The Portland Mutare Sister City Association, is a humanitarian organization that is our only sister city on the continent of Africa. We were established in 1991.
It began with the protests of apartheid, continued through the peak of the HIV/AIDS pandemic as it devastated particularly the rural communities of Africa, and has continued to help out small, local organizations in greater Mutare that benefit and strengthen the lives of women and children.
Since we were last together here at Council updating you on the efforts of Portland sister cities, as you well know, across the globe we have all experienced a great deal of upheaval and uncertainty. During this time, our organization has struggled. We, the PMSCA, have not held any fundraising efforts, yet we have still found little ways to impact positively the lives of our friends in Mutare with as much support as we have been able to muster.
In the last few days, I did a little peek into the current events of Zimbabwe, and I found that there is some good news. This last month China has donated 200,000 doses of vaccine against the Coronavirus and the Zimbabwean government purchased another 144,000. Just yesterday, the Zimbabwean president publicly received his vaccine in order to encourage more people to join in.
Here in Portland, our traditional date to bring together people and raise funds has been World AIDS Day, December 1. We decided this most recent December 1 (2020) to take this day and use it as an opportunity to virtually bring together our old local (and a couple not so local) friends and take some time to reminisce and reconnect. We also took time to remember several beloved contributors who have left this world in the last few years.
During this virtual gathering, we learned that a local Zimbabwean friend was working on a water project in her hometown and needed some assistance and guidance. We helped shepherd the beginning efforts of that project.
We are in current negotiation with our partners in Mutare regarding a donation that will help them through this pandemic. The donation will cover costs of such things as basic medical supplies, PPE, school fees for children and money for supplies for some microbusinesses.
So, there you have it. It isn’t a whole lot, but it makes a difference. And, in this time in our history where everything feels a little out of whack and nothing is simple or normal, it feels good to know, in small ways, we have been able to do something that matters and is good for others.