The Masvingo region situated 292 km south of Zimbabwe's capital suffers from long periods of drought, with an average annual rainfall of just 600 mm, which is less than a quarter of Taiwan's total rainfall. The people there generally live in poverty.
Amid the hot and arid summer in December 2019 in Zimbabwe, Tzu Chi volunteers went to the country’s Masvingo region to distribute 10 kilograms of food supply, including rice and cooking oil, to each of the 1,057 impoverished households there. These seemingly ordinary items of daily life were enough to delight the villagers.
After making a respectful 90-degree bow to the aid recipients, Tzu Chi volunteers handed the food supplies to them. Many of the villagers responded with loud, joyful cheers. One of them said, "It's really great to receive the cooking oil and rice."
“The first thing I want to do as soon as I get home is to pour the oil into a pan and start cooking,” exclaimed another villager.
She added happily, “There will still be a lot of oil left in the bottle after I’ve used some of it. Seeing that makes me really happy.”
Holding a bottle of cooking oil in her hand, the local woman was so overjoyed that she ran around the distribution site happily. Her joyful response reflected the words spoken earlier through a microphone by Zhu Jin Cai, the volunteer in charge of Tzu Chi’s office in Zimbabwe: “No matter how tough life is, the people in Zimbabwe will not lose hope. Everything will change for the better.”
The scorching sun was still hanging high in the sky when the volunteers travelled to another village in the region. The anxiously waiting village chief was delighted when he saw the arrival of food aid from Tzu Chi.
He said, “Many villagers are unable to work due to serious illnesses, and their children can only survive through begging. I am glad that you guys are here to distribute rice. Hopefully, such help can be extended to the orphans in the future."
The strong, young men in the village formed a long line to help unload sacks of rice from the truck and pass them along the line to the rest of the villagers, who were quietly waiting at the side.
An aid beneficiary said, "The food I received in the past was contained in a bucket, and it had to be shared among five households. The food distribution by Tzu Chi is different. They give enough supply to every family, and this is why we are willing to spend the whole day waiting under the sun.”