Best Friends Forever

Goats and Young Girls Flourish!

Thank you so much for your recent contributions toward our efforts to uplift our neighbors in Zimbabwe! There is much activity on the ground there, so I’m not sure where to start. First, let me give a brief update about the water and food situation with more to follow after this weekend.

We’ll have pictures about the maize delivery that began the beginning of March, hopefully by next week. This will include an update sharing the exciting irrigation plans, about which we continue to remain very optimistic. If you haven’t read about the drought or our last blog please click here. Your help with this undertaking is impactful! If you are in a position to help us in this work, just know that we continue to source the special drip hose plus offer a workshop to all the families who are interested. More to follow in a few days!

Besides a drought update here are a few pictures of the goats we bought for the staff volunteers in January. This was our way of saying thank you to them for all of their commitment and dedicated hours in creating this “happening place” called Nhimbe for Progress. We very much appreciate all they are doing for the community at large, so gave each staff member a goat. The best part of a goat gift is that they are all nannies, and will bring future kids for years to come. Having too many goats is a good thing. Goat meat is often needed for formal gatherings, like weddings, funerals and the like, so everyone is very appreciative. Many thanks to you!

Goat with Febby
Febby, our co-director, head of the preschool and MMC, is radiating Tatenda chaizvo (we thank you very much) as she holds her goat!
Goats with staff
Some of the staff with their nannies, feeling mighty happy.
Goat with Kenny
Kenny with his goat, looking very pleased. He is our MMC Marimba teacher and gardener as well.

As you can see, the volunteers all are feeling appreciated! We work to see that they feel recognized in various ways, because the stipend they are given is not as high as we would like. These kinds of bonuses do make a difference.

MMC Distribution

So far in 2024, thanks to your incredible assistance, we have been able to put 360 start-up kits in the hands of new girls in the area.  We are continuing to reach out to the Rukuma primary and secondary school as they are well-organized, being in a partnership with Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe.  Because of this, the teachers there are able to provide all of the services that we need to fulfill our program requirements.  We provide the start-up kits for these remote locations, and they are able to provide the meetings and follow-up. I love collaboration!

Organizing Distribution
This distribution is for the new Nhimbe for Progress girls.
Distribution to Tiny Teens
With Febby (left), the MMC lead, and Fortunate (right), the second-in-command and the voice you most often hear in the videos, the girls are given their soaking buckets and supplies, which last 3-5 years, amazingly enough. From the tiny ones still in primary to the secondary older girls, they are all very grateful!
Soap Distribution
Receiving a bar of soap each month helps the family with their priorities and keeps hygiene in the discussion. Putting soap on the grocery list can be really tough when there is not enough to eat.
Best Friends Forever
One of the best parts of contributing to the MMC program is seeing BFF (best friends forever) blossoming!
MMC Teen Care Camp Just Last Week

As the school closed for the term, we snagged 120 Nhimbe girls and let them slide right into their fall holiday with us for a few days.  We hadn’t had a camp since 2019 and it felt sooooo good!  Thank you for your tremendous support reaching across the globe to these maturing girls. They, like many girls around the planet, struggle to have appropriate monthly care supplies and essential guidance from mentors during puberty.  We are so grateful for your help making it possible to provide the girls with our MMC Teen Care Camp opportunity!

As is traditional, the girls carry their belongings on top of their heads. They also bring firewood as able, contributing to the costs of the camp.

Bearing modern backpacks and their MMC bucket, these girls are ready to chill for the weekend.  Actually, they remain very active but it’s fun-filled with non-routine activities, plus they get to make so many friends.  Here is a video to open a nice window to being there.

Check In
And the final step to be fully present is to turn in your parents’ release form for the slumber party.
Getting ready for the evening activities…how exciting! This girl has been to more than one camp and has earned her place as Firestarter.

Three meals a day with beans, rice, chicken, sadza, cabbage, tomatoes, tea with milk, etc. on our grocery list . . . these girls are eating well . . . for some, these are likely the best meals they have had in a while!

This song the girls are sharing is reminiscent of the Girl Guides International roots, which supported our beginnings.  They practice marching and salutes as part of the program. Here they are heading out to the forest.


The hiking is always a favorite part of the camp.  Think about it…how often is it safe anywhere in the world for a girl to go off into the forest?  But with the group it is totally fine and very empowering.  They really enjoy climbing trees.


This is most of the tribe . . . seems like a huge commitment on the part of the volunteers who keep things moving so well!

Even though some have their eyes closed, I love how they are being silly and clearly relaxed.
Part of being in MMC is learning about service to the community. Here they have collected small branches to take to the elderly.

This ambuya (grandmother) is getting some assistance at her home.  I’m fairly certain she is blind as she looks very familiar to me.  Without relatives, the elderly rely on community support to get help with the basics. Kindness is often shown to those in need.  There but for the Grace of God, go I.

Another service opportunity is when they sew dolls or puppets for the preschool children. At camp they get to work on learning how to sew.  This is not only practical for homemaking, but very specifically they can learn how to make the reusable washable supplies we provide.  When they move on in their lives from the MMC program they can be equipped with skills.

Now we get to the part of this story with lots more music . . . hoping you have hung in there to the end and can listen in to their incredibly innate vocal gifts. 

Let’s start with the dance-chant.

The Magaya’s home yard is not just swept but they also give him a special song of thanks denoted by the particular way they are clapping.

Here is a very endearing thank you speech to the donors by this young girl.  They practice public speaking to be able to remain confident and clear.

This thank you video is in Shona.  Listen to see if there are any English words coming through.  The word ‘donor’ is not a Shona word.  This means that in the traditional language the word doesn’t exist.  This is true for any words that were not part of the original language. For example, they use the English word for car or truck, popping it into their sentences.  There was basically no English language in the country a mere 140 or so years ago when they were first colonized.

You marimba enthusiasts will enjoy this one, as well as this familiar traditional song. These are our MMC girls and the lessons you have provided! 

This feels like a very unstructured “partaaay” song.

Here the girls are heading home after a great couple of days and nights together.  This has been a wonderful homecoming to camp again after no such opportunity since 2019.  Thank you so much for your continued assistance!

If you have any questions about the programs we are providing, please don’t hesitate to ask!  We love talking with you, so always feel free to reach out!

We are profoundly grateful for those who can budget something to step into this particular way of reaching our Zimbabwean neighbors. Check out the options here and choose your preferred programs.

If you can consider a regular monthly contribution, either directly through your bank, or a recurring donation here on the website, it can make a huge difference to the lives of these people.  Thank you for whatever you can do!


An A-maizing Opportunity to Join Us!

With the rain here in the Northwest its hard to imagine a drought in Zimbabwe, but it is pushing hard on the residents to put food on the table. Besides the lack of maize, produce, and grains, a scarcity of rains and rising heat in many parts of Zimbabwe (including Hwange National Park, closer to Victoria Falls) has caused a crisis for elephants and other animals. I’m not including any of those links here because it’s just too graphic and heartbreaking.

Our villagers are seeing the challenges, and are currently asking for our help. El Niño is receiving credit for this lack of rainfall since October, reducing maize harvests country-wide by half. Here are some general links from last week:

SABC NEWS video in a region that looks much like Mhondoro landscape

To translate this to Mhondoro circumstances and our Nhimbe preschool and staff, we look at the cost of a bucket of maize. A bucket has been $6 and suddenly it became $12, and that is expected only to rise over the next year. This is devastating to the average resident. Reaching all of the Nhimbe villagers is outside of our reach, at least for the moment, but addressing the needs of the preschool and staff is within reason.

Our preschool uses 3 buckets a week to feed the 75 or so young ones. We had pre-purchased enough maize in December to get us through last week, and now suddenly we are in an urgent situation to find and buy maize to get us through March of 2025. We are hoping to get a reduced rate of $10/bucket because of buying by the ton. If successful, we will be overbudget, but happily able to feed the children.

Listen in to the children chillin’ on the porch.

124 buckets for the 13 months should have been $744 and instead would be $1,488. This is only the maize, which is the staple. The prices of other foods that go into the children’s varied preschool diet are also on a steep incline.An average family consumes 3 buckets a month. Our initial goal is to buy the 13 staff members 2 of those 3 buckets at a bulk discount so that they can purchase from Nhimbe over the next 13 months at a reduced rate. We are offering the leverage of the bulk purchasing power to them as a group. During the last 2 drought years we purchased thestaff maize, and you helped us cover the bill completely! This is a generous-sounding proposition to tackle for another year.

Once we completely secure the maize it will be 8 tons in 50 kg bags, to store at the Community Center (which is why we have guards) costing $4,800 for both the preschool and staff. Right now, we are waiting to hear confirmation that the money sent last week is finding the seller well-equipped to help us answer the concern.


If you are able to assist us in speaking to the needs of the preschool students and staff, everyone would be tremendously grateful. Besides offsetting the preschool purchasing (only $500 more costly than expected if we buy in bulk) you have the power to help the staff. With your donations:

  • we could eliminate the need for them to purchase the maize at all, if entirely gifted
  • they buy at an even more reduced rate
  • or they could be given some maize intermittently.

We are also researching whether we can locate some of the special drip hoses to set up more growing power for all concerned. Maize growing season is next November and we pray for rains. These drip hoses would be for produce of various sorts to help carry them through these hard times using their wells. For sure, they can grow more greens than currently is plausible. They are heading into winter, which will be cold and dry.

Whatever we might be able to do can carry a big impact. A drought on the edge of famine hits deep. Besides just plain going hungry, and the complete discomfort of that, malnutrition is actually a leading cause of death, and also how various diseases get a foothold in the first place.

The government isn’t set up to be able to reach the population with adequate help. The aid workers visited a month or so ago, requiring everyone to attend the meeting, and gave 4 people from each village something to take home (like beans and oil). 4 people?! A small village like Magaya’s used to be 30 families, and 130 families made up the largest village in Nhimbe, to give you an idea of what that means. Clearly the government is also feeling this pinch, and is quite overwhelmed.

Check out how well they are reciting!

Thank you so much for your continued support! We are doing our best to walk this path conservatively since the need is so great, and it’s only the beginning…we need to get through to 2025 harvest time next April when green mealies (green maize) can be roasted and enjoyed. Please always feel free to call or write with questions. 

Preschool Grads 2023 proud

Warm Wishes for Your New Year!

Thank you for your continuing support helping us here at Ancient Ways to help them, the residents around and about Nhimbe for Progress in Mhondoro, Zimbabwe. We are headed into our 30th year as Ancient Ways and our 25th year sponsoring Nhimbe for Progress. We offer a rich variety of opportunities and resources to the local village residents, which is all due to you and your commitment to assist us in achieving our goals.

If you haven’t seen the annual report and letters, please make time to read about the latest from the villages. Your tax-deductible donations can still be sent until the 31st. If you aren’t affected by the IRS regulations, your contribution is welcome any time! We have a big year ahead and are so grateful for all the ways you do support our work. Please check out our website loaded with options.

The first dedicated Nhimbe program was sponsoring children’s tuition – 21 students on my first trip in 2000 and now 25 years later, we have sponsored thousands of children to attend school.

The first dedicated Nhimbe building program was to build a preschool and operate it in such a way that no child will ever be turned away. There it sat for the longest time without windows or a roof, but just a great desire to bring forth good things. It was Cosmas’ mom, Matilda, who would make the mahewu every night for the morning’s hearty breakfast drink that got the creche program off the ground. She was a treasure.

For over 20 years, the daily meal, with expanded horizons in learning opportunities, plus clean clear abundant water to name a few, all benefit these children directly and the entire community indirectly. Here is a short video giving a little perspective coming out of graduating another 25 children in December of 2023.

Preschool Grads 2023 proud

Aunties, maybe siblings, parents, and teachers are all present and accounted for to make this a big day.  Here is a great example of all of how the graduation is the child’s first step into the academic world, wearing their graduation gown and receiving their diploma.

Preschool Grads 2023 attendees

We build a special temporary tent to house the visitors on this big day. School officials and the councilors for the local government are both in attendance. In addition to the child and her father, we see Simon, who is Cosmas’ “cousin brother” and the headman of the Magaya Village, plus Febby Shava, who is our preschool head as well as one of the preschool teachers.

Preschool Grads 2023 food
Preschool Grads 2023 prizes

The first picture above shares most everything except the chickens that were purchased for the rest of the meal. I see rice, maputi, which is puffed maize snack much like popcorn, a tangerine type of oranges, and an orange soda drink to supplement the main dish. We aren’t lavish with the graduation ceremony, but spent $100 for all of the diplomas, the prizes, and the food for all attendees. The other picture shows the prizes that are given to the graduates. The main obvious gift is what is called an exercise book, which is a standard tablet that is a requirement for going to school.

Normally our preschoolers are so stoic in their graduation picture but this one we caught them relaxed! We look forward to their continued education and success.

Here is wishing you a relaxing and prosperous new year! Thank you again for your continued support – please see our 2024 Focus page that summarizes how you do make the difference! Tatenda Chaizvo! We thank you very much!

Kutsinhira - Ziriwo


Can You Make Time to Check-in Here?

Warm winter greetings where ever you are! We know that you are busy, and the world appears to be moving too fast to take it all in. Please, if you can, just take a minute to see what’s inside, and if now isn’t the moment, mark this as important, and come back later? Thanks much! 

This blog is really all about you. Your telling of our story is a deep breath, and without it, we can’t really penetrate the illusion that appears to be in the driver’s seat. Sorry if this sounds too far out, but to hold a vision and breathe life into it, we have to suspend our disbelief, which, when it’s hammering us with physical limitations, one can slide into being less than optimistic. Your time, your attention, your contributions all make the difference.

We continue to feel enormous gratitude for your ongoing support in so many ways…your encouraging words, your prayers, and of course, your donations are all positively uplifting! This annual opportunity is when we get to share what makes us tick, and we appreciate however you get involved! HERE is our focus for 2024:

We are super excited to watch the programs and services blossom in Mhondoro. We know that after traveling this road with our partners in rural Zimbabwe for 25 years, we have experienced what they face day to day, and tough times may be in front of us. But, even with everything going on in the world, we all continue to remain strong and resilient in spirit. Check out for more details. And, always feel free to call or email. We thank you very much – Tatenda Chaizvo!

P.S. Do you have a small amount of time to volunteer? Are you interested in working with photos and have a little tech skill? Please reach out if so! We have a special job looking for you.

HeartWorks ElderCare Quilt


The Ambuyas Quilt Project

Late fall greetings from Lacomb! Freezing temps have just locked it in that we are indeed heading into winter. It’s time to warm up by the fire and hunker down!  

We so appreciate all the ways you have been supportive of our vision and accomplishments this year. We continue to work with the community on the ground in a variety of ways, and this year had a new blossom on the vine, further catering to the elderly.

You may remember how Nhimbe was born with a broad and deep sweep – the very first long list of concerns being made when Cosmas and I met in 1999 in Eugene, the day that Dumi passed on, with Dumi being my first Zimbabwean teacher and stirring my passion for the music. This synchronicity then passed the baton. From there, many seeds have sprouted creating what we now know as Nhimbe for Progress.

Fast-forward 20-plus years, with your help in 2020, just before Cosmas passed on, we managed to provide abundant hygienic water access for our Community Center programs, allowing us to grow a better garden among other things, and empowering us to give the elderly their traditional greens staple on a continual basis. This was the beginning of providing the elderly with specific direct assistance, and in my mind the start of HeartWorks ElderCare.

This year, a local quilt artist, Elle Garrison, offered to donate many incredible quilt tops to reach the elderly in our rural Mhondoro area. Why would this sound attractive with all the other needs pushing on our door?

  • Did you know that Zimbabwe gets chilly in the winter, averaging 50 degrees, and rarely below 42. Many years ago, my June trip to the villages found me in the cold without relief…just couldn’t get warmed up for an entire month plus. Rural living in a hut is much like camping, but imagine limited campfire access for the duration.
  • Did you know that many people all over Zimbabwe, sleep on the ground? Sometimes their hut has cement but also with poorer folks, they can also be sleeping directly on the earth.
  • The elderly particularly feel the cold to the bone, and even though they may have grown up this way, that doesn’t soften the reality.

Many pieces of the puzzle on this side of the planet were solved and obstacles overcome to be able to successfully put together six comforters for the elderly. We worked together for several months. One grandmother (ambuya) in each village was honored with this incredible gift, recognizing her important place in the community. These women were chosen by the headmen as the neediest, for instance, either because they have no one, i.e., no children that help them out, or they have health issues prohibiting them getting appropriate help.

Our Nhimbe project director, Febby Shava, called each of the women to come to the Community Center, and they had no idea why they were summoned. One of them has a heart condition and couldn’t make the walk that day, and another was an hour late arriving as she was resting along the way due to asthma. They were so very surprised, amazed, and simply touched by the special gift. This story will be told for many years to many. Please check out the slide show at the bottom where information about each is shared, e.g. their name, age, village.


2023 has marked a very sweet and memorable time in Nhimbe’s history. Friends and family contributions to accomplish these comforters were donated earlier in the year with specificity so as to not take anything away from our preschoolers, the MMC maturing girls, or our W.A.T.E.R! programs. These ordinary ambuyas felt especially honored and share their gratitude in these videos.

Here they are saying thank you with the traditional clap (Makombere).

Here they are singing thank you good work!

Here they are with dance and song! She is very delighted.

Here they are packing up to go home. This shows the traditional carrying technique most often used for babies, but here she will carry her comforter home on her back.

Here is the one ambuya who couldn’t attend and returned on a different day (in her Sunday best).

Start to Finish

We can all imagine the difficulties of aging. We found the entire process very dear. Here for your consideration are our only obstacles to solve for the future quilts:

  • Postage to ship a comforter was around $45 each, by shipping all six together.
    The merino wool batting was $33, to give the best warmth.
  • Quilting is being donated for only $25 – we concluded that although the first batch was tied comforters, for the longevity with the wool batting we decided that quilting would last better.
  • This totals $103 … are you able to fit some or all of this amount in your budget?

All of the other time and materials are being freely given. Could you contribute towards bringing comfort to the ambuyas in 2024? Six pieced-tops are literally already made for next year and ready to be framed and quilted! When our US team begins early, it ensures that the quilts will arrive before June’s winter. We ideally are shipping 1st of May.

Does this idea of reaching out to the elderly in the Nhimbe villages touch you? I recall in 2018 there were three elderly residents who passed on during my visit. Each was over 100 years old! We all have, or have had, elderly in our lives to whom we would like to offer comfort. Here is a modest avenue!

Let us know what you think and whether you are able to add something to the proverbial pot to bring more healing and kindness to someone you will likely never meet. Click here, and choose HEARTWORKS ELDERCARE, so that we will direct it specifically to the care of our Nhimbe for Progress elderly, making their later years feel more acknowledged and gentler.

Thank you for considering this venture! Tatenda Chaizvo!


When The River Wakes Up & Other Newsworthy Events!

Fall Greetings – Hoping you are having a wonderful harvest in both your goals for this year, as well as in your garden, orchard, freezer, or what-have-you. Here, it is THE time to feel squirrel impulses and get ready for winter…food, firewood, and pulling out the first of the scarves. 

We have an exciting addition to our Marketplace! Alyson Quinn has written a delightful book: When the River Wakes Up, and has donated copies to Ancient Ways. If you have a heart for Zimbabwean culture and history, it’s a must read. Are you part of a book club, or could otherwise bring this book from our Marketplace into your life or local community? The soft cover is a great way to share a good read from a female author, offering some depth in perspective, while at the same time, supporting our work there. We are covering the shipping!

Malídoma Patríce Somé, PhD, well-known traditional elder and author, recommends this book on Alyson’s website. As does our own Joyce O’Halloran, retired math professor, llama-raiser extraordinaire, and serious long-time Zimfest volunteer: “When the River Wakes Up opens with a child’s-eye view of the wonders of nature along with confusion stemming from racism in 1970’s Zimbabwe. With a beautifully flowing narrative, Alyson Quinn paints vivid pictures of family dynamics, African animals, and Zimbabwe’s transition to independence. We are guided through the maturation of a young girl who is coming to terms with the clash between Western beliefs and African mysticism.” 

Besides making this book available, we are bringing the village crafts to the First Christian Church (FCC) Craft Fair in Corvallis, as well as more African rocks. Much of our inventory left the warehouse for Zimfest and didn’t return but we still have some incredible hand-made items to share. The FCC Craft Fair borders the Fall Festival and runs over the same weekend of September 23rd-24th, with the FCC organizational proceeds going to support non-profits doing great work in the community. The Ancient Ways booth will be there only for 9-23.

Additionally on that Saturday, we look forward to bringing you the beautiful and uplifting music from Zimbabwe on marimba. Tamuka will be performing from 10 to 11 am and again from 11:45 to 12:15 at FCC, while the main stage for the Fall Festival is quiet. Our beginning group Mavambo, which started in June, will be playing in the last set – this is their first performance with Ancient Ways and we are all super excited!

Local music opportunities – Please come and say hello!

  • September 23rd, 10-11 and 11:45-12:15 pm FCC Craft Fair, 6th and Madison in Corvallis
  • September 30th, 10 – 12pm, Scio Saturday Market’s last call, at the fairgrounds
  • October 7th, noon to 2 pm, Silverton Sidewalk Shindig – new location in this annual event where all of Silverton is engaged in diverse music genres all day and night, in a variety of venues TBA
  • New beginning classes are starting Mondays at 5:30-7 pm at FCC, with existing beginning marimba on Tuesdays, same time. Call with questions!
  • An opening for an experienced player with Tamuka is a possibility. Reach out if you are interested.

Thank you for your continued support and interest in our work in Zimbabwe. Over 1,500 villagers and historically thousands of children (this year alone well over 500 to include MMC and preschool) have been given opportunities that have otherwise not existed before. We are pleased to be part of helping to uplift the rural residents, and giving these particular kids more resources and new horizons!

In much appreciation and baskets of gratitude!

Mudavanhu “Muda” Magaya Picture

Exciting Local Upcoming Events!

Thank you ever so much for your very immediate response to our focused initiative keeping the Nhimbe Community Center in good repair! There is enormous gratitude here, and there, for your continued support. We soo appreciate it. Now, its winter there and extremely cold this year. Nhimbe is well prepared for the next summer rains and pray they are plenty for the crops and not the torrential type.

Locally, the next two weeks are packed with a Zimbabwean focus. Over the last two weeks we have played three times in our communities, from Scio to Silverton and Philomath, sharing this incredibly uplifting music and are now heading into three more performances in the next two weeks, and more, more, more of this spirit with many people from everywhere coming to Corvallis to share in the genre!

  • This Saturday night, Tamuka Marimba and Chipindura Marimba are playing the evening until dark at Makindu’s fundraiser, a non-profit founded in Brownsville (much like Scio/Lacomb where Ancient Ways was born). They work in Kenya and I originally heard of them the same year that Cosmas first came to the states, and now destiny has put our lives together July 29th.
  • Sunday the 30th from 6 pm to 8 pm, you will find Diki Diki Marimba playing at Common Fields in Corvallis, a great food truck pod, and a nice fresh space to enjoy family and friends. Come join us!
  • Zimfest, stirs the air using OSU in Corvallis as its base this year August 3rd through 6th. What a delight to have this festival locally! Do put it on your schedule to share in the Zimbabwean music and dance performances, workshops both about culture and music (for all levels of interest and experience), as well as a marketplace where the music is free all day. Evening concerts are on a donation basis and are outside this year! You will find Ancient Ways as a vendor with hand-crafts from the villages, as well as offering amazing rocks, minerals, crystals and stones (what’s the difference?) in collaboration with Yes, Africa Rocks!
  • Additionally, Mudavanhu (Muda) Magaya, Cosmas’ son and Nhimbe’s co-director, has come to the US on tour visiting a few universities into November and will be teaching and playing at Zimfest. Come see him on Saturday night’s stage!
  • August 11th is a venue for the elderly, where Tashinga Marimba will be part of an annual summer barbeque for Regency Park Place. Not likely that you will attend but if you are looking for care for parents or friends, always ask them about their entertainment! We really enjoy our elderly audiences and play many of these kinds of opportunities.
  • Last but not least, Muda will be offering music along with Diki Diki, and giving a presentation at the First Christian Church on August 12th at 3 pm. This will be an opportunity to hear him share about the Shona culture and his experiences living in Zimbabwe as both a city dweller and living in the rural area, which is the norm for the modern Zimbabwean staying in touch with their roots. He has been running Nhimbe since his father passed away due to Covid in 2020. Please call with questions.
  • While here at the farm after Zimfest, Muda is also available if you are interested in learning mbira, the authentic instrument. An mbira is provided during the lesson to check it out. This would be from August 7th to 14th. After that he will be in Eugene at Kutsinhira if that works better for your schedule.

As always, we appreciate your interest and enthusiasm, bringing awareness to Zimbabwe however you are inclined. Thank you for sharing our story!

Please make sure and introduce yourself when you see us anywhere…we look forward to meeting in person!

Demolished Hut

Your Help is Needed Now!

Summer Greetings!

This has been an enormously expansive year for our music programs here, and an extremely challenging time to continue our Nhimbe for Progress services in Zimbabwe. It has taken me months to get my brain around how to share the details, as we were hit every couple of weeks with another problem. Some of these hardships are the same as we face here, like increased cost of gas and goods, for example, without wage increases, so you are well aware.

To keep the school open, repairs weigh-in heavy. Much of this maintenance has been a combined result of incredibly difficult weather along with being the first buildings from 2002 forward. Let’s start with the kitchen where the daily meals are prepared.

Roof Partial

Maybe you remember from our year-end letter that the government regulations have tightened, and they do not want the children to use the large hut with divided rooms, but to have separate classrooms for each age. Our solution was to move the library into the large hut, giving the new books expansion we were planning, and use one of the huts we had built for a library, as one classroom. And then, use the old original library, a rather smallish building, as the 3rd classroom. That seems to have resolved the regulatory issue, but suddenly the roof began leaking as the weather was pounding…see the upper area on the top right…way too much water coming in for books or students!

That all seemed workable but there was a hole at the top of the large hut (divided rooms for the new library), also letting in far too much water. I know, you are thinking “why not use asbestos tiles, instead all of this thatch?” ha.


Well, if that wasn’t enough, there was a toilet needing constructed. No pictures, but it needs to be replaced by the traditional Blair-style rural pit toilet. Muda and I have discussed other options, but nothing yet is possible.

All of this building maintenance totaled almost $3,600, which when unexpected, has hit our annual budget hard. Normally we have little issues here and there, but this was torrential. Additionally, when we proceeded to paint the tops of the wells, we found 60 of them (out of the 156) which were seriously damaged and couldn’t be painted, so that added in for another $1,000 plus.

On a very positive note, we have not dropped a beat in providing services! With an ever-increasing demand for the Mhandara Monthly Care program (MMC), over 435 girls have received supplies this year. The local Nhimbe girls receive music instruction, as well as meeting weekly for sewing and teen guidance, and everyone, particularly the parents and community leaders, are so very grateful.

Children with Green Baskets

Magaya family hosted many guests from all over the world who were able to visit our Center!

Additionally, we are keeping the Nhimbe preschool in full operation despite the major repair issues. Over 75 children gather to be fed, educated, and nurtured at the Community Center during all school sessions January to December. To top all of this off, we were able to build 6 additional wells this year (please, be patient about receiving your pictures – just know that everyone is enjoying the fruits of your donation for their daily water!)

We are hoping that you have something in your budget to contribute to our programs during this particularly challenging time of raising over $4,600. Hopefully you can see how it’s been difficult to put words to the onslaught of reports … I don’t want to be a doom and gloom announcer as it takes everything in our power to stay in a positive vibe during the changes on our planet. Here is to staying optimistic, on the front edge of the beat, and holding a vision of everyone having the basics!

We will be at Zimfest sharing what we have, August 3rd through 6th in Corvallis at OSU, and we hope to see you there…buying an item or two certainly makes a difference to our fundraising as well! Days and nights of music as well as classes, all including many Zimbabweans who have been able to get their visas. Please come say hello!

Thank you for your continued support in handling these extreme circumstances! For us, that $4.6k is a chunk o’ change. The funding to accomplish all of this is rooted in your generosity! We also do our best to raise money for the Zimbabwe programs by teaching the music here, and performing with three different ensembles around the mid-valley, for public and private events… check out the venues. We do have new beginning classes in Corvallis now, as well as for our ongoing evolving groups since 1993. If you are interested in learning to play, or have an opportunity for us to share the music, please reach out!

We appreciate all that you are, and all that you do! Thank you for joining with us in helping our Zimbabwean neighbors during this time! 

Mother's Day Picture

Upcoming Music Opportunities!

Late spring Greetings!

Is this for real? It’s been extra chilly this spring, so plants have been hiding out inside and going into the earth and the deck pots quite late, but now this weekend’s temps are going into the 80’s and 90’s, of all things!


The incredible weather is coinciding with our annual pilgrimage to the Thyme Garden, just east of Alsea on Sunday May 14th. Here they host a fantastic event in their unique nursery venue surrounded by old growth, on behalf of Mother’s everywhere. On both Saturday and Sunday, vendors from all over the west coast share their wares, complemented by a variety of musicians, with their own exquisite Thyme Garden cuisine tailored for all attendees. The nursery is open! Both of our Ancient Ways groups are playing on this sunny Sunday…please join us! 

• Chipindura Marimba – 11:30 to 1 pm
• Break – Come by to say hello!
• Tamuka Marimba – 2:30 to 4 pm

Also, in May on the 27th, Tamuka Marimba is playing at the Scio Saturday Market, where they bring real food and crafts to the local scene from this very small rural community (under 1,000 people) founded in 1860 and still thriving. We will play from 10 to noon as we share the uplifting music from Zimbabwe…see you there!

If you can’t make either of these May opportunities, do check out our calendar for additional performances as new ones are added regularly.


Our unique approach to sharing the music from Zimbabwe, both traditional and contemporary, as well as original tunes, has an opportunity to expand in Corvallis. Starting in June, new beginning groups will be happening on Monday and Tuesday evenings, as well as our regular Tuesday classes for intermediate and experienced players.

If you have ever wanted to explore this delightful instrument within the context of the Shona music from Zimbabwe, now is the time! Reach out to us by email or phone!


An extra plus in 2023 is the Zimbabwe Music Festival making its way to Corvallis August 3rd through 6th . . . please check out the Zimfest site. Amazing performances, many selections of classes/workshops and many vendors with everything from Africa. We will be there for the 3 days sharing our village crafts, CDs, as well as Africa Rocks!, a collaboration between Ancient Ways and Oregon Mineral and Mercantile. This is a great way to share your love for Zimbabwe!

Do reach out and let us know when you attend any of these events so we can speak face-to-face…too often with the cyber world front-and-center, a digital version of you is in front of me, and I would love to see you up-close-and-personal! I am enormously grateful for the way technology allows you to donate simply (here and here) as well as text, email and phone, but know I also genuinely treasure the hands-on version!

Enjoy this weather . . . hope to see you soon! Tatenda Chaizvo! 

Picture of girls

2023 Mhandara Monthly Care Continues Successfully!

Our Mhandara Monthly Care (MMC) program continues with great success, as a direct result from your support! We already have 267 girls on the wait list for 2023. So far, we have only connected with our nearby Nhimbe girls and three other schools (Rukuma primary and Gavaza primary and secondary). With your help we can further reach the girls at Makaure and Nyamashesha at a minimum. Let me share our process a bit, so you can see for yourself how your donation makes a huge difference! (Here is more detailed information.)

The Nhimbe for Progress MMC girls were the first to be established, as an outcome of our early efforts with the Youth Well Being camps. That is where we first learned in 2010 that some parents couldn’t afford underwear for their girl children so we started “Underwear for Over There”, and then at the next camp we found many girls were missing school and extra-curricular activities because of inadequate monthly care supplies. They were also lacking the nurturing of the traditional tete or auntie, due to the deaths of many women of that generation, as well as land redistribution encouraging families to move from their rural homes. All of this was the birth of what we know as MMC. Every girl deserves these basics! Do you agree?

Here a Nhimbe group is receiving some monthly soap as part of January services. Soap is an added expense for a family already struggling to put food on the table, make uniforms and pay school fees. The second girl in on the left is a joker…has her foot on her friend’s, who is giving her a knowing glance.

Picture of girls
Picture of girls

We have both new girls just beginning to blossom, and those that have been there for years. These four girls above are brand new to the program.

We have about 20 girls who received their first start-up kits in 2018 who are just now receiving a second start-up kit. The longevity nature of these re-useable supplies is unexpected. We felt that 3 years was about the normal life, but surprisingly they have lasted longer.

The Nhimbe girls continue to study marimba on Friday afternoons. Some girls play, dance, hosho, sing and drum, while others are studying sewing, or going to our great Nhimbe library, for example.

Our goal is to empower the girls to play, rather than encourage timidity like in the co-ed classes…seems like they are doing great – don’t see any shyness! Anyone who has taken marimba knows that class lessons may mean playing the same song over and over again, although, each segment has something special to learn and share. By the end there is a new hosho player (the rattles), for example. In all cases, the preschoolers who attend, because they are tagging along with staff moms or siblings, are just delightful, learning through immersion! Here is a video link of a recent class.

The rest of the satellite schools we call the Hombe Program, meaning everyone else non-Nhimbe. We talked with the headmastser:

I am Mr Shangwa, the headmaster of Rukuma primary school. Though today I did come in casual because I had another thing, another project, to do with the parents. That is why I am casually dressed. I really appreciate the program extended to this school, being a very much disadvantaged school. Appreciate though the gifts that I am getting, we are receiving, from Nhimbe for Progress being managed by Mr. Magaya. Mr. Magaya is really helping the school and assisting the disadvantaged people in the area. I also appreciate the hand being given by the donors from outside Zimbabwe. Whatever they are giving us is being fully utilized, and given directly to the disadvantaged child, children. Please would you keep it up because the assistance is really being appreciated by the poor. Thank you very much.

Picture of building
This is at Rukuma. They hand sickle the grass to keep things reasonably mowed.

In this video, the headmaster also shows us the condition of their preschool buildings, which have been in this sad state for around 5 years. With only poor parents being served, the repairs do not get done. We are so grateful for you being benefactors of our Nhimbe preschool saving them from the Rukuma fate! We’ve seen our share of inclement weather and other disruptive issues. Rukuma is a primary school going from preschool up to grade 8.

Muda taxis Febby and Fortunate, our main leaders and also preschool teachers, to each satellite school to make our program approach practical, since it’s quite a distance to walk easily. They then share on the grass with the new girls who are now ready for MMC. The female teachers, who you can see sitting at the picnic table, support the girls on a routine basis. Notice the school building’s broken windows, which is commonplace in rural Zimbabwe.

Teaching Class Picture

We also have been able to provide MMC to the Gavaza school again this year. The headmistress takes care of a primary and secondary school and shares her appreciation here in this video.

My name is Victoria Muchenje. I am the head of the Gavaza primary school, in Chegutu District, Mashonaland Province, in Zimbabwe. I would like to appreciate the gesture being taken by Nhimbe for Progress and our partners in America, especially in uplifting the lives of the girl child in disadvantaged communities including our school, which if they could continue doing that, and even more. To our partners, please do not tire! Keep on giving us a hand. We do appreciate it. May God bless you. Thank you very much.

She points out to our team that the government no longer provides any support for the school and so the parents are required to fundraise for everything. She also explains that the girls are missing valuable class time due to a lack of needed monthly care supplies. The school staff, the parents, and the children are all so very grateful for MMC. Please donate here – any amount will help the health and wellbeing of our maturing girls!

First, the secondary and primary girls are given the outline of the program before registering in this video.

In this video the girls are then registered, taking care that they have not received supplies previously.

Singing is one of the many ways they introduce the new girls into the program. Check this singing out!

The focus of the day becomes the distribution of the MMC bundle, which gets put together in a great package including the re-useable washable supplies, a soaking bucket, giant sealable baggie (these were nearly impossible to get when we first started a few years ago), and a sewing kit for learning how to make a purse. The older girls are called upon to help.

Picture of girls

In the following picture I love the two girls in the center sharing a lovely relaxed countenance during this event…they look like best buddies!

Picture of girls

We are super proud of our Nhimbe leaders, Febbie, Fortunate and Muda, as well as our manufacturing arm of the team, for making MMC a reality, and making it possible for us to reach out to the Hombe schools with the help of the local teachers. It takes many pieces of the puzzle for this to succeed. It feels like the parents, teachers and girls are all passionate about this work and helping it to flourish!

Thank you ever so much for your continued support and encouragement. Please consider a contribution of any amount here….whatever you can do makes a difference!