Big smiles abound

Zimbabwe, August 15, 2009

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Water is the key to a good life in Zimbabwe. I am in southeastern Zim, near Mozambique. It is a dry area prone to drought, especially in the past 25 years — climate change perhaps? Farmers barely subsist, earning less than $2/day. Eight months ago this area was ravaged by cholera. I watched as a new irrigation scheme for 300 families was launched. As water filled the canals, women danced and sang. I joined in, proud that Mercy Corps had helped transform these lives. With reliable water, these families will earn $6/day, more than tripling their previous plight ....

Everyone in Zimbabwe seems to smile — despite living in one of the poorest countries. And I mean, BIG SMILES! Despite 1 in 4 children being orphans, mostly because of HIV. Despite having a life expectancy under 40. Despite a fragile and shaky political situation. Makes me want to smile as well — a BIG SMILE.

I often feel that I receive way more than I give. That's especially true here.