A village is a place where stories meet

future story makes me think story activism story as a map Dec 01, 2023

This is my third time in Zimbabwe. The first time was in 2006 and I was supporting a small group who wanted to replicate the customer service training program I had introduced through the Tourism Board in New Zealand.

I stayed in a compound and learned from the people working there how little opportunity they had to break the cycle that kept them bound in place. "You are so lucky to be able to travel..." they told me, and I knew it was true.

The next time was 2010, when I came to Kufunda Village, just outside Harare, a place built on Art of Hosting principles. It was a grand experiment around how to live with participatory principles as the frame -- how does everyone take responsibility? How do we keep inviting each other's leadership? How can we build capacity to host the conversations and work that really matters?

The village was small, but determined. They had just avoided a sweeping fire and were hosting a gathering called "The Powers of Place."

In listening to those who were hosting special places, I came to understand I was an intentional nomad and claimed this as my role in the ecology of place.


LEFT: You can see the motto of the school on the back of the green T-shirt: Receive the children in reverence. Educate them in love. Send them forth in freedom . RIGHT: The small graduates. 

Fast forward to 2023. I'm back again. Now the village is more than 100 people strong. Some of the people I've met back then have children of their own. Despite a surrounding country that has been challenged almost to breakdown, they have made a strong commitment to the value of appreciation.

This morning I watched as all the classes in the village Waldorf school presented something and the kindergarteners graduated. I wish we had learned how to sing the multiplication tables - they looked like they were having so much fun!

The key to this kind of learning is that children are taught to ask questions and think for themselves. So very unlike the standard education where the teacher is the font of knowledge and kids who ask questions are seen to be troublesome.

They have experimented and learned so much and yet it is a constant challenge to keep going. The teachers haven't been paid for November yet because so many parents haven't paid their school fees. The school is $11,000 in arrears. And yet the commitment is that no child will be disadvantaged because of money.

A good example of how money is necessary, but it shouldn't be the leader. And still...

Next week Kufunda will be celebrating 21 years. I'm here to support the harvest team in capturing the story this village can share with the world. I'm so looking forward to the story that will unfold.

Today and tomorrow we work with the Village youth, offering an "Art of Hosting Lite."

LEFT: All of the buildings in the village have the traditional thatch roof.. RIGHT: Preparing for the Youth event. MAIN PHOTO: Some people believe that technology will save the world. Here Stephen demonstrates why it is good to listen to your partner.


Isn't it time to have a brilliant ally on your side?

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