Govera school in Domboshava, Goromonzi District, 43 km outside Harare, Zimbabwe, is an elementary school whose roof was blown off in a tornado two years ago, in 2014. LDS Charities, the Humanitarian department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, decided to do something about it when they learned students had been meeting in condemned classrooms and often outside just under the trees. The school had been built by the little community using bricks from the old block, and supplementing the construction with bricks they had made or purchased. This new block stood unfinished for over a year as Mrs. Chonzi, Headmistress, kept pursuing options to get funds for the roof. It was a long time coming for the school’s Headmistress, Mrs. Chonzi, to find help. She had never given up, when she approached LDS Charities in Harare for assistance.
LDS Charities senior missionary couple, Elder Todd and Sister Debbie Neilson got right to work on this project. Zimbcom contractor, Gibson Guzha , supervised the job of putting on a new roof, with workers being supplied by the community. Elder and Sister Neilson bought the initial supplies and brought work suits for the men It was like Christmas morning to receive this $15 gift, and they went straight to work building the trusses for the roof. A team from Agatec Carpentry Department patiently taught the villagers how to make and install the trusses. To help speed up the work and produce quality trusses, Agatec brought a generator powered electric saw to help with the cutting of the timber during the manufacturing of the trusses. Shortly before installation of the trusses it was discovered the school block did not have the same equal height on both the front and the back. The back of the classroom was four courses shorter than the front side. There was no option other than to build the missing four courses and allow them to dry for a day. This required materials such as cement, scaffolding, building water, and bricks. These additional materials were supplied by Elder and Sister Neilson/LDS Charities.
As the rainy season was fast approaching, school development Chairman, Mr. Mushawatu, and Headmistress, Mrs. Chonzi met with LDS Charities and the contractor and agreed that additional semi-skilled volunteers were needed, since some of the original workers were needing time to work in their fields. This resulted in over thirty community volunteers, with seven being experienced builders. The additional help only came for one day, but they did one week’s work helping to complete the project tasks. The roofing was completed, four doors installed, and window frames with panes.
In just eighteen days of total work time, the students returned to the classrooms, with only the flooring left to be installed. At a small handover event, Headmistress Chonzi aptly expressed, “Nothing is easy. We have to work hard."
Elder and Sister Neilson furnished donuts and juice to thank the workers, and they were rewarded in turn with a live chicken and vegetables from the workers’ gardens. Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints serve as volunteers at their own expense .Currently there are approximately 75,000 throughout the world.