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!

Picture of Febby smiling

Welcoming 2023 with Much Appreciation!

There is much gratitude we share in this post…thank you ever so much for your ongoing support! We can’t do it without you. Those who have sent the funds that you want to earmark for one or more of our programs have come through. You have made our planning for 2023 a workable reality. There are still some areas that are underfunded, so if you haven’t made time to contribute, please (click here) do so today, or here to make a recurring donation of any amount! The Marketplace continues as a happening venue as well . . . check it out here!

All of the efforts, on both sides of the world, to keep Nhimbe a live, thriving, organism with vital programs and services, are fortunately resilient. We continue to adapt to the ever-changing landscape in Zimbabwe, as well as the economic hardships that the people of our nation face. We, in Ancient Ways, are a testament to longevity and have tremendous capacity for building a strong and creative infrastructure with people, where there is none in the way of expected services.

The lack of electricity, toxic water sources, impossible internet connections, and broken roads are just part of a way of life, and in the midst of that, Nhimbe continues to flourish with its own identity rooted in success. As Cosmas used to say “We are winning!” in the ever-uphill battle to create progress.

The tumultuous and nearly deafening normalcy of challenges would frustrate the average American citizen to beyond their limits.  Even for someone like me who loves to camp without amenities, and has traveled there many times, it’s hard to imagine that the terrain doesn’t really change much, but only in small incremental ways.  Because some things improve, we can, but shouldn’t, get our hopes up about other things. Our most recent difficulties in communication have topped the list.


What a joy it was to give the volunteer staff some special acknowledgement for the job well done!  I have never seen Febby Shava, our co-director, and head of the preschool and MMC, smile with such full-on unencumbered radiance.  She is often needing to run everything, so taking a minute to relax and receive, was really a great thing.  As I shared in the December blog and letter (click here in case you missed it), she was elated to think that anyone even noticed.  Here she receives the plaque, scarf and a special monetary bonus for running the preschool for the last 20 years.


The team was brought to her home to be able to deliver her goat, like all the volunteers received, where we see her in front of her traditional hut.


She shared the story of working for quite some time for Nhimbe to save enough to build this four-cornered building, where she now houses her kitchen and new sleeping quarters. The metal on the left side of the photo is an old-style corn crib for her maize with a new twist of using galvanized corrugated sheets.


The flat slab with bricks in front of the maize field was a spare bedroom taken down by some of the last inclement weather. She has yet to rebuild it. That maize is certainly looking great and will produce quite a harvest, as long as the rains continue. I’m amazed that this woman has time to think about being a farmer, in addition to everything else she does! Industrious is her middle name!


Our building and security manager Isaac Mawodzeka, who has been with Nhimbe since its onset, is showing off his goat…seems to me his has some incredible markings and will be a great one for developing the herds around Nhimbe, since all the women volunteers received the potential nannies. The other men also received the male goats.


We were able to build 13 wells last year, totally due to your support. We know that the $330 is a lot and not extra change found in the couch cushions…it’s a big gift from you…and the families are very grateful. The well starts with an empty hole, that is then lined with bricks like this. What an engineering feat!


The lid is created separately (foreground of the photo) and will then be moved to the top of the well. The recipient Mrs. Socho is from Gore village and is 83 years young!


Here is Isaac and the worksite. The cart loaded from a nearby brick-maker is usually drawn by oxen but sometimes a donkey. That bucket you see is what the family provides for bringing up their water; every family chooses how to handle the retrieval. Isaac supervises the building and watches over the process so we have less repairs, and more overall success. Sometimes cyclones dump so much rain there is nothing that can withstand it, but in general, we have learned much over the years about solid well building!


Thank you again for your continued assistance and encouragement. I know that some people might say I’m irrepressible (like “don’t encourage her”). Even though I do agree that spontaneity, play, and blameless courage reigns, I’m also timid, a bit shy, particularly in the role the Universe has put me in, to ask people for help. You’d think I’d get used to it after all these years.

The reality is that it’s not my project, it’s not even their project, but a project of all of ours, in the very largest sense. It belongs to the spiritual world and we are just pawns in carrying out the plan…all doing our best, to uplift the people in Zimbabwe, specifically the residents of the Nhimbe for Progress villages, and bring a new hope and face to the rural area. Where nothing out of the ordinary existed before, it now proclaims a brighter future!

Thank you for all of your part of this, whether now, in the past, or in the future! Wishing you the best for 2023!

Children with Alphabet Pic

Warm Winter Greetings from Lacomb, Oregon!

We are very happy to share our annual letter with you – click here!  Although later than usual, its still packed with a great update from the President of Ancient Ways, our Nhimbe team in Zimbabwe, and an exclusive report from our office here!  Many thanks to those of you who were already able to reach out with a donation. Whatever you can do, is appreciated!

Please take a minute to relax and enjoy the stories, the pictures, and videos in the letter.  Also, in less than 5 minutes, you can watch a 2022 recap and overview of our current focus, by clicking here.  Not as quick as the 3-minute elevator speech, one is supposed to have, but fairly close ;*))

On the website, our 2023 Focus has many ideas about how to get involved and what you might do to have the largest impact… please check it out.

There are still a few days left before the end of the year, to make your fully tax-deductible donation.  Please find your way to the website to see what inspires you!  And, always feel free to reach out by phone, email or text.  All receipts will be sent out soon after the end of the year, although most have already been sent for the year…let us know so we can see when we sent it, if it doesn’t surface.

Thank you very much for your time and attention!  And, thanks to all of you who found some great Zimbabwean gifts on the Marketplace supporting the artists!

As always, Tatenda Chaizvo! 


Nyasha and family Pic

November Update from Zimbabwe!

Early winter greetings from here in Lacomb and summer greetings from Zimbabwe! Some rain has started for them, but is slow coming at this point. Our well building lid painter is busy painting as many lids as possible before the land begins getting soaked. We are hopeful that they have a good summer rainy season, and that he is able to paint many lids before the onset. We are repainting many wells after the serious repairs, which have been completed over the last couple of years.

Our well lid painter, Nyasha Muzambi, is also a key Nhimbe artisan and craftsperson with us since the beginning. His family has grown some and they now have 5 girls and one boy, which is a large family there, just like here. His wife, Gabriella, was our Nhimbe preschool teacher and librarian, but with the birth of the twins, which came along third, she needed to be at home. It was a big loss to our preschool, as she is super smart and always quite a contributor. Much of Nyasha’s artistry, as well as other crafts people’s, is on sale now here, with shipping all included!

Nyasha and family Pic

Picture Prior to the the Most Recent Newborn

We are sharing these crafts with you on the new marketplace, in time for your holidays. These precious items are calling to be in your homes. If you ever needed a genuine high-quality item from Zimbabwe, crafted by people who are feeding their families, paying for their children to attend school, covering medical bills, etc. now is the time! Please check out our variety of special gifts, including baskets, tapestries, purses, kitchen wares, and a few children’s items! As always, there are secure payment options, using credit card or Paypal. 

We also have a little update about our new library hut. We began a project to expand our library quite some time ago, with both a larger hut, and with more books. Here is the story of building our new hut, which now has painting and new shelf options left to complete.

The old library was the smallest hut ever built at Nhimbe and it has certainly outgrown that function. Serving not just the preschool and Mhandara Monthly Care, the local community also comes to read. People of all ages are benefiting, since the primary place to find a real library is the universities!

Because all tests are in English after grade 3, we are very interested in giving the residents as much exposure to English as possible, although our library also contains Shona language and the basic school text books. Many of the rural parents are not bilingual, which is very disempowering in a bilingual country.

What can we do to support the children as they are growing? Besides our Nhimbe preschool giving them the best start imaginable being a model in Zimbabwe, continuing to expand the library and reading options seems obvious. Please consider our library program as you are able, in your annual donation . . . see more background about our library’s evolution here! 

We hope this season is finding you and yours well. Some of you may have received a postcard from us in the mail last week, reminding you to think about jumping on the website to get an early start on your annual donation, helping us with Nhimbe for Progress for next year, or using easy recurring options, which any amount carries a big impact.

Everyone there and here appreciates the continued interest in our work. The local villagers have nothing like the type of assistance that Nhimbe brings. And, we here in Ancient Ways, barely scratch the surface of the personal and community needs, but hold the vision of uplifting these residents and providing opportunity where none exists. We then watch the ripple of these efforts move to many others in Zimbabwe, simply through their natural generous network of families and friends. They take care of each other, and we offer just some basics that everyone deserves, only because of your help. We all thank you very much! Tatenda Chaizvo!

Many Blessings to you and your families!

Picture of Three Children

Nhimbe Preschool’s 20th Anniversary!

The Nhimbe for Progress Preschool has been in operation for 20 years! Wow…what an achievement! Febby Shava has been in charge this entire time and, like a good wine, is only getting better with time. I would think it would get harder as one ages (I’m recalling she is in her early-mid 50’s), but maybe one gets wiser also, learns how to delegate, and knows the ins-and-outs.

Check out one of their favorite times!

Picture of Three Children

Febbie still walks 7 km to school to arrive before 8 a.m., and then back home again later in the day. She has accomplished a great deal in her 20 years and continues to hold the standards high for the early childhood development curriculum at our school, preparing these young ones for life and for the Zimbabwean educational system.

Another key person that has been there since the beginning in 2000 is our Inventory Control person, Efilda Katena. She is meticulous about keeping track of the property that belongs to Nhimbe, much of which belongs to the preschool. In the beginning we made mahewu for the children, which is a porridge-based drink that brews overnight. She would be there in the evening, and the morning to distribute flour for bread making, and then through the day to assure everything went well. She also attends MMC meetings and all functions related to the project. She is Cosmas’s elder sister, the oldest of the Magaya children, and takes her job very seriously. She survived Covid in 2020 and is looking really good in this picture, being somewhere in her 70’s.

Teacher's Picture

Boys and girls learn and grow within the safe nurturing space of our Community Center grounds. The preschool buildings are several, providing meals, a library, and multiple classroom spaces, as well as a playground. This year there are around 75 students walking from the nearby villages, coming from far more than just the 6 central villages.

Picture of a Child

 Our preschool is an enormous support to the entire area! Some refer to it as the heartbeat of Nhimbe for Progress, and definitely a model program for Zimbabwean preschools.

Check out this boy and his song about two birds, Peter and Paul.

And, the group song during class.

We actually do all of this on a shoestring budget. It’s the community heart involved that makes it so successful. If the economy in Zimbabwe were more stable, I would love to commit more resources, but typically it’s, “hold on to the tiger because that tail is always unpredictable”. Every time I think things are leveling out, another emergency arises out of the chaos. What makes for our stability is the earnestness of everyone involved…they live in the eye of the storm and my perception is that they handle the various crises far better than I.

Many thanks to you for your support of the preschool. Although costs have increased in Zimbabwe, just like everywhere in the world, morale is amazingly high. Preschool food, petrol prices to get supplies to the villages, and all associated expenses have continued to rise. It has been a challenge this year, and I know you also are facing the same phenomena.

Happy Child Picture

We appreciate your ongoing commitments to assist us with reaching out and touching these children’s lives on the other side of the planet!  They, their parents, and the entire community are so very grateful for our support as they continue to live through some of the most difficult times in Zimbabwean history.

Tatenda Chaizvo!

Picture of Woman at New Well

Thank You Soooo Much!

Your rapid and generous response has made it possible to give a go-ahead for building the four elderly widows’ wells!

It is with incredible gratitude that the members of Nhimbe and all of us involved say “Tatenda Chaizvo”.  You know, over there, when one person sees that there is an improvement for their neighbor, it gives them some hope.  Like a ray of sunshine in a sometimes darkened tunnel, where one’s vision can only see the difficulties (we’ve all been there), these changes to lifestyle affect them deeply.  Everyone they know is actually impacted by this.

Both directly, in terms of their increased prosperity, personal power, and how they show up in their community, as well as indirectly, just seeing Nhimbe benefit another resident, leaves a lasting imprint on their hearts and minds.

Here is another example of the situation with the wells.  This is Matirida Socha.  She is 82 years old and her well is hand dug, never having bricks.  She lives in the Magaya village.

Picture of Woman at New Well

This picture shows Isaac, our Building and Security manager, demonstrating how she pulls up her water from this type of well, which is normally quite turbid, plus contaminated with ground water runoff.  Once these kinds of wells collapse the situation is impossible . . . its not just dirt, but mud. 

Picture of Hand Dug Well

Your donations are making this a thing of the past!

Thank you again for your humanitarian heart, bringing hope and humanity to an otherwise unbearable hardship!  May the “water angels” bless you to overflowing your cup’s brim!

Picture of the woman next to her log covered well

Urgent Request – Elderly Need Water!

End-of-summer greetings to all!  We are deep in the well building process for the nine wells that were donated this year, and that is very exciting.  The rainy season is coming soon enough, and these wells must get completed before then.  We are making good progress, but, what has surfaced is a need for four more wells, which we currently have no source of funds to build.  This has just come up and is outside of our expected budget for 2022. The timing is difficult also, since we are focusing on 2023 operating requirements as we head into the end of the year.

These wells are for four elderly widows whose wells have collapsed. These ambuyas (elder women) are in their 70’s.  Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated by all.  The Shona people have a great reverence for their elderly and bringing water to these women would be a blessing for everyone…a very genuine way of honoring these women in their lives. 

Picture of the woman next to her log covered well

Let’s look at two of these women’s lives more closely. First is Loice Mhike, who is 76 years old and living in Muriritirwa village. Her children are away and can hardly fend for themselves. Originally built with bricks, her well collapsed in 2020. Loice has covered her well with all sorts of logs, so that no person or animal will fall in, and also to keep some of the farm-life debris out. Her kale-type of plants are there in the background, which is a beautiful sight.

Picture of the close up of the walls

You can see from the close-up, that the walls of the well are further giving way with exposed roots showing. We can hear her explaining to Muda what has happened in the following video.

This is Erita Dzukwa who is 74 years old. All of her children have passed on and she is looking after her grandchildren, which is no small matter. She is part of Magaya village, and lives near Isaac, our Building and Security manager. Her well is just an open one and no bricks were ever used, also collapsing around 2020 due to the heavy rains. She has incorporated every type of scrap metal possible to create a covering for the well hole. We can see a large area on the front corner for contaminated ground water to enter, as well as objects of various sorts.

Picture of woman next to her metal scrap

The resourcefulness of people in hardship is really touching. Trying by all means to have some decent protection of their water source must feel like an uphill battle.

What they really need is a clean water well built by Nhimbe for Progress! We provide cement and bricks and labor. Normally, the family chips in on the digging of the well, by getting help from a nephew, son, grandson, etc. But, in these four cases with these elderly widows, they have no kin close by to give them a hand with the digging.

For us to hire the diggers, it would take an extra $56 for each well. That brings the total from $330 to $386. Is this something you can include in your budget or share in the cost?

Any amount will help! We must raise $1,544 to meet this goal for these ambuyas to have clean water for drinking, bathing, cleaning, and gardening. Clean water holds the potential for prosperity in all ways, yes?

Thank you for whatever you and your family can do! We here in the USA are so blessed to have clean water at our fingertips. Consider making availability of clean water a reality for one or more of these widows on the other side of the planet. Although you don’t know them, we all have the same needs . . . we all deserve the basics! Thank you for your consideration . . . you can help here, now!

Tatenda Chaizvo!

Bags of Grain

Summer Greetings from Lacomb!

Hope this finds you and yours well, and enjoying your summer. The weather variability is one of the hottest topics of conversation all over the world. It is sizzling here for our little web feet…the frogs and ducks prefer more moisture!


We have been very wrapped around gigging the mid-valley, from Scio, to Silverton and Philomath, having had two events cancelled due to extremes in weather, and with two upcoming opportunities this week in the Corvallis area. One is a private event, but please feel welcome to support the Willamette Grange restoration project (Greenberry Rd.), which is open to the public, this coming Saturday evening from 7 to 8:30 pm, as we share the uplifting music that we study together throughout the year. Even during lock down, we were learning online, or outside under our barn’s carport, and now are so happy to be out and about, able to celebrate what we love, which is both this music, and bringing attention to Zimbabwe’s situation.

Besides the ongoing music study, and more student vacations than I ever recall, we here on the farm have quite an extensive gardening project underway, learning from our Zimbabwean neighbors about living as close to the land as possible, and being blessed by nature’s bounty. The rather wet spring, followed by the heat waves, have kept us a little on edge, learning to be far more adaptable, and developing new gardening skills. I continue to be in huge gratitude for the nurturing that comes from the earth, and also a superbly functioning well bringing water from an underground stream. We did have a problem with the well iron filter during the hottest spell at the beginning of the month, and so I have been left with an even greater ever-appreciation for W.A.T.E.R!


Due to your incredible support last fall, we fulfilled our agreement to provide maize to the staff getting them through May. Green mealies (more like our fresh corn) usually come on by March to April, but this year, it again didn’t happen that way. The residents have been messed with by the weather patterns for quite a few years now. A high percentage of crop failures meant no staple crop amongst the local people in our villages.

So, we again purchased 1 ton of maize to get staff through from June until December of this year. That really won’t completely solve the problem, since whatever they are planting in November won’t be harvested until March ’23, but it at least will help. I didn’t reach out to you and ask for your assistance when we made the decision. Muda and Febby, the project directors, presented a compelling case for stepping up again. We discussed the realities and moved forward quickly, since prices have been skyrocketing there. If you have the heart for supporting this staple food program, please do so now, here! We spent $2,000 in June (which included the transport by oxcarts), believing in the goodness of people supporting our efforts, and the hope that this is a temporary type of staff aid!

Bags of Grain

The war in the Ukraine is affecting Zimbabwe the same as the rest of the world. We in Nhimbe, see the impact in fuel, cement, and food prices, which seem to make haste to increase. When this first started happening, we jumped on it and purchased the essentials for the preschool, doubling our normal purchase. That saved us hundreds of dollars. Recently we purchased cement for well building before prices rose any further, with a plan to build the wells that your donations requested for 2022.

Due to the network issues, which haven’t been fixed from the last couple years of difficult weather, the phone and internet has been spotty, and far worse than normal. It’s made it incredibly difficult to have conversations and keep all of the discussions going that are the true core diet for our progress. We strive to clarify a myriad of details, which takes far longer without easy communication. At least we are able to stay on top of the monthly record-keeping, and are still blessed (since 2004) by our retired-banker-turned-bookkeeper, Alan, in Harare, who keeps us on track, with no stone unturned.

The current economy has been evolving, seeming to return to the hyperinflation days when the bond note (the local currency) is worth pennies. Currently, 10,000 Zim bond is worth just under $28 USD. It means that if you have USD you can maneuver a little bit, but the reality of all commodities increasing in price daily, means that one can’t get an edge, translating to the average person living at the mercy of nature and the economy, and getting smacked hard between the two…the proverbial rock and hard spot.


The Nhimbe preschool maintains steady operations and we see some extremely happy children. The parents are so grateful! Besides being the best prep in the area for going to 1st grade, the children also are receiving potentially their best meal of the day at our school! Many families are really struggling with the basics. We are counseled by the world’s spiritual leaders to feed the poor, and that is exactly what we have been able to do, with the focus on the early childhood development years. Thank you so much for the ongoing backing of the preschool!

Our Mhandara Monthly Care (MMC) maturing girls’ program is doing really great as well, and continues to expand. The local school has been sending the teens to our MMC program as a requirement for staying in school, and our director has been reaching out to the young girls living outside the Nhimbe bounds as well. This year we have distributed 360 start-up kits to new girls and are providing weekly services to far more. Here is a quick, although small group clip of a few MMC girls dancing to the marimbas in the background…all ages are invited to attend to prepare for becoming a young adult woman.

This program is such a crucial way to support both the local families, and most especially the girls in their budding personalities and visions for their life. Thank you all for however you have been assisting in this area!


We have been very blessed by volunteers over the years, and the musicians are key players on that stage! Hundreds of years of musicianship and a couple thousand hours of devotion each year makes a fantastic contribution. Even in the heat, they step up and spread joy, and it’s always an amazing journey of learning and comradery coupled with mastering what they set out to do!

You should also know about four other volunteers that keep making an enormous difference in our ability to do this work!

  • The online tech-support we receive from a retired Cincinnati judge has made me feel human again. Someone that actually knows what they are doing and can handle the persisting barrage of emails about the latest updates, makes me feel younger just thinking about it. Granted, I wrote the very first website in the 90’s and so tended to think I should stay committed…and there have been others along the way, who have helped us make leaps forward with our website, but knowing that in a quick moment someone can make sense of the weirdness that comes with the online world, is such a relief! Thank you, Guy!
  • Over the years we have had superb attention given to keeping our financial records clean and crisp. A few months ago, an extraordinary business-minded bookkeeper has come in to join our board and help us out, not just with the books, but invaluable advice about ins-and-outs. We are super excited to have her expertise (check out more about her here). She won’t be taking a tax-season hiatus and so you should always expect a fairly rapid response with your receipts for donations. We still go to the post office box on Wednesdays … do let me know if 2 weeks has gone by without us reaching out to confirm. The exception to this is if you are on a monthly auto contribution, normally we will send your receipt at the end of the year. Thank you, Heidi!
  • Our final volunteers to acknowledge are the other two unseen people behind the scenes that help handle the funds as they come in and go out. Funds from classes and in the mail go through a standard incoming and deposit routine without fail. We all are extremely grateful for that! Thank you, M’er!
  • And, the check writer, another unknown from the back office in Albany (which doubles as her quilting studio) keeps our bills paid and has been in the driver’s seat since before 2018. She takes just one more ball out of my ever-lovin’ hands and I can’t thank her enough…Hats off to you, Elle

Yes, I will be writing you before the end of the year! I just realized that four months have gone by, and hope you know that you’ve been on my mind. Sounds like a good song title! I have a sweet plan for a little series of updates about all of our Nhimbe projects. There are just too many good photos and too much to say to catch you up quickly. So, please watch for the next installment, coming to a screen near you!

Many smiles, many blessings, with much Large Love from Lacomb! Jaiaen

Maize, Marimba Huts, and Skyrocketing Prices

The Nhimbe for Progress staff families are incredibly grateful for the food assistance they have been receiving since November. We were able to purchase one ton of maize, and use it for both the staff and the preschool, saving quite a bit by buying in bulk. We got them the help they needed – when they needed it. 

Now, although they had a great looking harvest coming, the ground was sun baked by intense heat and the March’s expected green mealies, (more like our corn on the cob), are not very significant, having been damaged by the weather. That means that there is less food coming for the rest of the year, and we are all doubly grateful for the assistance now, relieving the angst about the situation!

Here is a photo of just one of the happy staff members – Shylet Mubvumbi, our Nhimbe building cleaner and cook. She has just been given her 50 kgs of maize, enough for one month. Most staff members have 7 to 8 people to feed, due to the extended family of grandparents, parents, cousins, siblings and their, children, etc. The maize is a game changer for all concerned. More photos are on their way so we can share with those of you who donated towards their sustenance.

We’ve been sharing the story about the MMC marimba hut for many moons, and we can now say that several hurdles along the way have been resolved.  Gratefully, we are back into the swing of things after several stops and starts due to Covid lock downs, and challenges with the windows.  The builders did everything possible to keep the process going, one brick at a time, while dealing with the various issues.

All windows in Zimbabwe have “burglar bars” on them.  The first time I saw that arriving in Harare, I thought I was in a really scary place, but apparently it is one of the reasons that crime is fairly low. That, and the Shona are not an aggressive sort…desperate sometimes, yes, but not a violent people.

These new windows were supposed to be like the Nhimbe preschool window bars, where the bars are used to make sun’s rays sweetly shining across the window but, amidst the other difficulties, that wasn’t a possibility.  Among other things, the fellow that made them for us was delayed by a lack of electricity that is required for welding metal, and then they were not to specs, and he needed to redo.  Now they are installed! Yay!  It looks like Shylet has done and incredible job on the multi-purpose room floor – that is quite a shine.

Watching these fellows build is always interesting.  The walls go up in a circle, which in itself seems quite complicated.  Wire is used to hold windows and doors in place.  Once the walls are established, the plastering can go over the bricks to protect and seal out the weather.  You can see by the color variation which bricks were just laid.

I love the ladder technique…building in a very traditionally Zimbabwean resourceful way.  They work well together giving teamwork a new meaning.  The fellow on the ground is handling all of the movement around the building, making sure the brick layer can just keep on.  Behind the go‘fer guy below, you see a bit of firewood for the preschool cooking, and the rest of the bricks.  The bricks are all made within our villages and more people have begun to produce them to generate some income.

Just like the rest of the world, the Russian invasion of the Ukraine is shaking up the economy and the countenance of Zimbabwe.  Muda comments that he and his generation haven’t really seen effects of world affairs so directly on their economy before this. Mostly inflation has come from internal processes. Now he sees the connection to the world at large.

Two days ago, the petrol prices had just jumped with another increase on its way.  Once petrol increases, so does everything.  We have taken what funds are available, and have purchased two terms of food for the preschool right away, while we wait and watch the prices on everything rise.  Muda says everyone begins scrambling to stock up with what funds they have. Also, petrol starts showing up on the parallel market, where its illegal to buy, but it is a normal part of the economic reality.

Thank you again for listening in, and tuning your dial to our frequency.  The work is ongoing and the various obstacles never ending.  But the Zimbabwean people are tenacious and resilient…most people I know would fade in the face of these kinds of concerns – continued lack of food, an unstable economy for decades, the fabric of their society’s traditions being threatened, and many of the best doctors and teachers having left to find work elsewhere, to name a few.

We all appreciate everything that you have done and continue to do, to support the upliftment of the children and the community at large.  You are amazing! 

Tatenda Chaizvo!

p.s. We have sent tax receipts out in 2021, pretty much as your donations arrived.  If it ended up in spam or otherwise in the inbox abyss, please feel free to reach out and we will resend!

Nhimbe Community Garden Doing Well!

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.

Click here for a short video to see some footage of the exchange.

Click here for another.

Thank you all for your continued support – your generosity is the foundation of our success, without which, Nhimbe for Progress would not exist, except in the world of visions and dreams.

If you missed our annual letter, please check it out here!  We have ceased sending snail mail, but if you would like a hard copy to share, please let us know!  We have a new feature on the website that lets you setup a recurring donation of any amount!, which helps us with our annual planning and budgeting.  Tatenda Chaizvo!