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I remembered during this past week that my birthday is also the conception day of Kufunda Village.

20 years ago in my grandparents village of Mhondoro the impulse of Kufunda, which had been circling around me for almost a year, landed strong and clear and full in me. With around 40 friends from outside Zimbabwe, we celebrated life with more than 200 Mhondoro villagers. Out of the gift of this experience I knew I had to return home to Zimbabwe to give birth to a learning village, that was all about embracing the wisdom and the gifts of this land; gifts that were often not seen, not valued and therefore not able to be part of the fabric of what is here.

Recently, turning 50, I realized that although I gave birth to Kufunda twenty years ago, this learning village is so much more than me, and always has been. In the same way that our children come through us, but are not us, so too it is my sense that Kufunda came through me, but was actually before me, and is not mine.

Just as I am getting to know and understand my beautiful children, Joseph and Victoria, more and more as they are growing up, so too am I getting to know and understand Kufunda more as she grows up, becoming more and more fully herself.

This may sound like a strange way to describe a village - and yet each organisation, each village has its own nature, and way of being. The more we consciously pay attention to and affirm that, which we appreciate and value in our collective, the more our inherent nature and strength can continue to flourish and grow.

This week during our weekly study time, we asked ourselves, What is our nature? What comes naturally to us as Kufunda? Who are we as a collective?

Here is some of what was shared:

  • Kufunda is a natural place, a place of healing. People come here and feel refreshed and restored.

  • Kufunda is a place of hospitality - welcoming to all.

  • Kufunda is a sanctuary - for people but also for animals and nature.

  • Kufunda is a place that believes and knows that everyone has a gift - part of our work is to look for that gift, welcome it, receive it. For all people - Children, women, men.

  • Kufunda is a place where we work from the inside - hosting ourselves;

  • Kufunda is a place where there is freedom to work out of our passions; where each can show up as fully as we are willing with our talent.

  • Kufunda gives people an opportunity to do something, to be themselves

  • Kufunda gives a person a chance to discover themselves; it is a place where we awaken ourselves and others to discover our ourselves and visions; It is a place that evokes a sense of possibility.

  • Kufunda invites self-expression

  • Kufunda is a place of nature and of building deeper connection and relations with nature.

  • Kufunda is a place of honouring our roots.

It was a profound gift to be in this reflection. It arose from a quiet conversation of what we know Kufunda to be. There is much that we are not. There is much that we don't do particularly well. But this is who we are. This is what we bring. And as we acknowledge and embrace that, more becomes possible. Rising out of the truth of who we are - not of who we would like to be, but simply who we are - this collective, on this land, with these granite boulders holding us.

It is a journey, a deepening, an expansion. Slowly, surely, like the rose unfolding, or the human growing more fully into themselves..

Becoming more fully who we are is a choice, and an investment to know and embrace and express ourselves - as people and as organisations.

So here as I have been on this planet for half a century (imagine that!) I celebrate getting to know and appreciate myself more than ever before, and I celebrate our community in its journey of getting to know and celebrate who we are and who we are ever-becoming. More fully ourselves. A learning village, learning our way into healthy, whole, connected, respectful, and appreciative community.

As we often end sharings from the village, I will end by inviting you to join us in this journey of returning to self, whichever land you live on, and whichever path is yours to tread.


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