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The Ishe Anesu Experience
Story, photos, videos and audio
by Donna Hankins - Interactive Media Specialist

The Sounds

Experience a Worship Service Zimbabwe Style

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The mothers and guardians of the Ishe Anesu children bake each day on this makeshift oven with burning wood placed very precisely above and below the bread and cookies.

The Photos

On August 1, 2001 the Volunteers In Mission team flew to Johannesburg, South Africa (by way of Sal Island to refuel) ... and then on to Harare, Zimbabwe. We were transported by an Africa University bus to Mutare and on the way had the privilege of stopping in a game park. These photos...show our experiences on the way and our first days in Zimbabwe.

A short movie clip...A Glimpse of Ishe Anesu (View thru Real Player)
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Third World Welcome - The story

“The children think all people from the U.S. are good and kind and giving.” Mrs. Chinzvenda’s comment struck something in me as we drove through the dirty, impoverished area of Sakubva in Mutare, Zimbabwe.

As I made my last visit with the forgotten women who are mothers and guardians to the children of Ishe Anesu, I realized the true blessing of being a part of bringing such joy to the needy.

Nurse Nancy Lantz helps Promise Masawe apply medication to the ringworm infection on his scalp.

Promise Masawe is 7 years old and just completed the 1st grade. His birth date is unknown (1994). Promise's parents died when he was an infant. Promise never had an opportunity to attend either kindergarten or 1st grade due to lack of funds. His grandmother brought him to Ishe Anesu to ask for school support. He lives with his Uncle and is the only child in his family to attend school.
The Holston Conference has made an impact that will provide hope for many years to come in Mutare. Just as I had promised to visit these ladies one last time to buy the bread and cookies they prepared earlier that day, Holston came through for this community.

When Maria Humbane first unveiled her dream of helping the orphaned children of Sakubva, she was met with a great deal of skepticism from the people in her community and even in her church. She was told that you can’t just expect people to come up with $1,000,000 (Zim) to build a school. But on August 3rd, U.S. dollars equalling $1,290,000 (Zim) arrived from Holston Conference. And that’s just the beginning.

16 team members embarked on the V.I.M. experience known as Ishe Anesu. For various reasons, we didn’t get to see all of the gifts delivered and there wasn’t enough time to complete the temporary building, but the time spent in fellowship and ministry alongside the people of Sakubva is enough for us to return with. We were but ambassadors for Holston Conference, and the people there shared their joy and hope with us.

The two tractor trailers full of gifts and supplies were to arrive in Sakubva on August 14th after being held by Zimbabwe customs officials. (We all left Zimbabwe on August 10th.) The funds that were immediately available allowed for several of Hilltop UMC’s unemployed men to begin work on the school building. (Unemployment is over 60% in Zimbabwe).

Organized by Karen Griffey Todd (Kingsport), the women and a few men on the team had the pleasure of working directly with the children during 3 days of Bible School. Before we left, the children could be heard in spontaneous outbursts of the songs they had learned.

The most difficult scenes were witnessed by nurse Nancy Lantz (Maryville) as she attended to the physical and emotional needs of the women and children of Ishe Anesu. And as technology met the third world, I was another eyewitness to the plight of a people ravaged by the effects of HIV, unemployment, and extreme poverty. Tears were unavoidable for me as the women spoke of husbands refusing to talk about AIDS and how they were beaten unconscious if they insisted on condom use. Maria told us that these women never had anyone to listen to them and show genuine care and concern for their problems. Nancy and I had the privilege of bringing a bit of self-esteem to these battered women.

When work on the temporary building ended, the men of our team were blessed by a song from the local men they labored beside. Something they won’t soon forget.

So there we all were ... a tiny minority being made to feel so welcome. And what to make of a comment about how we are “all so good and kind”? I didn’t tell them that all Americans aren’t so good and kind. But they understand that we are brothers and sisters saved by grace. We had all been taught many valuable lessons that week. We had many reminders of how much we have to be thankful for. And we did depart as better and kinder people I’m sure of it.

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