up from there. They are not willing to descend any further and in that sense I feel that they are ahead of us, living as we do in our comfortable homes consuming the planets blood/oil. It seems that we have yet to come to that point.
For more pictures from this day click here.
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I will post more in the coming days, and the big lessons didn't come until the last days. :-)