With kind permission, I have reproduced Megan Linde's post about her recent trip to Zimbabwe and her visit to Zimkids.
"Hello there friends, family, casual acquaintances, random people I met once and agreed to friend on Facebook, people from my past, present, and future (I guess...)! It's my birthday! Yay! Turning 24 is awesome and I'm super into it! I kinda want to do things a littledifferently this year. I can't really be bothered to have a party and I don't want my poor friends to feel obliged to buy me drinks and stuff. But here's what I'd really like for my birthday. Brace yourself, it's a long-ish read.
Some of you may know that I finally went on my Grand Pilgrimage to the Motherland (Bulawayo) in February and it was life-changing and beautiful and whatever. On a perfect, sunny Saturday, I had the opportunity to visit an organization for Bulawayo orphans called ZimKids. I was picked up bright and early to go collect about 70 cabbages and take them to a school on the edge of the city, where I then participated in a food distribution and eventually met over 100 amazing children.
I got to climb trees with them. They taught me important words in Ndebele (umngane - friend, asigide - let's dance, and my favorite, Kulelitshe esicathulweni sami - There's a rock in my shoe.) I got to see their homes and meet their families, which mostly consisted of Gogos (grandmothers) and younger siblings. I got to participate in their activities! I heard them sing, watched their chess games, danced with them, and was treated to really funny, sweet little plays.
I also got to see the amazing facility that they've been building. As a community, they've learned to mix cement and lay bricks, and have been hard at work to build a site where they can be safe while they learn and play. They'll have tutors. They'll have a doctor, which is especially crucial for the little ones who were born HIV-positive. They'll have solar power and computers! Internet! This will change their whole world!
I'm sending this out to all of my Facebook friends to ask you to please contribute to ZimKids today. If you wouldn't think twice to buy me a drink for my birthday, please consider donating that money instead. It can seriously make a difference to the lives of over 100 kids, their families, their community, and ultimately to a little town I hold extremely dear.
If you can't give, or think this is a weird request coming from someone you haven't spoken to in a million year, I totes understand, and don't worry about it. I figured it couldn't hurt to put this out there. Maybe just make a point to be extra nice to someone today. That's cool too.
And I've officially written WAY more than I ever planned to because I never learned how to be concise apparently... sheesh!