We have experienced 23 years packed with moments of happiness and sorrow, consolation and desolation (the drama which makes us alive). Throughout the years we never took our eyes off the ball which is our mission, to make known the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities and work together towards a more humane society.

Today we start a 10-day celebration of our 23 years in existence. On 23 July 1997 Gerald Nyamayaro, Irene Jimah and Fr. David Harold Barry drove to Chinhoyi Hospital to collect Moses Goremusandu who became the first core member. The community was born on that day. Moses who is on the right is pictured with Simbarashe who joined 6 months later with Douglas. We are grateful to all the people who enabled this dream of having a community. Above all, we give thanks to God of this gift which we cherish every day.

As we celebrated Africa Day, our own poet Tatenda prepared this poem for us.
 
My roots, Africa
 
My roots are in Africa a continent of unique cultural diversities
A continent of riches by nature.
A continent of peace and love
A continent of friendly people
A continent of value
Some say that our continent is a backward place but am proud of my roots, Africa
I love my roots, Africa
I salute our leaders
I cherish our cultural diversities
I’m proud of our values as Africans
I’m always proud to be African
I salute our uniqueness because there is no one like us
As one singer said ‘Brown skin girl our skins are just like pearls’ meaning we so precious
My prayer today is that, may the Lord protect us from this dreadful virus
Almighty bless Africa, continue to take control in these trying times, we put our trust in you
I salute our continent
I love my roots, Africa
I love my roots, Africa
I love my roots, Africa

Today we join the world in celebrating our mothers. We celebrate you, mothers of our core members who welcomed and natured our brothers and sisters we share our lives with. We celebrate you, mothers, who are our assistants. You juggle being mothers at your houses and being assistants at L’Arche. You are a gift to us. We celebrate you, mothers who are part of our board. You multitask your roles and steering this ship called L’Arche Zimbabwe. We celebrate you, mothers, who journey with us in different capacities, as volunteers, partners, friends and accompaniers. May God bless you for being you. We appreciate you.

The lockdown in our country has invited us to reflect on some aspects of our lives which we used to take for granted. Physical presence is one of these aspects. Now that we can not easily move from one house to the other, we realise how it is so important. Core members and assistants miss such moments when they could easily visit the nearby church or friends and relatives. Shaking hands, giving and receiving hugs, looking at a person directly and smiling, these experiences were and they are still part of the felt order which defines our relations. The practices are missed together with the feelings of security, comfort and closeness which they trigger.

Core members and assistants have had to learn new practices and expressions of being present to each other. Where we used to greet each other with hugs and handshakes, we are now doing an elbow gesture whilst maintaining some distance. We have learnt to video chat on Whatsapp and Zoom and be content, somehow, for the time being.

One of the positive takeaways from the COVID-19 experience has been the tremendous support the community has received from the members of the society and the Federation. We have received messages of concern and love from sister communities across the globe. Somehow we have reached out to each other and continuously pushing each other to survive the epidemic.

In the houses, we have learnt to play traditional games and some modern ones to us such as Ludo. We had to sharpen our voices through singing and exercise every day through Aerobics and Zumba. Through this experience, we have learnt that we can decide to be alive regardless of the circumstances.