ZESA, the electric company responsible for getting electricity to many homes in Zimbabwe, is proposing bringing the wiring from the main road to the Nhimbe Community Center for a reasonable fee. We will be partnering with a local business to do this. Currently we don’t need electricity but may eventually, as part of a future clinic, school, or business. Our solar panel are sufficient for our current needs but this has us ready for growth!
Our Donhodzo Health Center provides services to anyone who comes to its doors without charge. We offer conventional approaches, traditional herbs, alternative methods and counseling. One of the alternatives is that our Senior Nurse has been trained in NMT (see nmt.md) and has had great success. An adjunct to this is a new program that he will be setting up, so that practitioners from the US may remotely treat village residents with NMT. Ancient Ways will obtain tests, blood for instance, CT-4, etc., as part of the before and after comparison for clinical purposes as the need exists.
The general staff budget received a raise of almost 14%. This is a drop in the proverbial bucket, but is a start. Unfortunately, when the Zim-dollarization occurred in early 2009, and our own US economy began its difficult shift, the costs increased in Zimbabwe and their wages in effect decreased, while our ability to compensate them further also went into a holding pattern. Taking decisive action regarding tightening the expenses belt has helped and everyone has been waiting for things to change. Typically people don’t want to think about giving people increases in their wages and yet it’s these very people that are providing the services we count on. Those who received an increase are very grateful as it has made a difference in their lives, both monetarily and in morale.
Our Senior Nurse reports: “All girls have been afforded underwear in a colorful presentation ceremony by our Director which coincided with the August Girl Guides Camp. This goes a long way in addressing the many sanitary issues of the girl child in our disadvantaged communities. " Check out the video soon to be online. In hind sight, its clear that purchasing underwear was a first step towards assisting the young girls with their monthly care challenges, which has recently been brought to our attention. "Their parents have expressed their profound joy for the timely and most appropriate gift of a lifetime.”
Our Nhimbe library is open on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturday and we have been having a sizeable number of people coming and utilizing the many books in our library. We are continuously looking for a lasting policy to safeguard our books as well as making it flexible for people to have access to our books and read for themselves. As of now, people come to the library, read books within our premises and return the book the same day.
We are looking into alternative ways to improve the reading population in our community. Several years ago we lent books just like US libraries do but we met with a quantity of theft and a lack of understanding. Many books have come to the library via annual trips bearing suitcases. We have now been sponsored by a non-profit who will cover the postage to allow us to send books in the mail, although the costs are quite high.
Our library is short of some set of books now being used in schools and would like to obtain them to make life more comfortable for our kids who are going to school. Typically 5 or more children share one school book. This would require a donation of several hundreds of dollars to furnish the library with these books.
Our Senior Nurse reports that, “Marimba music has continued and is on a steady increase because of the major exodus that occurred that saw most of the experienced marimba players moving to towns thereby cultivating different players. Two weeks ago our marimba team was invited to play at the Mhondoro National Agricultural Show and they performed very well!”
A total 70 girls are attending Girl Guides Camp and learning important lesions on the growth of a girl. In one of our discussions with our Senior Nurse, the camp leaders and the older girls, we have realized that these particular girls were having challenges in dealing with their monthly cycle because of difficulty in accessing appropriate materials for sanitary needs. Some of the girls have gone to use unhealthy scraps of fabric which pose a great risk in developing infection, leading to disease and may also lead to the many forms of low self-esteem. The team in Zimbabwe says “We therefore plead for help for the girls for the provision of sanity wear. Thank you for the resolute support for the girl child.” It has been made clear that this is a priority and we are looking at solutions.
Our Boys Program Leader reports that “We now have 62 boys that participate in the Boy Scout Machapro program. Last school holiday they inaugurated the boys scout camp that saw boys coming together and learn life skills and wisdom from the elderly who graced the occasion. The interaction gave the platform for the boy child to air their concerns and many questions as they grow up. Wonderful contributions came from the elderly who gave words of advice on the many cultural dynamics and expectations for a boy in his path to become the man that he should be.”
Upper Grades - We now have a qualified Law practitioner and two female Bachelor of Arts graduates coming out of the village children who have gone through our sponsorship programs. We currently have two University graduates returning for further advanced level education.
Secondary Exam Fees - We also managed to pay examination fees for a total of 24 Form 4 students in both projects. In Zimbabwe the student’s family is required to pay a fee so they can take the exam required for graduation from grade 7 but most critically from Form 4 Secondary School.
Primary and Secondary - School begins in January and ends in December in Zimbabwe. This year we have sponsored close to 80 students within our Jangano project in Dewedzo, Rusape, and a total of near 390 Nhimbe for Progress kids in Mhondoro. We struggled to keep our older Jangano students enrolled as the school districts raised their fees to be outside of our budget – many had to leave our program.
Preschoolers - Additionally we had a total of 83 children enrolled in the Nhimbe Preschool, which includes 44 boys and 39 girls. The preschooler’s attendance has been very satisfactory overall and above the usual even though there was some cold winter weather in June through August.