Gill has been involved in fundraising for over thirty years and is now working with Progressio on their 75th Anniversary Appeal. In this blog Gill describes her experience of her participation in ZimFast, one of Progressio’s Lent fundraising challenges. By fasting for 6 days on a simple Zimbabwean diet, Gill stood in solidarity with people living in poverty in Zimbabwe and around the world, and raised an incredible £665 for Progressio! Read Part 1 of her blog here. For more information on the ZimFare and ZimFast challenges and how to sign up, click here.

My six day ZimFast challenge: Part 2

Thursday: Donations mounting up. Funny how this really does help you through it. I hadn’t really expected to feel so touched by the support but I do. Have been reading up on Progressio supported initiatives in Zimbabwe. In November I had the chance to meet Fiona

Mwashita, Southern Africa Sub- Regional manager. She was explaining how it is becoming more and more difficult for Progressio’s partners to secure funding. Many European funding streams have been drying up, and there is intense competition for limited funds.

Thursday evening: just couldn’t face my drumstick tonight. Only two more days to go and I’ve started fantasising about my first post-ZimFast meal…fish and chips?

During ZimFast Gill only drank water

Friday: Chris’ day off, and we decide to go walking along the Regent Canal. I make us a his and hers picnic and save up my breakfast banana to have as pudding. I make him a cheese sandwich and drool over it. We go to a gallery and he has an Italian custard tart and I have water. Chris is really looking forward to my finishing the ZimFast. Says it’s because he doesn’t want me to waste away. Hmmm.

Been wondering what’s Zimbabwean about coleslaw, so I look it up. Used extensively for parties and weddings, apparently.

I can’t stop thinking about my Saturday evening meal. Not fish and chips. Lots of cheese. Bread? I make bread overnight in the bread machine. The smell is amazing.

Saturday: I work on a bid, and try not to get too excited about the end of my ZimFast. Had my drumstick in the car, then watched son Sam play rugby in the afternoon. Had to run and retrieve the ball that went over the fence, three times. Felt like a dog. Felt dizzy too. Back home. Sunset is 5.24. It’s grey and miserable weather so I won’t be able to see it. At 5.23 the kettle boils and I cut myself a piece of Christmas cake. At 5.24, on the dot, I said the prayer for Zimbabwe, the Progressio Prayer and Grace and “I did sit and eat”.

Looking back at my six-day fast, and how difficult it's been, I was so relieved to be able to choose to end it and pick up my varied diet again . People living in poor communities don't have that choice. Doing the ZimFast challenge has given me a deeper understanding about how hard life can be for people living in poor communities in Zimbabwe and around the world.

Love bade me welcome

Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,

Guilty of dust and sin.

But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack

From my first entrance in,

Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning

If I lack'd anything.

"A guest," I answer'd, "worthy to be here";

Love said, "You shall be he."

"I, the unkind, the ungrateful? ah my dear,

I cannot look on thee."

Love took my hand and smiling did reply,

"Who made the eyes but I?"

"Truth, Lord, but I have marr'd them; let my shame

Go where it doth deserve."

"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"

"My dear, then I will serve."

"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."

So I did sit and eat.

George Herbert