2021 Year End Gratitude!

Thank you again for the continued support of Nhimbe for Progress through your positive thoughts, encouraging words and your generous donations, all of which have a direct affect on the future of the Mhondoro residents!

2021 is almost over and there is still time for fully tax-deductible donations. I’m moved on a regular basis by the larger spiritual backing, which keeps this all moving forward, because you and I, by ourselves, are not the bigger agenda.  When I’m troubled and can’t see the way forward, I keep turning it back to them, the Allies, whether that is all of our ancestors, the angels, the forces of Large Love emanating through God, or whatever (I work at not limiting this unlimited and indescribable grace). I remind them that they started this work, and they are responsible to keep it moving along nicely!  Its easy to get overwrought with concern when I put myself in someone else’s shoes, so just need to keep redirecting to clarify what is actually involved in transformation and change.  We just each do our part!

One of the incredible feats this year (among many) was your response when the villages were impacted by Cyclone Eloise.  At first, we thought we just needed to repair the Community Center so that school, MMC and other activities could continue.  But then, we realized that 22 families lost their wells due to the continued storms and pounding rain.  Through your assistance we were able to rebuild these wells in short order.  This is something great that ripples…it’s not just that they can get water for daily activities, but the health of each family member feels this lifestyle change.  Thank you for all the ways you contribute…Tatenda Chaizvo.

Isaac has introduced us to this resident whose family has benefited from Nhimbe for Progress services in Mhondoro, Zimbabwe since the beginning of our work there. Ancient Ways began this project in 2000, and has provided many programs to uplift the people since then.  In this video Tafanei Nyamainashe, from the Gore village, is explaining in Shona that he wants to thank Nhimbe for all of the assistance. His family started receiving help when huts were being built, school fees being paid for the children, along with uniforms for the students, and now, he has a well.  He wants to thank Nhimbe, and says “may you continue assisting us all!” 

We all appreciate that sentiment!  Thank you again for how you contribute to their lives, and to my life enriching the work into which I’ve chosen to put my creativity and Large Love.  I hope you know that thousands of people are all blessed by your generosity of spirit.  Each village resident’s life is enhanced in untold ways, which touches all of their extended family members throughout Zimbabwe and other places in the world. Watch for stories about these families, coming in 2022.

If you haven’t read the annual letters, here is a link to get you started, and if you haven’t yet donated  please feel free here!  Thank you all so much and have a wonderful and safe new year!

Marimba Playing Plus+ to Resume!

With Covid-19 lockdowns many of our regular Nhimbe activities were stalled during their winter, recently ending. Everything is getting back into the spring swing of things.
In particular, we agreed to build a marimba hut at our last board meeting in June. All of the cement and bricks, which are the most expensive parts, were purchased and ready to go, but then everything stopped. Plus, the wildfire took out the playground about that time. So, now we are picking up various pieces and getting back on track.

Muda took the medical gowns that we were obligated to buy last January and was able to sell them. What a relief! The regulation for school use was put in place out of anxiety rather than science, and even though we had a feeling they wouldn’t be used, we still had to purchase them. He was able to get the full $700 back, which has gone into the hut building projects.

We had agreed to build a larger library, since our current one is tiny and loaded, as well as a marimba hut, since the current housing situation doesn’t provide adequate ventilation. Both huts are large to accommodate better spacing with the students.

It all starts with bricks made by the local builders creating the foundation.

The next layers are set at a different angle and the wall begins.

School continues in the midst, and the walls are showing spaces for the door and windows.

The design includes the long windows like we have at the preschool and more of them than normal.

Muda is returning to Mhondoro now that Cosmas’ ceremony was completed October 2nd. He had returned to Harare and took a couple days to recoup, so now is ready to head out of the city, and help Febby organize the way forward.

There are many projects to manage in a short time. The fence building is waiting for the official steps to complete with the local councilors (many thanks to you for your support on that), MMC and marimba are in the mix for our young girls, these two new huts are being built, and soap is being distributed hopefully in the very near future. All of this while the preschool is actively operational and everyone is delighted to be back at it!
Thank you so much for your continued interest and financial support throughout our evolution!

Many Thanks to Your Generosity!

Since we were awarded additional Community Center land by Chief Nherera, we are now blessed to have a space for the children’s outside activities. We knew it would cost $6,400 to cover the fence and equipment for this space, and now with only just over $300 we will have met the goal! Thank you!

I am amazed and touched by how you have come through for us, time and time again! The wild fire was so unexpected and left us all with our heads spinning…we’ve never had such a challenge before. Everyone is so grateful that we are on the mend!

Rolls and rolls…

If you were hoping to help us with this, now is a great time. We have allocated all unexpected funds received since the fire, which were identified as “greatest need” or specifically for the preschool, and would love to finish this fundraising step, so that our annual budget can stay firmly intact for running the regular programs.

Muda is in Mhondoro working overtime to take care of Nhimbe business as well as being with the family as they prepare for Cosmas’ special ceremony, the kurova guva, coming up next weekend. We will have more Nhimbe updates forthcoming, but for now I wanted to share our simple rolls-of-fencing photo. It’s very exciting growth!

Just prior to the fire, in our June board meeting, we had agreed to build two new huts, one for marimba, and one for the library to grow. Cement was purchased in Harare, bricks were delivered by the local donkey cart, and the foundation started. These huts were first held up by the COVID lock-down, and then by the penetrating attention that the fire had imposed.

After Cosmas’ ceremony we will be able to share more about all of the work being done, as well as get an update about the routine school and MMC activities going on with the youth and their well-being. The children and staff are both elated to be back to their educational focus...everyone there really understands that education equals empowerment. I’m a big advocate for more and complete information in every way with a vision that it would stop all war…simplistic. Thank you for your commitment as we work through the process of bringing you the latest…your support is greatly appreciated.

We are within close reach of our required target so please, if you are able, we are grateful. Either the side bar donation box, or the store link works well (we have done website repairs and are extremely happy to share that it is now a frustration-FREE operation). Accolades to our new tech volunteer from Cincinnati!

Thank you!

We Need Your Help Now!

We are making lemonade out of the lemons!

As you know our Nhimbe preschool yard was consumed by a run-away fire across the bush at the beginning of July.  Not only did the aged wooden play structures burn, but the Magaya homestead of Joshua and Matilda also suffered.  In both instances, gratefully the fire was put out before any buildings were ruined.

Our preschool has just reconvened after a June-to-August Covid lock-down, so now we have children back to the daily routine as of the beginning of September.  We continue to offer a partial stipend to help our staff deal with being laid-off periodically since March of 2020.

Sadly the charred ground can’t be used by the children but will be great for garden expansion.

In the midst of this, we have some really excellent news about a new playground area. Chief Nherera has awarded us an adjacent plot of land for our long-term educational purposes, that doubles the Nhimbe Community Center grounds.  This can include future expansion for self-sustainability business activities, as well as additional learning opportunities. 

On the opposite side of the Nhimbe Community Center, a humanitarian organization from Taiwan, Tzu Chi, bought their stand for $5,000 not all that long ago. This Buddhist organization wants to build an agricultural training center to house 23 huts, and is like us in that they are not bringing a focus of religion, but have the underlying goal to bring relief from suffering.

We have graciously been blessed by the Chief because of our history of devoted service since 2000.  To be granted this stand (plot of land) for no fee is absolutely incredible!  The Chief has been in ill health, and although he is now improving, he is elderly and we are fortunate to have his favor.  

Playing wheelbarrow is a popular activity that helps to learn enormous coordination.

What we do face are fencing costs plus new playground equipment, which are both outside of any budget projected for 2021, as any fire like this is quite unexpected. After Muda researched competitive bids and skillfully negotiated labor costs over this last month, we now know that the fence fully installed is $6,000, and the poles and materials for the playground repairs and installation is comparatively a mere $400. 

The new fence will match the existing fence in size, being two meters tall.  We have chosen to not add the barbed-wire for the additional two feet on top, since at this point we foresee theft being a non-issue.  If we ever add buildings to this just-over one-acre parcel, then we would want to consider the added barbed barrier to deter unwanted entry.  The existing Nhimbe gate will provide passage for the children to the play area.  There will be an additional gate installed for public access. 

Lined-up so nicely to get in the front gate.

The replacement materials list is simple and includes colorful paints, nails, cement, poles, 8 tires, swing bars and chains, a climbing frame and monkey bars (metal this time).  This will all be installed in the new area along with whatever is salvageable from the original playground.  

Taking the temperatures with our infrared thermometer.

Please consider donating to help us solve this dilemma! Particularly with Covid-19 and the serious curtailing of normal life, the more the children can be outside for their normal activities as well as other “classroom” time, the better off everyone will be.  This new space will certainly give them that! 

This chigubhu, pumps the water with a foot pedal, by tipping the water container, sanitizing hands at the start of the day.

By going to the Donate or Shop item on the menu, find Preschool – Use for the Greatest Need under the EDUCATION section.  Any amount you are able to contribute towards this $6,400 goal is greatly appreciated by everyone involved.  The parents in Mhondoro, the staff, as well as all of us here who hold these Nhimbe preschoolers with arms of Large Love, thank you in advance for whatever you can do!

Hopefully more updates to come soon!

Community Center Fire and Gratefully No One Injured!

Just a quick report here, as we don't have all the information, but there has been a fire affecting the Nhimbe for Progress Community Center.

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Fortunately, as far as we know, no one in the area was injured. The Center was unoccupied at the time, but Isaac, in charge of Building and Maintenance, lives nearby and saw the smoke rising. Moving quickly, he arrived, got out our hoses, and began to put out the fire.

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We don't have the entire story, but apparently a neighboring resident had a fire that got out of control, and it burned all the way through our playground and newly expanded garden area, but was stopped before damaging any thatch or huts. We are very grateful. Hallelujah for the bore hole, hoses, and Isaac!

Isaac off to the left with only metal structures standing behind him.

We should have a full report in a couple of days. The current situation is that the preschool playground will need to be rebuilt in another location, and a different area used for just running and playing in the meantime, since the grassy area is now quite a sooty problem for the children.

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The new garden expansion area was damaged (the new 14 rows established last year), so replanting will be needed, but the original 10 rows closer to the buildings started in 2019 are gratefully still in tact!

Much of the new garden expansion has been crisped.

Thank you for your interest and concern...we appreciate however you might help us tackle this new hurdle...we will follow up with more details as they come in. Tatenda Chaizvo!

These banana trees are singed badly but will most likely come out of it with time.

How are things in Mhondoro?

Thank you for your patience while we work with the issues on the ground. I have been slow to update you on the story, as there have been many developments. I prefer less emails and so assume you do too ;*))

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The 12 collapsed wells from the recent Cyclone Eloise, were found to be 22 in total – the word comes in slowly through the bush.  We were able to rebuild them all, and also able to complete the needed repairs at the Community Center, so that school started as required. Thank you for your amazing generosity in helping us getting through that incredibly rough time!

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Everyone affected by the cyclone now has a new well, and is enormously grateful for your support. If we did not intervene like this, then what?  There are no other agencies, organizations, what-have-you, that assist in this area with these kinds of life impacting problems.

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Clean water is even more important now with Covid-19 still a concern. In fact, they are currently going into winter, and everyone is on alert for further outbreaks.  We are scheduling our next soap distribution right away in alignment with our Covid-19 intervention strategy.  We were forced to skip a distribution because of the lock-down (they literally stayed hut bound), so I’m sure everyone will be very pleased. Nothing like soap to alter one’s lifestyle!

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In June, we also plan to move into repainting the well lids. Three developments over the last year have left the well tops without our ‘brand’.  First, do you recall the lid repairs we did when we found irregularities compromising water sanitation and potential safety?  That affected the well tops.  Then, the deepening process that we did during the drought, also changed the looks of things. Of course, the most recent rebuilding efforts due to Cyclone Eloise rainfall created entirely new wells. Granted, the well itself is functional without painting, but there are at least three aspects that make it worth that $6 to paint each lid.

  • First, seeing the name gives the residents of the home a connection to the family on the other side of the world who cared enough to lend them a hand. 
  • Then, it gives a fresh face to the top of the lid.  The Shona appreciate making improvements to their homes that signify progress. And, paint does preserve the cement.
  • Lastly, it is a sign of being part of the Nhimbe community…it is a way to say, “Yes, we are part of this team!”  Building an alliance among the villagers has been part of our key to success over the years.  You know, like our neighborhood watch, and similar groups, can help everyone feel less isolated and more bonded with their neighbors.

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We have a new design for the lids (no pictures yet) that incorporates the Nhimbe and Ancient Ways logo, which is another step towards formality that helps substantiate us in the "real" world.  We could work under the radar for years, the way we did in the beginning as a club, and never be acknowledged or be seen, so just remain ominously invisible. 

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During the Mugabe reign, the Nhimbe for Progress name came up in Parliament more than once, when our dear Chief Nherera reported on what was "going on" in his area.  So, we’ve been around the block, and are still standing, so we might as well step up and into the next phase of our evolution.

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The Zimbabwean school system's terms are turned on their ear, just like our educational approaches here.  We have purchased supplies and food for the second time this year and so that part of our schedule is regular.  The children are meeting, as are the MMC girls on Fridays after school.  

Thoroughly enjoying the music!

Marimba classes continue, as does the sewing training.  The MMC girls are participating in a “service project” plus learning more about sewing. 

The end results are stuffed toys for the preschool children, which they can use for the preschooler curriculum.

Everyone is happy to be back to a routine, although nothing is really normal, except a modified social distancing, mask wearing, and increased hygiene.  We have just produced 11 batches (for 15 girls each, so 165 new girls) of MMC supplies, and so it feels really great to be moving forward again!

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I know it’s hard to look at pictures where their standards of distancing are different than ours, but its much like everything we do there…its all within the cultural norms, which we are not going to change.

The youngest girls get to attend also!

The MMC girls and the preschool continue to use the library on a regular basis, as do the community members.  The library hut was one of the buildings that was seriously damaged by the torrential rains. 

The teachers have taken the time to organize everything and get things put back into a good order.  It’s really looking spectacular!

The small bookcase in front was normally in the Annex.
That way the preschoolers had their very own library area.

Vaccines are available, although this article speaks of availability issues.  In the beginning, people were wary of the source being from China, and so didn’t want to jump on board.  After all, the batteries and ink pens that are imported never last more than a couple weeks, so it didn’t seem like the reliable option.  There are free local vaccines available nearby, but it appears to be a personal choice without repercussions.  There may be a requirement for all front-line workers to be vaccinated, but at this point there isn’t. 

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There is new legislation now to get money into the hands of our team.  Western Union has a new requirement forcing all monies to be deposited in a particular bank.  The savings account that is needed doesn’t have fees, at this point, so that is superb, but they have a limitation of only withdrawing $500 a week.  This is problematic since we have been spending well over that, for all of 2021. 

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Muda says that the bank manager will work with us if we need to withdraw more funds, even though the new legal requirement is just $500.  It makes me nervous…anything imposing on my freedom, and I get a little testy.  He suggests not to worry, and my instinct is to push the envelope right away, to see if it really is going to be restrictive.  He also reminds me that safety issues from walking around with larger quantities will be ameliorated. 

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We are a good team and complement each other’s style.  So, within the month we should know what this new regulation means.  At worst, it appears that it would only slow down the work we are doing.  The school could still operate, but we wouldn’t be as free to think outside of the box.  Like for instance, this month, the solar inverter just went haywire unexpectedly.  The estimate on that is $450.  Its those kinds of things that will push us over our $500 limit super fast.  Muda is already traveling back and forth to the rural area, so hopefully we can come up with a work around.

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We have continued to send $2,995 at a time, once or twice a month, to avoid any flagging when hitting the 3k marker.  That has been an issue in the past for some of the smaller non-profits.  And, we continue to use Western Union as it has proven the best over the long haul.  A few years ago, wiring became impossible, and bank fees can be exorbitant. But, if you know of a better way to get money over there with less of a financial burden, please feel free to write, or call!  We always appreciate community dialogues.

Thank you for your help with navigating this terrain.  Your continued commitment gives me resolve to hang in there even when the expenses are mounting and there aren’t easy answers to the issues at hand.  You do make all the difference!

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May you enjoy the summer months, opening their arms and welcoming you, like an unfolding flower radiating friendship! 

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Tatenda Chaivzo!

P.S.

We expect to discontinue our African fabric mask making in the near future.  If you, or someone you know, needs a final mask or two, please let us know and we can still accommodate!  Thank you for all of your support over this last year!

Cyclone Eloise Brings Big Damage to Nhimbe

Long story short: In late January this year, Cyclone Eloise, breaking loose in Mozambique and all over Southern African, stimulated a ripple of storms bringing torrential rains to Mhondoro destroying and damaging crops, structures, and wells on its path, while the Covid-19-variants lock-down left repairs at a standstill. 

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Being quite paralyzed by the combined onslaught, our Team has just now completed the first round of repairs requiring thousands of dollars.  Nhimbe Preschool is returning to business as usual with masks etc. following the government guidelines, opening for school this last week. MMC also kicked off the 2021 year with much joy, just a little later than usual.  Under their masks, the teachers and cooks engaged all ages of children with much enthusiasm after the 3-month hiatus.  Everyone is so relieved!

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These unexpected events have put a large dent in this year’s budget.  If you are able, please extend a hand to our residents and the Nhimbe Community Center! CLICK HERE for the webpage donate page…THANK YOU!

Enjoying their Nhimbe meal!
Practicing Social Distancing and Masks - MMC Begins for 2021!

The lock-down for the Covid-19 variants was strictly enforced by police, traveling only allowed with special papers. These restrictions made for minimal progress. Also, the storms had done incredible damage to the network, so that phones, emails and texting were severely crippled and are not yet back to “normal”, which in Zimbabwe, is historically under par.  The minimum required building restorations were done just in time for the preschool reopening date last week:

    • kitchen corner wall
  • Several Nhimbe Community Center huts cracked from the excessive water and have been repaired successfully.
  • One hut was non-repairablewith deep cracks and breaks, and is still needing to be entirely rebuilt, which will run near $500.
  • Our library window was broken by the winds and has now been replaced.

See the Two toilets collapsed at Nhimbe Community Center.

Then the Health Inspector "pegged" the new toilet locations. For those of you who remember hearing about Standreck (Tichaona), one of the best dancers I've ever known, he is there looking on in the video (and looking great!)

Beginning the new toilets
The Community Center Annex has holes in the roof due to the thatch blowing off.

In this video, check out the interior walls, and then the shot of the roof shows light coming in, meaning water does too. This building gives different ages spaces to learn. Also the precious marimbas are stored here.

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The multi-purpose room here also has damage.

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The grass had grown so high from the continual rains and warm weather that a special effort was needed to hand-sickle the entire grounds. Check out the before and after pictures.

  • GRASS BEFORE

12 wells collapsed and are being rebuilt.  Normally we would wait for donations to build wells each year, but this was an emergency and so took it on without the specially allocated funding - we are hoping for your help:

  • Many wells were built for the elderly residents who are living solo, and without the means to rebuild a well, or transport water.
  • I recall during our 2018 trip, there were 3 people over 100 years old, who passed away during our stay! If they live close to the land and stay in the rural area, chances are they will live long and healthy lives.
  • Bringing comfort, hygiene, and reassurance to these residents is just “so basic”.

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More gum pole failures. Most of the play structures have become weakened and unsafe.  The parents are pitching in their time to rebuild this play area!

We have realized the new team really needs our well-building supervisor duties to expand, to receive a monthly compensation to cover all building and security.  This will support our Co-Directors as they both live offsite, with Muda routinely visiting from Harare, and Febbie teaching Monday to Friday, but not being present otherwise, unless needed, living in Chibikira.  The guards can now report to Isaac Maodzeka, as do all building crews.  Isaac has been with us since the beginning. He is happy to be reinstated to his original post, which he had prior to the 2008-09 marketing collapse that was coupled with impact of the Zim-dollarization.

We have transferred an unusually large amount of funds for the beginning of the year (a near $9,000 since January) and truly appreciate anything you are able to contribute to the healing of this community.  Besides the crops, each family suffered damages to their personal residence.  Rather than just more normal requests for new preschool baking pans, garden shovels, and the like, the Cyclone impact to our Community Center has been sizeable, doing more harm than we had seen since my first trip in 2000.

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Between the time Cosmas and I made our proverbial “to-do laundry list” in November ’99, and my first trip early March 2000, Cyclone Eline destroyed huts and ravaged many homesteads.  We were able to re-establish huts for over 40 residences during that next year or two.  These efforts shaped a foundation for this Nhimbe for Progress framework.  The last 20 years have seen much in the way of “action”, but nothing with quite this much damage from storms, since that February 2000 cyclone.

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Thank you for your continued support over the years for these neighbors of ours on the opposite side of the planet.  As a people, they have much endurance and resilience.  You teach them about hope and re-imagining their lives.  They already are a highly spiritual people, but your continued assistance helps encourage and cement that "trusting of the process"…we all can use reinforcement on that!

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You do make the difference! Always feel free to reach out and ask questions or just chime in with your ideas!

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  CLICK HERE to go to the website. Tatenda Chaizvo! 

Update from Nhimbe Preschool!

The Zimbabwean 2021 school year has been an unusual unfolding!  You may remember, we first expected to be in school right after the first of the year, by the 4th of January.  Normally, we don’t begin thinking about the new school year until near the 15th of January, as they take a full month off between terms.  But this year, to catch up on what was lost in study and exams during Covid-19 last year, the Ministry of Education had a plan to move forward quickly. 

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Then, the rescheduling began.  First, we were planning to start up Feb 1, then Feb 15th.  Now, we are waiting until March. Personally, I have been relieved by the delay, since there are so many unknowns.  But, I have no idea what it’s like to live in Africa, nor be making impactful decisions where poverty is always chasing after so much of the population. Vaccines are becoming available there as well.

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Unfortunately, to get ready to return to school, the government required rubber boots and disposable gowns, (yes, the ones for medical workers) for everyone at the Community Center (10 people).  We went ahead and purchased all of the required items (over $850 worth), although I’m not seeing any other countries following suit to “gear up” in this way.

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I do have to say that I have no idea what information they might have that I don’t, like is the South African Covid-19 variant more transmissible, particularly on clothing or soil?  I think that the government is doing the best they can with the information provided, plus have a bit more urgency pushing them into conclusions. The virus is not friendly, and traditionally the S.A. border is soooo very close, that I can understand the panic mode.

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At this point we plan on being in Nhimbe preschool at the beginning of March.  We are dawning gowns and rubber boots as required. If it turns out that they are not required, we would be in a pickle since one really can never return anything in Zimbabwe.  At least, that has been my experience.  So, if we are not really required to wear the gowns, we will hopefully find some medical establishment where we can sell them and re-coop some funds ($700 for just one month).

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Clearly the disposable gown idea is not sustainable, particularly since most schools are government run.  The rubber boots may be a welcome bonus to the staff’s home life instead of returning them if it came to that, since I really can’t imagine that the government is going to require everyone to wear rubber boots either. 

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We have always been “at the mercy” of the various tides of the times and what the situation there requires, no matter if it makes sense.  And this is no exception.  Within the next week we should know the way forward.  Loss of human life is a grave penalty to make any casual decisions.  Several in political positions, who have already died, are marking another phase in this heart-breaking awakening. 

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Next week I hope to bring more news, not so much about the school, but the wells.  We thought that 2021 was to be a focus on the drought and deepening wells, but now with more than one cyclone hitting the eastern side of Zimbabwe, heavy rains have been pouring heavily at Nhimbe.  Much damage to the toilets, huts, playground equipment, and a library window at the Community Center will require several repairs.  Pictures and estimates will hopefully tell us soon, what it will take to keep things afloat. 

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Thanks for tuning in…Zimbabwe has been in a lock-down now for several weeks, and so we have just this little update to share.

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Continue to stay safe and thank you again for your continued interest and support!

One More Day in 2020 to Make the Nhimbe Difference!

We are always grateful for your support in our cooperative endeavors!  At year end, as we organize for the following 12 month’s efforts, your contribution not only gets you a fully taxable donation, but also helps us with our planning.

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 Its during this time we work with our partners in Mhondoro and sketch out what they want, and what you are telling us we can do. We all very much appreciate knowing that we have your ongoing assistance in whatever way makes sense to you.  Time, money, prayers, telling our story, imagination, collaboration…it all helps!  Thank you to those who have remembered us this year...and thank you in advance for helping us pave the way forward with more than just intention!

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Here is a quick recap of what we continue to focus upon:

This is one of my favorite videos of 2020 ... what a blessing this windmill has been!  The sound of the pump is like a lullaby to my ears.  I know, sounds odd, right?.  But imagine camping in the desert for years and coming upon water gushing forth from the earth and the sound of this little gadget, singing away, as the anthem. It is only because its a bore hole (rather than a well) that we have water during this multiple year drought. Looking forward to buying drip-line to finish off the newly prepared beds, putting this fountain to work!

Because of the borehole and windmill, they were able to expand the little garden.  The guards took it up as their pet project when everything starting going sideways earlier in the year.  And, they are being steadfast during their off time (each with 10 days off, 10 days on) to keep it developing.

This ambuya (grandmother) is Eflida, and the eldest of Cosmas’ siblings.  In her 70’s, her profound appreciation for walking up to a faucet is immense.  In most places in the townships, faucets are in every home, but usually outside on a sink next to the toilet room.  To have a faucet in the rural area is an amazing thing. Efilda began with Nhimbe in 2000 and continues in her original role, in charge of the comings and goings of all inventory. 

We completed the deepenings for 74 families last year and will continue on into 2021.  This family above, who just got a new well sponsored in 2019, had plenty of water to begin, but the drought continued to take its toll, and although a recent well, even they too need to deepen! It has become dire. Thank you for your help with this recognition that water is life!

This is my absolute favorite photo of all year.  It warms the cockles of my heart. I love that they are working as part of our larger team, helping a family get water by deepening a well. There is something quite touching about them working together for progress, in this way as a couple.  Granted, at the end of a long day, she most likely puts in another couple of hours handling the mealtime, etc, but then again, maybe they can afford to buy firewood instead of her gathering it, hire a maid to help at the home, and/or pay for someone to help weed the field?  In any case, who knows the whole story...I just love this photo!

We continue to engage our preschoolers with early childhood education as well as feed them with the same dedication that we began with in 2002.  Success comes in small packages. Thank you for your part of this!

We have 3 teachers outside of Nhimbe who trained with us for several of our Teen Care camps and had started their own Mhandara Monthly Care groups for their maturing girls, over the last couple of years.  They attended our distribution event in November where 45 girls received supplies.  We will continue to support these other teacher's efforts with start-up kits and education this coming year.  This is an incredible program!  Check out what $18 can buy! Plus the Nhimbe girls are playing marimba, thanks to you!

Covid Intervention was an unexpected part of Nhimbe’s evolution in 2020.  If you haven’t looked at what was accomplished, or the why/how of it, take a peek.  Febbie Shava, the new co-director, is sharing the mask making.  She has been a large, but sometimes hidden, team player for soooo very long and now gets to step up and be even a bigger part of our successes.

These are the key people that are taking Nhimbe to new levels of achievement as we move into 2021: the well building supervisor, guards, cooks, cleaner, inventory, teachers, librarian, marimba teacher, and our new co-directors. No picture here of the man behind the curtain (in Harare instead of Oz), our 80-something-but-whose-counting accountant, who holds all the pieces together. 

We all extend you profound gratitude as we end 2020 with prayers for 2021 unfolding in grace and guidance, affording all the best that progress can offer. May the new year bring you only joy and peace!

Tatenda Chaizvo! (We thank you very much!)

Mhondoro Update and New 3-D Masks!

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.

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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. 

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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)  ;*))

You do make the difference!  Tatenda Chaizvo!