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!
Here is some video to be able to peek into the world of our MMC program (Mhandara Monthly Care), which focuses on the maturing girl.
This gathering was a normal Friday afternoon meeting, but was highlighted with the addition of MMC Start-up Kits for the new girls. They spent the afternoon together enjoying music, sewing, marimba, and always gentle instruction.
We have over 80 girls in total just within Nhimbe, and 45 or so received their first kits (bucket, soap, underwear, a new purse sewing kit, and reusable washable supplies). If enough donations come in, we will be able to reach out to the neighboring communities, as we have done in the past (just without the 3-day camping).
These girls are following the same mask pattern we sent by Whatsapp in April for the women to make for village distribution (very similar to the pleated onesour volunteers have made available here on our website as a fundraiser). The girls are making themselves and their family members masks. You hear some marimba music outside at the beginning because they are taking lessons as well.
The marimbas are sounding wonderful! The girls didn’t get to play for months during the hiatus and are now back to it. Many thanks to Kutsinhira ZCDP grant that made this marimba set available to Humwe, our sister organization here in the villages. And, of course, thanks to you, our donors, for sponsoring the teacher, Kenny, who comes to offer lessons!
Offering a speech to your peers and the community is part of growing up in Zimbabwe. This girl speaks to the empowerment of learning.
“A good day to you all! My name is Tariro Rukodzi. I want to tell you about Education. Education! Education! Education is the key to success. Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world. Without education, life is tough, like chewing roasted maize without any teeth. With me, I have education…we stand without compromising. With education, life is like cutting margarine with a hot knife. Education is the vaccine for violence. Thank you!“
WE can’t thank you enough for your tremendous and continuing support! This year has been difficult for all of us, and it is no different for them in the rural area, except maybe less media to tell them what is going on and less water and soap to use for cleaning, but all balanced by a very strong resilient nature.
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) ;*))
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.
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.
In this year’s final field report from Zimbabwe, Jaiaen writes:
Grasping what the basics of life are, is a gift… it’s not obvious. What appears to our senses is often diluted, over-stimulated, misrepresented, fluffed up without substance, etc., so discerning the essential can be elusive. Like all that we take for granted… fresh water, enough energy to produce food, enough food to sustain health, air that heals, medical care for loved ones, freedom to govern one’s life and make choices without duress, sovereignty of mind, body, spirit… the list goes on. What are the real requirements for wellness, wholeness, happiness?
THE QUICK VERSION:
Transport – $5/gallon, few vehicles on the road, and sardine-like commuter travel are a lifestyle. Real African medicine – meeting Sekuru Moyo gives hope for the future.
Survey results – after some serious interviews, we will have a completely new look at the complexion of the Nhimbe families’ living situations.
Read all the details here, or access through the menu at Blog & Reports>Archived Field Reports & Letters.
After reading these field reports, if you’d like to make a donation, please donate through the website or call the office 877-TATENDA (877-828-3632) or (541) 259-HOPE (541-259-4673).
We received another update from Jaiaen in Zimbabwe!
Here is an excerpt with a quick summary, Jaiaen writes:
Access to the internet, phone, WhatsApp etc., has been limited this trip. I could see that some of you wrote me with wonderful replies sharing blessings of encouragement, new ideas, financial donations, and the like, but I have not been able to reply. It is complicated to describe how one can have some internet but not enough network or battery to respond. This is particularly true in the rural area where I have spent most all of my time. I’m sorry to not be able to dive right into conversation with you, as that is my nature, but it has to wait until the door opens. Thank you so much for your interest and concern for these people. There is much suffering in the world and I appreciate your partnership in making your difference show here!
THE QUICK VERSION:
Weather report – praises for thunderstorms!
Empowerment from you to purchase some supplies is done with tremendous gratitude.
Re-thatching is on the radar but a challenge to see easily on the horizon.
Permaculture and our preschool are a good match…love that produce.
Monthly care and underwear – we are making great progress and are hopeful for the future.
Health concerns are continual…we have much to do.
You can access the full document here, or from our Field Reports page on the website.
Please take a minute to hear the latest from our Zimbabwe project!
** If you have been able to help us with this year’s mission, this email will hopefully give you a short update. And thank you, for your decision to make a difference in Zimbabwe through our efforts. We all are working together!
** If you haven’t seen our annual letter please go to https://www.ancient-ways.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/AW2015-packet.pdf and check out the film clips, or
** If you have read the letter (and seen those great videos) but haven’t been able to donate yet, please see https://www.ancient-ways.org/about/join-or-donate/2016-focus/ to contribute today!
Here is what is happening NOW:
1. The preschool needs some soccer balls and a local girl scout troop is gathering them to send in my suitcase. I leave on the 16th of February for a month.
2. Our library sponsor is covering the postage for us to send some books to arrive while I’m there. We have some books to send, but if you have a special book that would be a great addition to our library please send it right away! I must receive it by February 6th to get it in the mail (that’s 10 days from now). These books will be part of our library there, which serves a full community from daily preschoolers, primary and secondary as well as adults, including local teachers who use our facilities. I would say that lots of Goldie locks and Goosebumps or Harry Potter might not be the best choices – they have their own educational curriculum as well and so straight school text books are also not the best. Think about their culture, and great literature, to make your choices! Please send any books right away that you would like to see made available in the village setting to PO BOX346 SCIO OR 97355.
3. We will be providing monthly care for the girls this trip and all the wheels are in motion to make this happen.
4. We will be providing uniform fabric for the preschoolers and staff so that our school is following the legal guidelines for school uniforms.
5. We will be able to print one of the preschool books that Red Zebra made so that each child might have their own book! What a thought!
6. We will be able to provide some health care by being present to the village needs as we do daily work. Thank you for your support with this.
7. I’m looking forward to getting pictures of wells! We have built a total of 92 wells…16 built just this last year. Now since a camera has been recently donated, we can get pictures of the wells on an ongoing basis (our last camera bit the dust). Thank you all for your patience with our well building and picture taking progress. Some of you don’t care about getting a picture and others do. We continue to always do our best…thanks.
8. We will be able to explore many areas of the project and hear from the residents just how Nhimbe for Progress is helping their lives.
Its been 5 years since I have gone to Zimbabwe. Initially the political situation made it difficult to spend a month in the rural area, since having regular gatherings could be misconstrued. Then my late husband, hence our family and friends, were all working through Agent Orange and its repercussions. Its taken a while to be ready to travel and return to the rural area, but I’m now looking forward to it.
Thank you for any way you are able to help us, help them! We are committed to making a difference today, and in the future.
Please feel free to call or email with questions…thank you for your continued support!
W.A.T.E.R! = Wells And Toilets Everyone’s Right! After some difficulties in acquiring cement, we are now in a position to source the cement for wells! Ancient Ways has saved enough since 2013 to build 22 wells right away before the rainy season comes in November. Around 7% of the residents have a pure water well. We have about 515 left to build, 280 in Nhimbe and 235 in Jangano.
If you have a “special project” jar, in which you have saved up your skipped-video-or-latte money, or, are moved in your heart to make a big difference in an extended family’s life, consider DONATING NOW at https://www.ancient-ways.org/programs/facilities-improvement/water-for-wells/.
Don’t hesitate…Join us in our W.A.T.E.R! program. One well costs $250 to build , or $23/month if using a reoccurring credit card (CALL THE OFFICE at 541-259-HOPE or 877-TATENDA). Any amount helps…Plus, your family surname is painted on the well. Thank you for increasing a family’s garden productivity, overall health and wellbeing, as well as ensuring their future. Always feel free to call or write with questions! Tatenda Chaizvo!