When we started this year so many churches and groupings were coming up with themes, mottos, taglines for the year. The girls were curious as to why they were all so different, for others it was the year of great harvest, of breaking new grounds, the year of flourishing, the year of unscheduled blessings and many more. I told the girls, they were free to envision what this year would be for them and they could come up with their own taglines. So they did, for instance, Victoria's was the year of prosperity, while Chisomo's was the year of success, Ethel's was a year of graciousness. I keep wondering how all this has been translated in such an unpredictable year.
2020 reminded me of a game I used to play as a child called Jingo, it's still played today more for girls than boys. We make ropes by stretching small thick plastic bags and tying them together to make a long round rope. Two players stand on each end of the rope and a third player jumps in and out of the middle, following a chant. We start the jump on low, usually the knee and if the player doesn’t miss the middle or get stuck on the rope and break it, we progress to the upper thighs, waist, shoulders and the neck. The player who messes up, takes her turn in being the player wearing the rope. We get very creative with the songs we sing as we play, the common one where the game got its name from is, “Jingo, Janga, gode, beka, one side, two side.” Which I recently learnt it’s supposed to be, “Jingle, Jungle, golden baker, One side, two sides.” We have different variations to the game, we jump the ropes, we run the ropes, we dribble the ropes, whatever makes it fun and even more challenging. At some point as a child I learnt another song for the game called Vision 2020.
In the song we said Vision 2020 was uplifting the future, by 2020 we will be living well, we shouldn’t look backwards the world is ours. I think all this was coming from the millennium goals which later became changed into sustainable development goals. As a child I had hopes for 2020 when I could dream, it was my wedding year, I would have built my first house by then, bought a car, had a job , but most times I thought I would never get there alive, it seemed so far away. Came 2020 and the year challenged me beyond my wildest dreams.
When the virus hit and things were shutting down, I was told some of our organizations wouldn’t survive. True to those words, I have seen organizations and corporations go under. I didn’t know what to tell the girls, I was scared, I felt lost and I knew to turn to the Lord. As we end 2020, I am ecstatic that we are still here. We have been able to do above and beyond our obligations and expectations. We have not only reached out to the girls but also our communities. We have identified gaps and filled them. We have provided food, school support, hygiene products, leadership, mentorships, and a sweet home to those in need of safety.
The beautiful part of this story is that it’s all been done because of you. You did not stop supporting us, you still sacrificed for us, you still prayed for us, reached out to us and in so doing you spurred us on to love and good deeds. On this thanksgiving, I would love to let you know that, we are thankful for you. We are here because of you. Our vision 2020 has come true because of you. In Malawi, we do not celebrate thanksgiving, but at Voices Awake we have chosen to celebrate with you because we have so much to thank God for.
“23 Let us hold on to the hope we say we have and not be changed. We can trust God that He will do what He promised. 24 Let us help each other to love others and to do good. “ (Hebrews 10:23-24, NLT).
Vanessa Mwangala Zainga