The Nhimbe for Progress Community Center gardens continue to produce, even though the inclement weather destroyed crops, and the fire ruined many of their efforts in 2021. We are grateful to see that the elderly residents keep reaping the rewards, as does our Nhimbe preschool.
Since the regular gardener was off work, Efilda, our inventory control person, and Kenny, our MMC (Mhandara Monthly Care) marimba teacher, are harvesting the covo, a green much like spinach and kale. Greens are a staple throughout Zimbabwe.
These tender bunches of covo are now ready for distribution. Everyone is very happy to receive, and be able to offer this help…it’s a win-win. Traditionally, great care is taken to pay attention to the needs of the elderly. Some of the rural residents’ children live in cities, so our community outreach is a deep blessing, by watching out for them. The “elderly” residents were originally defined as 70 years and older, according to our surveys. For the CHANGE! (Covid-19 Health Advocacy Network Growing Education!) distribution, they have changed it to be closer to 60. Although exact age is uncertain, as older records are unreliable, everyone accepts guessing as a valid substitute.
Graduation day for the Nhimbe for Progress Preschool and our resident’s soap/mask distribution were brought together on December 17th. Both went on quiet well. Muda, our new co-director, shares the following story:
“We were graced by the local councilor and health workers. You will notice from the photos some did not even have masks and they had to cover their mouths with their shirt or hat when receiving the masks. We want you to get the true picture on the ground. Covid-19 education is a continual effort.
A total of 253 bars of soap and 253 masks were distributed. Febbie has been getting calls from those that were absent and she will be setting a day soon to distribute more. The councilor was very grateful to Nhimbe for the kind gesture and he will be donating some masks also to the preschool when schools open January 4 2021.
There was great team work on the day from Nhimbe staff. Febbie had everything set up nicely and the attendance by parents was great. For example, Kenny, the Marimba teacher, was busy the day ferrying soap for distribution. Compensation payments were also given on that day, and the staff are very happy and express their profound gratitude.“
The Nhimbe preschool graduated 25 pupils to go to first grade in the surrounding six village community schools, starting up January 4th, 2021. With only five months of schooling under their belts, their demonstrated knowledge speaks to the way that education works well, having all ages of children in one schoolhouse.
Let me share the graduation photos and videos, followed by the Covid-19 intervention pics.
Men to the left, women on the right, in a traditional fashion, here to attend the graduation of 25 little ones.Check out that incredible cistern and windmill…thanks to your continued support!
The graduates are waiting patiently as the ceremony begins.
Finally…their turn to do presentations and receive certificates!
Presenting: Color Identification – in English!
Presenting: Counting to Ten – in English!
Strength in Numbers?
Presenting: Body Part Song in Shona!
Muda, the new Co-Director, presents the certificate to the child and mother, as Febby, the other Co-Director and also head of the preschool, looks on. Fortunate, a preschool teacher with us for several years, is in the background on the left.
Our graduation certificates have a real shiny gold seal!
This is a big event for the villages dressing in their go-to-meeting clothes. Most every child had at least one parent in attendance, and sometimes, like here, most of the family. This little lad looks ready!
Besides the certificate, each child receives pencils, and a school writing book, plus a special gift of either a small towel, Vaseline, tooth brush, tooth paste or bag of maphuti (popped corn).
Graduating Class of 2020!
Covid-19 Intervention Continues as a 2021 Focus
The Nhimbe Team was prepared with 400 hand-sewn masks and 400 bars of soap to be distributed to all villagers who showed up. Mid-May we similarly gave these resources, and many people didn’t understand the purpose.
This line goes as far as the eye can see. Doing their best to stand at a socially distant space, many people still did not have masks, and used scarves or shirts for face covering.
Some soapy water is a prerequisite for entry into the Community Center. Hey – check out that water tank and windmill ;*))
I just love how this picture is just overloaded with soap! You know, if you are short of cash for food or school fees for children, you might not buy or use soap in the way we are accustomed. That is why this is quite a gift!
Here is the system. After lining up and washing up, they come by each of the two tables to receive one mask and one long bar of soap (about 14″ long). We expect this to last for 2 months, when we will again distribute.
Here is someone who did not have a mask but needed to use a scarf. He is now setup!
This ambuya (grandmother) is very grateful. Her children and grandchildren have also been sponsored for school tuition over the years. Another happy camper!
The new 3-D mask has been extremely well received, with a sense of more air available (less confining), better facial fit around the edges with a nice nose piece, beautiful craftsmanship, as well as a lovely array of designs woven into high-quality cloth. Newly donated and purchased fabrics have found their way to the volunteers to wash, and then sew, sew, sew. They are available very soon in many fresh African patterns and colors! Same unbelievable deal … these masks, all yours on a donation basis, help us to raise awareness, funds to continue work in Mhondoro, and help you stay safe too! Thank you!
We remain working in Zimbabwe…detailed updates are forthcoming, but for now, the quick report:
Our Nhimbe for Progress Team is fully in place, engaged, and brain-cracking to pull together the nuts, bolts, and washers from 20 years of experience in just over one month. You may remember that Patricia left Nhimbe to follow her soul’s calling at the beginning of October. Now, our renovated, renewed and revamped Nhimbe ship has left the harbor with an incredible new team, and we are underway!
School has reopened in Zimbabwe, and our MMC program officially started on 11/6 with almost half the girls in attendance, after a 7-month hiatus. Again, we will be teaching about their bodies, providing supplies, but this time also learning about Covid-19.
On 11/9 the Nhimbe for Progress preschool reopened its doors with similar numbers of about half the norm in attendance, also learning about masks and social distancing. We are encouraging a healthy discussion with the Ministry’s health inspector, because World Health Organization protocol does not require those under 5 years-old to wear masks, but our staff was trying to implement stringent requirements, as they are for MMC. Guidelines are unclear in the country, and our staff is doing everything they can for safety, including using two new infrared thermometers as part of our protocols, as well as giving all children masks. We hope to get this sorted in the next few days.
After completing well deepenings for 43 families so far this year, the outcry is for more help! We just approved a budget for another 29 or so wells, to be deepened before the end of the year. Today we bought over $1,000 of cement, 14,000 bricks, and hired those with the shovels to help all of the families, since the depth is far beyond anything seen before. The rain is slowly coming, so that is letting them get digging. Water levels have plummeted particularly in the last 2 years, so water availability has become the most pressing issue of the day.
Thank you for your dedicated support! We continue to operate the preschool per our normal high standards, as well as MMC with the addition of teaching mask-making for their current craft project. We also are pushing hard and fast to get the wells deepened now, before the impending summer rains fall. The 7 elderly without water have become the priority. This is the immediate focus with the other 22 or so to follow.
We remain grateful and optimistic as you reach out, and continue to remember us!We all very much appreciate whatever you have been able to do, either financially to assist, or with your time. There are 3 essential areas needing volunteers –please email Jaiaen:
We have a real need for technical website and higher-end computer assistance, either on a one-time project basis or for the longer term. There are some exciting opportunities here. Do get in touch!
Also, someone who can offer general office expertise using the computer and Microsoft would also help return some sanity to the nature of reality, since many extra functions have multiplied, much like rabbits, particularly over the last several months, with the loss of Cosmas, as well as the introduction of Covid-19.
Locally in the mid-valley, we really would love for someone to oversee the masks, which are being sewn by a couple of lovely ladies, as they find their way into your home (the masks, not the seamstresses) ;*))