The Light at the end of the Tunnel
Norma awoke to the tingle of the sun’s rays on her face and the loud sound of rushing water. It was dark, save for a chink of light above her head. The stench was overwhelming. Over the din she could hear what sounded like a tractor moving about. Spurred on, she got up, slipping and sliding as she groped around and finally grasped what felt like a metal rung. It was a ladder leading to the light. The crevice at the top was far too small to let her through, so she yelled for help, praying someone would hear. They did.
Disabled in one leg and two months pregnant, her boyfriend had beaten and then shoved her down the sanitary sewer, leaving her for dead. Unconscious and hurt, Norma had been swept through two suburbs of muck before getting out, just because he would not take responsibility for the pregnancy.
Sadly, this is one of many stories that come out of the poor neighborhoods of Harare. But not all of them are sad. I hear them every day, I know and work with the people, collecting their stories to mainly share with donors, and the public in the West.
Crossing Paths with World Pulse
A while ago, on my World Pulse journal, I wrote about my disappointment at the state of Zimbabwe’s media. How my dream of becoming a journalist was nearly annihilated until a friend (Fungai Machrori) suggested I try writing online on forums such as provided by World Pulse. And yet even as I celebrate having found alternative space to better apply my skills plus a job that puts me in direct contact with the poor and marginalized, I am once again faced with a dilemma. Is my writing helping those whose stories I write, particularly the women?
I am always struck by the way women share their stories. No matter how agonizing the stories, they always manage to speak so soundly that I wish I didn’t have to be the intermediary. I do get the feeling that by sharing they feel a little better and am glad. If only I could find a way to have them literally “speak for themselves”, as I may not do so adequately on their behalf. Perhaps relief and change can come quickly.
My Vision for the Future - Follow the Light!
So lately my thoughts have been fixated on how I can use mobile phone technology to get women in Zimbabwe to tell their stories? Mobile phone technology has become pervasive in Zimbabwe where before it was limited to urban centers. Many can now access the internet. And while it may seem the answer is to simply give a woman a Cellphone, I believe there is need to organize women, to capacitate them on how they can harness this resource and for what purposes. But before I can come up with ways to achieve this, I too need to learn a few things, possibly here on World Pulse.