3rd Field Report Update from the Ground December 6, 2019

We all want to Thank You! Tatenda! for the magnificent gift of your attention to this small place on the globe, so far from you and your busy lives. If you draw a line through the earth it looks like its exactly on the other side of the world…this gives us pause. 

Still in our 20th anniversary year for Nhimbe, and 25th for Ancient Ways, we are only able to be here working together (nhimbe) for progress because of you!  It’s an amazing journey, which takes endurance, blameless courage, and deep love for humanity.

Please remember us, as you consider how to share your wealth in the world.  $10 here can make a difference!  $1,000 impacts many people, for the long term as well.  Whoever you are and whatever you can do, is felt, and the ripple is farther than you can imagine!  Please check out this year’s annual letter by going to the 2020 Focus on the website menu.

We are continuing to open our hearts and minds to the incredible opportunities here, to see how best to reach into their daily lives.  What is it that they really need today that will carry them the farthest with the most prosperity for health, wealth, and happiness?  Which resources are the key, besides education, which is fundamental, and not free here in Zimbabwe.

One addition to the prosperity here is the drip irrigation system, which is a continuing hit! They fill this bucket 6 days a week to manage the plantings. 

The covo cuttings we took from our established garden are actually doing okay, although you can’t see it well in this picture.  There was some damage during the MMC camp – we really didn’t think about the idea that the girls might not understand the special planting area.  But other than that, many of the starts are fine and taking root.  We can easily replant.  That training was so interesting and has long term positive results for all!

Click the arrow on the video to play Planting Covo Cuttings

The preschool just finished their year…please see the 3rd Field Report here for updates to many of the activities going on here in many of our programs!

Click the arrow above to view the video of preschool students receiving their graduation papers

Again, thank you in advance for any way you can contribute to these successful programs and services!

Diki Diki (little) Message from Zimbabwe!

Morning Greetings from the ground here…days are moving fast….we wake up in the morning to this!

 

Marimba lessons this week

A few of the girls had learned during our Youth Well Being marimba programs we had for years.  Now we are working with the MMC so many new girls are coming in.  This is their first lesson!

Click on the PLAY button on the video below to play the video of the girls playing marimba.

Embroidery continues … helping them with some close up readers makes it easier.  We have several lenses in inventory.  The women are so grateful!  The Dollar Store cashier in Lebanon always wonders what we are doing!

We held the Health Forums to share general hygiene, nutrition, and lifestyle ideas.  The attendance was lower than normal since this is spring time so as farmers without oxen their planting is labor intensive.  

Those who attended loved the discussions.  The highlight is always the Glogerm, which is a fluorescent powder simulating germs on handshaking.  They go under the black cloth with the fluorescent flashlight to see how germs are passed, and how well they wash.  Then they wash again with soap and check again!

Whitney shared all about cleaning water with Moringa seeds that is very dirty after storms.  The bottle of dirty water can be cleared up with crushed Moringa seeds!  It still needs solar disinfection afterwards.

Whitney and Standreck’s experiements are coming along.  This one is Whitney’s egg crate.  They have been breaking ground, direct seeding and doing starts to see how things work here, Whitney at our homestead and Standreck at his mom’s.

Thanksgiving Day preparations gave us a wonderful chicken and full complement of an Afro-American meal to celebrate.

They grow them big here!  

Well testing continues!  In general, the residents need to have well treatments and take more precautions on letting pathogens into their wells.  More on this in the next Field Report.

The money situation here is challenging.  The exchange at the bank has increased by 1 Zim bond since we got here 2 weeks ago.  In the  Villages we thought it had increased to 15:1 but in town a store told us it was 20:1...no wonder Zimbabwe is said to have the highest inflation rate in the world now.This pile of money is just under $500 USD to offer stipends to the volunteers for the work that keeps Nhimbe going.  It’s not a living wage by any means.  Cosmas can’t do anything but try to keep a sense of humor about it!

Good night from our front door to yours! 

Second Field Report From Zimbabwe

Greetings from the ground on the other side of the planet! With modern technology's help along with very good friends we are able to share our second week's story!

Thank you for tuning in! The 2nd Field Report is HERE. Please let us know what you think...either write gogreen@ancient-ways.org or use the Zimbabwe Whatsapp number on the back page to reach Jaiaen and the team!

First Field Report from Zimbabwe!

Greetings from the ground on the other side of the planet! With modern technology's help along with very good friends (like our accountant and wife who are letting me use their internet since we have had a few challenges), we are able to share our first week's story!

Thank you for tuning in! The Field Report is HERE. Please let us know what you think...either write gogreen@ancient-ways.org or use the Zimbabwe Whatsapp number on the back page to reach Jaiaen and the team!

As I explain in the Field Report I just found out that Winifilda and I had a minor breakdown in communication about the size of the purses she was making. I now have 23 purses which are 18"x18" instead of 11"x11". If you ordered a purse, please let me know right away if yours needs to be the smaller one. If so, she will be happy to make it! If not, please let me know and I will be bringing one of these incredible tote size purses back to you. If you don't write me sooooon, I will be writing you, since she needs much advance time doing this with the borrowed treadle. If you didn't order the smaller bag and would prefer the larger size, we have them! Thank you for being proactive and reaching out to me!

JESSICA, WINIFILDA, and CORINA!

Library Hut Thatching Success!

After 17 years of wear and tear, this hut roof needed replacing. Thanks to your help, we managed to get 'er done!

The steps to building a new roof are amazing.

First the old roof is taken down.
And that isn't a quick job...

With a completely new roof, the poles are replaced, not just the grass.

Also not a quick job...

The gum poles are purchased, along with thatching grass, wire, nails, thatching twine and lathe. The poles are found about 27 km from our Community Center. We use a pickup truck and some strong men to cut poles and ferry them.

The area began being deforested in the 1950's and gradually a couple of plantations of gum poles (eucalyptus) sprung up to supplement firewood for the area, as well as provide poles for building.

Then we replace the poles.

Yes...this goes on for a while...and they get it figured out...

The thatch is purchased in completely different places than the poles. We bought in local Chief Rwizi's area from more than 8 villages. Also Chief Ngezi's area sold us thatch from 5 villages. Cosmas and Patricia were ferrying the items with the help of the 3 strong fellows.

It takes many loads to thatch a hut.
What a Beautiful Site!
And, all of our lovely library books are now safe and sound inside!

PLEASE NOTE - The marimba clip is Nyaradzo, from our Mwoyochena CD. This song was donated by Anzanga. This beautiful song is almost 8 minutes long...the clip repeat is only 1.5 minutes.

Get your own copy here!

Upcoming Trip/Permaculture Update

First I want to thank all of you who have either contributed directly to airfare or the financial energy to support this trip! It started with us looking for volunteers, and then a couple of you responding, knowing that the airfare is a burden for a volunteer to be able to offer both the time and the money. Now we have three committed members of the team in addition to myself, ticketed and ready to go! Wow!

Here I wanted to share what we'll be on the ground doing within that first week. We are bringing two instructors from Zambia to share their successful drip irrigation protocol. They will bring drip line, fittings, and the basics to make this system work. They have been implementing this approach in Bulawayo where the water is even more difficult to obtain. These pictures are from their work there.

Its all about the gravity feed!
We buy the poles and buckets to make the table top reservoir that will feed each hose.
They provide the drip irrigation and teach more about raised beds.
Covo (traditional greens like chard or spinach) and tomatoes are being grown here.
Check out that tomato production!
Onions are also a favorite.
The mulching of the middle rows is a standard permaculture practice that they will teach.
This is an incredible harvest for any area!
From big plants to little ones, this technique works!
The lower leaves of this older Covo are being harvested.

Manually buckets of water are poured into the large 5 gallon bucket. Through the gravity feed the water is taken to the end of the row giving just enough water for plant health.

We are excited to implement this at the preschool garden. We will be starting with a small system of 30 meters. Tune in for an update in a couple of weeks!

This kind of prosperous gardening could turn the preschool into a self-sufficient operation in a matter of time. Purchasing the drip line is the primary expense in the operation. Thank you for the special help with these projects.

Special Orders for the Holidays!

We have an unusual opportunity to pre-order holiday gifts that will return to the US on 12-13-19 with our team (which is leaving in a couple of weeks)! If that works for your holiday shopping schedule, we will be bringing back some nicely carved wooden spoons ($8), intricately woven baskets ($10), and beautiful handmade purses (three color choices) with inside pockets ($26). Here are some samples:

The embroidery is random patterns. The sizes are consistently the same. She includes an inner pocket. The fabric bolt swatch shows the colors the best. They are approximately 10" x 10" with a 2" gusset in the bottom. They are extremely well-made. Easy to carry a thermos, keys, phone, plus other assorted items...very roomy but not bulky...the perfect size.

There has been no reliable electricity for quite some time in Harare and so the seamstress is often found at her machine after 10 pm when the electricity comes on, sewing into the wee hours.

This last year Winfilda lost her sister due to a sudden health issue. She is now responsible for her sister's three children, as well as her own. These purses she makes will help her pay school fees for the children as well as put food on the table. She doesn't sell these locally but primarily to us. She is a trained tailor and does an excellent job!

Thank you for helping us help them!

Please email gogreen@ancient-ways.org or call 541-259-4673 or 877-TATENDA with any product or shipping/delivery questions! We leave on 11-11 and must have orders before that date.

Thank you so much for your support of these craftspeople!

Last Call for This Trip to Zimbabwe!

Surprises come in many forms and this time it was unprecedented funding covering the expenses for a volunteer videographer to join Jaiaen on her upcoming trip to Zimbabwe in November!  Leaving 11-11 and returning 12-12 the team will be working in all of the project areas, bringing back art, as well as taking several project supplies (see below). Please read and respond soon to gogreen@ancient-ways.org if you have the video qualifications to offer our 25th anniversary as Ancient Ways, and our 20th anniversary year of working in Zimbabwe. Thank you!

How can you help with your Amazon Smile purchasing power?  First sign up for Amazon smile choosing Ancient Ways in Scio OR.  Then look at the “charity list” that we have prepared with this upcoming trip in mind (notice these items are marked urgent since time is of the essence). 

If you like shopping and want to help, please choose one of the items that we need to take early this next month. (Read the balloon text box next to each item). They will be shipped immediately to our Oregon address, and be able to pack into our Zimbabwe suitcases right away. Please pass these requests to your friends and family. Here is a summary for this trip:

GloGerm powder and fluorescent flashlight – This amazing product is a basic for sharing about hand washing hygiene. In a brief moment one can see how well they wash, and what to do differently. We have used this product in the past health forums and it has been a real hit!

Sensory Letter Cards – Preschoolers learn best through their senses.  These cards offer the upper and lower case alphabet in multiple colors with touch.  Lightweight and easy to take!

Sewing Needles – In Zimbabwe, the needles are coming from China and are below standard, often being rusty, and of course, breaking during use.  These requested needles are high quality, lightweight, and so easy to pack.  How precious it is to sew, particularly with knowledge of how to make monthly care supplies. Purchase just one of the needle 3-packs listed, and almost half of our girls will each get a new needle!

Cotton Canvas Tote Bags – This tote 12-pack is well designed and sturdy.  The women who do textile arts can utilize these high quality totes to design a nice product for sale here.

Car Charger Extender – This great product allows USB and cigarette charging for multiple electronics in one location.  With electricity at a premium both in the city and rural area, our Nhimbe office needs help.  Many people in the city stay up at night to use what little electricity is available.  In the rural area, generators and solar help but not sufficient.  This is a great solution!

Thank you for this assistance!

Zimfest and Zimbabwe News

Summer Greetings!

The Zimbabwe Music Festival 2019 is just around the corner, starting with a free concert on Thursday evening, August 8th at WOU Monmouth, OR, and going through Sunday the 11th, midnight! See Zimfest.org. Please join us there, as we share in the love of Zimbabwe, learning and playing its music, hearing more about its culture, and connecting with like-spirited folk.

All kinds of musicians will be playing most of the day, both outside during the day, and inside for the incredible night-time concerts. If you have never tried your hand at marimba or mbira, now is a great time! Ancient Ways will be both a vendor in the marketplace open Friday-Sunday, and playing as Chipindura Marimba on Saturday at 1 p.m.

If you are attending, please stop in and say hello. Do get in touch now to be a volunteer in the booth for an hour or two, in case you can squeeze us in! We appreciate however you can help and look forward to seeing you there!

The latest news from Zimbabwe has been percolating for about a month. We have been waiting to see how the dust settles. As of the last week of June, anything except Zimbabwean currency became illegal to trade. Its fine to own, but can't be used, other than to exchange it for the Zim bond note. This of course, is so complicated for everyone. Let me leave you here with a brief report from our friend in Zimbabwe:

We are trying to cope with the situation here, both economic and political.   I know that we are more fortunate than many and I don't know how the man in the street is managing these days.  Food is becoming much more expensive and now that we have the ban on spending US$ for goods and services that has only complicated the whole issue.  Of course, people still use dollars, and sellers accept them, but always having to look over one's shoulder.  And there is much confusion about "exchange" rates between the dollar and the newly-created Zimbabwe Dollar (which is a mixture of RTGS and Bond). The official rate is now 8.85 but on the street it is 10, or 12, or whatever the seller wants to use. 

I don't know what the NGO projects do with the dollars they get from the US; it isn't illegal in any way for the non-profits to send dollars - after all, millions of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora send money home on a regular basis, and the economy of the country depends to a large extent on these incoming dollars.  But whether they are still paid out in dollars by Western Union I don't know. And if they are, legally they are required to convert them to ZimDollars - and then to use a registered exchange dealer and get the official rate.  I have no idea how bookkeepers or accountants will account for it with any of these projects or businesses! 

As an example of how costs have escalated, my wife's car was recently serviced; nothing complicated, just a service and oil change.  She was charged an amount which was very nearly half of her monthly salary! 

A large part of the country is having 18 hour power-cuts every day; they have had to change their life-style to sleep during the day and get up at night to do the cooking, washing and housework.  This also means that alarm system batteries are not being charged up, also electric gate batteries.  Hundred of people are now opting for solar power with batteries and inverters - we are in the process of doing so, although we haven't had such severe power cuts (I think because there are some very high-powered individuals lining nearby). 

I don't know where this is all going to end up. 

We too, have no idea where it will all end up. This is the 20th year Ancient Ways is celebrating on the ground in Zimbabwe, and most of it has always been in not knowing...it has never been clear how anything would be resolving. We all just have an enormous amount of faith in the Creative Life Force that cradles the good close to the heart, staying focused, standing for only the best possible outcomes.

Peace and blessings to you and yours - and may we see you at Zimfest!

We Are Accomplishing So Much!

Greetings from rural Zimbabwe... by this salutation I'm not suggesting we are on the ground there with "the children of the soil", but we have some great reports to share from them!

Thank you for your continued support of our vision and mission for 2019. Your partnership is a key ingredient and we can't do it without you!

We hope that you feel our team's efforts to uplift everyone! The obvious recipients are the youth, but the parents and families in the community are deeply touched by our outreach. They are so grateful to be collaborating with us in this effort, as the children are an extremely vulnerable population. Maturing girls are at a tender age and many do not have mothers, or aunties, or grandmothers, so our Mhandara program becomes like a member of the family.

Nhimbe is honored to have 15 regulars and 11 volunteers who keep the wheels of progress moving for all of our programs there. The focus over the Memorial Day weekend was the Mhandara Monthly Care (MMC) program where 230 girls gathered at the Nhimbe Community Center located in rural Mhondoro. This included girls from a near dozen schools.

Thanks to smartphones and Whatsapp we can learn how things are going along from the village perspective...and quite quickly! Please take the time to relax and enjoy the videos over a cup of your favorite beverage!

How do you corral and care for 230 girls? Structure and fun. The various parts of the MMC Teen Care Camp (ideally happening 3 times a year) keep the girls stimulated and focused. This is our first 2019 camp so far this year, as we enter the second term in the education system there. All ages are welcome, but the very youngest normally belong to one of the staff.

The beginning of the hike into the bush

The days are packed with activities:

  • Of course, there is always music!
  • A specially chosen elder is brought in to share women's wisdom with the girls.
  • They spend time in food prep, cooking and cleaning, as well as take a few minutes for exercise as a formal game of netball or stretching.
  • They have an opportunity to go for a walk in the bush, which wouldn't be safe for a girl to wander by herself. This is incredible to be able to indulge in the nature of their home area - just like us going for a walk in the mountains here in the Pacific coast.
Knowing very little Shona I can only make out that they sing about Girl Guides (our sister organization to Girl Scouts), shamwari (friends) and mwoyo or moyo (heart).

We began a partnership with Girl Guides in Harare around 2006. They gave us great structure to get the programs off the ground. Of course we have embellished and enhanced the program to meet our needs, specifically focusing on MMC, which is so basic and paramount.

That same year we printed up t-shirts which you see are still holding up. They use them while at the Center and then they get washed and returned. That was quite an undertaking...I remember buying bolts of t-shirt fabric in various colors and organizing with a printer, all during hyperinflation when you never knew what the next day would bring. I'm amazed that the t-s are still functional and colorful.

Back to the Nhimbe Community Center!
Great fun with the older children teaching the dance lesson!
Even the very youngest are encouraged to whole-heartedly bring themselves to the music as leaders!
Drumming up some fun while waiting for a meal. Many girls are in the kitchen!
The Meal Queue
Fortunate is one of our leaders for the girls as well as a preschool teacher. She has several of her own children, and has been with us for many years. Very dedicated, always enthusiastic and an incredible singer!
Many girls do not normally eat this well at their homes due to poverty.
Relaxing in the shade...wonderful!
Some stretches as part of learning about their bodies and exercise.
We are very blessed to have this retired teacher take an interest in our program! Although you can't hear anything of what is being said, you can see that she is a good teacher and very interested in these girls! She gave a lot and ask for nothing.
Story telling and metaphors are a huge part of Shona culture. This song is all about being completely frank about their bodies and explaining to the boy's and men's advances just exactly where not to touch them.
The bottom line is telling them "don't touch here, here and here" quite literally!
This is a song about power. Note the girl's with their buckets. These buckets come as part of the start-up kits although I see they make a good drum also! At the camp, thirty girls just received the bucket, soap, 3 pair underwear and their re-usable washable supplies (made by our team!) along with a sewing kit to learn to make a small purse, making our efforts potentially far more sustainable.

Thanks for tuning in!

Thanks to your donations we are moving and shaking, and these maturing girls are blessed by your help.

Always feel free to write or call with questions, answers, and encouragement. If you have any ideas on how we can source further financial backing to let us reach more girls, we know what we are doing and we do it well. And, there is so much need.

Tatenda Chaizvo!