2019 Visit to Zimbabwe Wrap-Up

Coming back to the states is always such a deep pleasure.  It’s not just your own bed and familiar comforts of home, but seriously, things like electricity, pure water, clean air, and garbage pickup, just as a start.  Good friends and family bring one’s cup to overflowing!

We just take so much for granted.  Traveling is a great way to wake up the psyche and take stock.  Each time I return through the US Customs I almost want to kiss the soil.  I know, we have our problems.  But we also have so many blessings.  I’ve taken to counting them.

I didn’t get to share too much of Carina’s film while there so wanted to give you some quick looks at our MMC camp in November, as well as the embroidery efforts, and a few preschool highlights.

We had a special Saturday meeting during their camp with a member of Parliament as an honored guest, as well as parents, local councilors and village headmen.  The girls presented a great show for a part of the two hours. 

Mhandara Monthly Care Girls Camp Dancing

Hanging around and playing marimba is a favorite past-time.  At the time of the camp, only a few of the girls had been able to take marimba lessons, although we are beginning to do regular classes now.

Just Learning this Marimba Song

The girls are always encouraged in public speaking. Here is one of our older MMC girls sharing.  In case the accent throws you, we are including our best understanding of her talk here:

 “MMC simply means Mhandara Monthly Care Program. This entails that there is caring and providing moral support of the girl child. It is Auntie Jaiaen’s wish to provide care and support for us. And we thank her for all of the supplies she gives us because our own parents are failing to provide those things. Without forgetting the Magaya family for their hand in this program.  I’ve learned a lot through the Magaya program.  I’ve learned how to cook, how to bath and how to behave like a girl child. My gratitude goes to Auntie Jaiaen and the MMC sisters for the everlasting support.  On behalf of my colleagues, I encourage you to continue coming each and every Friday learning more about life. With these few words I thank you for your attention.  May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ follow you for all the days of your life.  Thank you.”

Many Girls Presented During the Special 2 Hour Meeting

75 girls were able to receive their Start-up kits at this MMC Camp.  This includes 3 pair of underwear, a soaking bucket and bar of soap, put together by Patricia Magaya as our manager, as well as the reusable washable pads, which are put together by our MMC team in town

75 MMC Start-up Kits Distributed During the Camp

This video opens with a woman wearing a white shirt…that is our groundskeeper.  She manages the garden and orchard, and now the drip irrigation rows as well.  She is only in the kitchen because we are feeding 350 or so girls, so everyone moves around and gets involved however they are needed.  The gal in the Chevrolet t-shirt is our regular Nhimbe preschool head cook, also supervising the girls.  Everyone gets involved.  All girls are engaged in prep, cooking, serving, cleanup etc.  This was a particularly large meal since we had so many guests in attendance.

Food and Music….they always go together nicely!

We were happy to see them using plastic bags for gloves…YAY for hygiene!  That is probably the biggest concern with so many people all in one place with limited facilities.

How do you feed 350 girls from Friday through Sunday?

The children are so patient.  They really have a tolerance!

Rural Cafeteria?

First thing to note is that tradition calls one to use their fingers in Zimbabwe and having the utensils is a nice benefit, but not expected.  This is a custom, even if you can afford utensils, you may still opt to eat in the traditional way.

Long awaited lunchtime!

One really wonderful thing, is that you know that none of these girls wanting to play sports have to sit out due to their monthly cycle.  I mean, if they don’t feel well, then that is one thing, but they don’t need to worry that running and playing is going to be a problem.  They have supplies that work!

This beautiful blue ball is one we were able to bring from One World Play Project where we bought some at a discount. They are designed for rural African terrain. Everyone is delighted!

Team Sports

This is a close-by forested area that allows the girls to explore.  It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but imagine how it would be to never be allowed to go to the forest because it isn’t safe…so, with your buddies, it becomes manageable and even conquerable!

Hiking during Camp November 2019

You’ve noticed that music is the common thread, no matter what the story…the backdrop is the tunes and the rhythm and the song.  This little one is “all over it”.

Preschooler Attending MMC Camp

Camp finally comes to an end, and you would think they would be tired.  But so many are still movin’ and shakin’ to the next groove thing on their mind. 

End of MMC Camp – Strolling Home

The final frontier is sending off all of those that come from beyond our immediate area.  The truck has been hired to haul their gear back to the schools.  And, the teacher catches a ride!  This teacher from an outlying school happens to be the daughter, of Isaac, our Building Facilities manager who stays on top of well building and the like. Easily in her mid-40’s now, she always brings such an optimistic feel to whatever she does…and here she is after 3 days with all these girls!

The Final Frontier

Wini is one of the founding members of MMC. In the beginning, and regularly since then, she and I have spent months reviewing costs and fabrics and ideas to come up with a plan that is feasible to continue to implement. After all, Zimbabwean economy isn’t what one would call stable. She has spent a couple of years working through the refining of details, and the economic changes, over Whatsapp to make sure we can actually do what we propose.  Her spirit is extraordinary, her work committed, and her heart genuine.

Winfilda Magaya and the MMC in her life

Other remarkable women are the embroidery crew.  This year we were only working with a dozen of them, since a larger group can get unwieldy.  Take a close up look at those details.  Thanks to the totes from the Amazon Smile Charity list that were donated, these women were able to sew some blocks on totes making incredible bags.  I know, everyone already has a lot of bags…but these are different!  And, another way to reach into the heart of Zimbabwe.

By the way, the two women that are being focused on in this excerpt are both absolute beginners. They have the least experience of anyone, and have only made one or two blocks.

Embroidery Women

Another item that was donated through Amazon Smile Charity lists are these raised surface cards.  We were able to bring 3 sets and the teachers love them….looks like they are catching on with the children too.  I think the youngest ones don’t have any idea which way is up.  Such a sensual way to approach learning, to feel your way to reading – makes so much more sense!

Preschool Alphabet Learning!

The children regularly are playing in various groups singing songs and making merry, getting all that coordination going.

Preschool Group Play

This call and response goes on for quite some time with more of more children getting involved.

Call and Response Preschool Game

These puzzles were donated originally by Sundborn Children’s House, who has been our partner in sponsoring this preschool since 2002.  Many thanks always to Karen Barton for blowing on the embers, Keith Barton for supporting the vision, and their Board of Directors for directing support to keep this all alive on behalf of children in Albany, Oregon, Mhondoro, Zimbabwe, and young ones everywhere!

Puzzle Play at the Nhimbe Preschool

The orchard and garden continue to bear fresh food to compliment whatever comes from town.  We work hard to provide a balanced and healthy meal…often the main meal of the day for these children. Although a small opening into their lives, this meal is a critical one, as most children this age are not receiving the kind of food that we provide, in their homes or at other preschools.

Quick Look at Lunch

The Nhimbe preschool playground did not exist before a Zimbabwean NGO found our preschool to be a model in Zimbabwe, and asked if they could build us a playground. We have maintained it and are very grateful for the donation! Everyone loves it!

Nhimbe Preschool Playground

Like usual, there is much to share, and little time to peek into another part of the planet.  Hope you have enjoyed this tiny open window into the latest of the hearts and lives of the rural Mhondoro Nhimbe for Progress community. 

Thank you! Your continued supports makes all of this possible!

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