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!
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!
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.
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!
The lock-down for the Covid-19 variants was strictly enforced by police, traveling only allowedwith 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 preschoolreopening date last week:
kitchen corner wall
another outside hut wall
another kitchen wall
another outside hut wall
inside annex 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.
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.
OVERGROWN GRASS BEFORE
OVERGROWN PLAY AREA BEFORE
HAND-SICKLED PLAY AREA AFTER
HAND-SICKLED KITCHEN AREA AFTER
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”.
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.
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.
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!
You do make the difference! Always feel free to reach out and ask questions or just chime in with your ideas!
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!
Nhimbe for Progress continues despite the many challenges we have faced for over 20 years. There is a spirit of tenacity behind us... impelling, propelling, compelling. Please remember to check out our ongoing progress reports in this link. It shares the very latest, and can be filtered by your favorite focus!
Ancient Ways began working on a "transition team" in mid-August, a month after Cosmas' passing. Then, just two weeks later, we realized that Patricia, Cosmas' widow and our "next in command", was needing to return to her rural family home to fulfill her dreams as a merchant and farmer. She will be working the fields of her father's land and hopefully opening a new store. We bless her on her way, and for listening to her inner guidance, although this came as quite an awakening to all of us!
We immediately initiated work on a plan for the new transition team. By mid-September we began completing those strategies. How do we effectively transfer all of that knowledge and power and move forward without wasting a drop of time? The rains are likely coming the end of this month meaning, well building will cease for 6 months, preschool is starting the beginning of November (opens the 9th), and maturing girls never stop blooming!
Nhimbe has a new team in place working diligently on the details of getting everything moving, now! More to follow in another blog, as that is taking detailed and firm shape, solidifying with all the i's and t's clearly marked.
Thank you for your continued concern and support during these last few months. It means a great deal to hear from you, even if just a few words. I think the most poignant feeling shared with me has been, "No time on earth is long enough to share with those we love, or to prepare our hearts for good-bye." (Christopher Lyles) It speaks to death and loss so very well. I've certainly been blessed by the brilliant light of many people whom I've dearly loved over the years and that sentiment shouts loudly.
Everyone on our team is deeply moved by being a member of this new Nhimbe. We all recognize how fragile life is, and what a tender seedling we have in our hands, looking for the sun and hoping for the nurturing of rain. We are rapidly working towards getting the preschoolers in their seats by phase 4 of the government's plan, and MMC girls again learning about their bodies, as well as deepening the remaining 25 wells before the rains come...all considering Covid-19 safety issues!
Locally, here in Oregon we are currently looking at higher numbers of infections as well. As a music community we continue to encourage utmost care in all arenas, including mask-wearing. Our latest volunteer has come forward with a great new mask for us to offer through Ancient Ways on behalf of Nhimbe (currently only 4 new fabrics available at the bottom). Please check it out:
Designed by an engineer, Dora Cary of Orange Dot Quilts, and enhanced with special adaptive features by Heather Hodney.
Curves out away from nose/mouth, allowing more breathing room.
Does not slip down when talking.
Silicone adjusters to size ear loops to fit.
Ear loop elastic extends behind head, creating a lanyard, allowing mask to be worn around neck when not needed as face covering.
Nose piece can be removed.
Made of 2 layers of pre-washed cotton.
Can be machine washed and dried .
Here is our first testimonial "I love the mask. It is the best fitting one I’ve tried to date. The special features of the nose guard, 3-D breath-ability, toggles for fit, and the elastic for around the neck make this design special—not to mention the beautiful fabric! They really are sensational". Liz H.
The Magaya family has been able to hold their nyaradzo ceremony for Cosmas on October 3rd in Zimbabwe, after waiting almost 3 months due to this unusual Covid situation. Normally, this would traditionally have been finished within about one month of his passing, allowing everyone to complete one of their rituals leading up the final ceremony next year. This successful event is a great relief to all involved!
Now, the rest of us around the world, also have an opportunity to gather together online to honor and celebrate the life of this unique man on October 10th! Please feel welcomed by the following invitation from the Kutsinhira Center, who are hosting this online event.
September 25, 2020
We at Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center deeply mourn the passing of the great mbira player Sekuru Cosmas Magaya, our long-time teacher and friend, who died on July 10, 2020, after contracting COVID-19.
We are planning an International Zoom Memorial to honor Sekuru Magaya on October 10 and invite you to join us. As we are able to accommodate only 250 connections in addition to our presenters, we are asking that you RSVP to let us know that you would like to join (please see instructions below).
The approximately 2.5-hour memorial will take place on Saturday, October 10, 2020, beginning at 10:30 am PDT and at 7:30 pm Harare time.
Our presenters will include many family members, close friends, hosts, and mbira students who consider Sekuru Magaya to be a major inspiration in their lives.
10:30 am/7:30 pm: Begin slide show accompanied by recordings of Sekuru Magaya, while people connect. We highly recommend joining early to enjoy the beautiful slide show created by Mark Cohen, featuring Sekuru Magaya’s US visits 1998-2018 and accompanied by his solo mbira recording, Anoyimba.
11:00 am/8:00 pm: Brief greeting, introduction. State intention to record.
Opening Prayer by Fradreck Mujuru, live from Zimbabwe
11:15 am/8:15 pm: Musical and spoken tributes, 3-5 minutes each. Most or all of these will be pre-recorded, and in a pre-set order. We will begin with Magaya family and friends contributing from Zimbabwe.
12:30 pm/9:30pm: (or whenever planned program finishes) – invite other attendees to contribute spontaneously (by request via the Zoom chat box)
Approximately 1:00 pm PDT (10:00 pm Harare time): Closing
If you would like to join us for this event, please fill out the brief registration form HERE:
If you have any problem accessing the form, you can instead reply to this email with your name, email address, brief description of your connection with Cosmas (e.g., “mbira student,” “university host,” “longtime friend,” etc.). It will be helpful if you can use the form though.
We will send you the Zoom link and some helpful Zoom hints 2-3 days before the event. When you click on that link any time between 10:25am PDT and the end of the Memorial Zoom, you will join in a Waiting Room and soon after admitted to the event by our tech people.
Please do NOT publish this link on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). If you know of others who would like to attend, please ask them to send us an email requesting the link.
Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center and the Magaya family retain all rights to the recording of this event, and we plan to share it with those who are unable to attend the live session.
We look forward to sharing this time with you.
Marilyn Kolodziejczyk and Memorial Committee (Tsitsi Hantuba, Lynne Swift, Janis Weeks)
We are hoping that this finds you and your loved ones well!
We continue to forge ahead in all ways possible. Our latest progress report is always online here. Our team in Mhondoro is searching for simple and safe solutions to attend to the great need in the rural area. The country's lock down has tightened and we are, of course, following all guidelines.
We are still expecting results for the many Covid-19 tests that were done in our area at Cosmas and Patricia's home. The immediate family is well, with almost all testing positive, and recovering any symptoms that presented themselves. Quite a statement about Shona resilience. The remaining residents are patiently wait to hear.
If you have been following our mask inventory, you know that we have had shortages for a bit. We are back in masks! Due to your generosity, we have raised over $2,300 because you have bought our masks, and because people have donated hundreds of hours of their time, plus their Zimbabwean fabrics, to make this all possible! Wow!
We are doing everything possible to make a difference in Mhondoro through this ordeal...thank you!
Not every style in every fabric is back in stock, but doing far better. Continue to stay tuned as we receive more inventory and update the online inventory. You can find the information here, as well as when you:
Go to the website on the main CHANGE! page (towards the bottom), where we explain what we are doing to intervene for Covid-19, or
The MASK TRIBE page, where there is more background about mask making (again towards the bottom).
The main difference in the recent masks is that there is a metal nose strip on most of them, but not all. If you need a metal piece in yours (you wear glasses for instance, and prefer the lack of fogging) then please mention that in your order, otherwise yours can come either way.
We are getting great reports about their comfort and quality...Enjoy shopping! And again, thank you for your continued support of these residents!
It's with enormous gratitude and appreciation that I write with the latest about what is going on in Mhondoro. Besides bringing an opportunity to share some historical context about Nhimbe for Progress, additionally, there are some lovely video updates towards the end. Being able to write is sorely needed for me, in coming to terms with the miracle of life and death.
Blogs “should” maybe be short, but, sometimes it’s not possible.
With Cosmas’ passing and his family being tested, Covid-19 became a reality to his neighbors, both locally and for the entire region. Likely, the first person any of us have known personally to have died from the virus, the impact has been great to our hearts and psyches. Cosmas grew up in the Magaya village and herded cattle like other small boys. Little did anyone know that he would evolve into such a beloved teacher and friend to so many around the world.
Many articles have been written to commemorate his life. The NY Times article is linked here. Although reading about his life in these various ways is helping with healing for us all, I continue to be a little miffed reading the articles because he is acknowledged as the Project Director of Nhimbe for Progress, but not the co-founder. So here I am, just wanting to set that record straight…Cosmas Magaya and Jaiaen Beck joined together in a vision for this particular pragmatic elaboration of consciousness.
Yes, Ancient Ways as a non-profit was my vision and began 5 years earlier, but I had no premeditated inclination to ever go to Zimbabwe, Africa in general, nor to jump into humanitarian outreach in this fashion. I knew I was feeling prompted to do something since childhood, but what exactly?
When Cosmas and I met in ‘98 during his first trip to Eugene, he came to visit our community near Scio and we spent much of our time talking about his father (now late), a nganga or more commonly n’anga, which is an herbalist and spiritual healer. I wasn’t one of Cosmas’ mbira students, but instead had this compulsion to study his father’s work.
His father Joshua, renowned in the region, and mother Matilda, both had enormous hearts, and handled everything that would arise with compassion, always looking for the high road in difficulties, as well as the most progressive and enlightened approaches to practical aspects of life, including being well-known for their farming. It was the Light emanating from that relationship exploration that became an undeniable driving force in my life.
During Paul Berliner’s Soul of Mbira tour in ‘99, Cosmas and I took our imaginings of a dream, and created a laundry list. That day, surrounded by my first marimba teacher Maggie from Kutsinhira, and Marilyn and Mark, who are other members from the multi-faceted, devoted and affectionate Eugene music community organization, Cosmas and I defined our specifics. All of this impelled, compelled and propelled me to be on a plane 3 months later, on my first trip into the Zimbabwean veld, the savannah, the bush.
That same day, as we were delving into what was possible, they received a phone call that Dumisani Maraire had passed on. The imprint of that moment transferred all of the undefined passionate energy I had received from Dumi, as my first Zimbabwean teacher, into the as-yet unnamed project Cosmas and I were in the midst of birthing. Cosmas was my co-conspirator, if you will, to change the face of rural Zimbabwe, alleviate the suffering, and create opportunity for another way forward through difficult times (kuenda mberi), and the Kutsinhira community became a mid-wife of sorts.
It’s obvious to those on the inside of our larger Zimbabwean music community, that his 20 years of devotion and dedicated work to Nhimbe was not a light-weight endeavor. Anyone who has visited Africa for any duration, or even camped anywhere for longer than a few days, understands how everything requires more effort to achieve basic results, since water and electricity flow are not easily available. Compound that with the politics of the day and you have a determined but careful leader, who was often found saying “We are winning!”.
Besides requiring incredible endurance and resilience, which appear to be innate Shona characteristics, the Large Love from Cosmas’ parents infused his life with a genuine capacity to not just find a way to dance with everyone he would meet, but also at every turn, he would highlight how we as communities need every diverse reflection of the Divine…all of us, even when we don’t like something we see in another, are each bringing out some aspect that contributes to the whole, with forgiveness and acceptance as huge gifts to evolve us through the challenges.
It is with his hand at the plow, complemented by his dear wife, Patricia, that we have expanded over the years. Her energy exceeds no bounds and her administrative and management skills have been growing by leaps. The many enthusiastic and loyal family members, and Nhimbe staff, have created a strong fiber so that Nhimbe has evolved beyond a faithful and steadfast mushroom, into a native beauty with fervor and zeal, and which now belongs to the entire community from the elderly and children, all the way to the local politicians, and the Mhondoro member of Parliament.
This last week, the 18th to 20th of July, the member of Parliament who had attended the MMC (Mhandara Monthly Care) Camp during our 20th anniversary trip November 2019, organized 300 Covid-19 tests for Mhondoro, at Mudavanhu’s (Cosmas’ son) request. Muda has taken on the role of family head there at this point, negotiating the terrain, filling some enormously large shoes. Because of those promptings, 56 of the tests were given at the Magaya homestead for the nearby neighbors, thereby including Nhimbe residents, with the remaining tests being given in surrounding villages to include multiple Chief’s regions. This is an incredible awakening gift to the villagers considering the current lack of medical and insurance systems in Zimbabwe!
We continue with our Nhimbe intervention, as we await the immediate family test results. Patricia is staying in town during this isolation time, and so is guiding the efforts by cell phone calls and Whatsapp, reaching out to members of the Nhimbe community. The following video, created by a neighboring villager coming to help out, shows our two guards, the preschool head and a teacher, harvesting rugare from the new garden. The bounty is amazing!
Those identified as the elderly, plus pregnant and nursing women, are being given these beautiful bundles of greens, the most impactful vitamins and minerals available. And, this is winter! I can feel such a grateful reverence for this process. It’s so very touching to see!
Patricia also reports that Isaac, who is in charge of the wells, has completed deepening another 2 wells. We have finished 17, but have another 30 to go. The drought has taken its toll on the water levels, so at times there is absolutely nothing there. We had 48 to do, but one was dropped, so we only have 47. They found out that there was plenty of water in the family's well, it was just that the rope on the bucket was quite a bit shorter back in 2010 when it was built, so they bought another rope and are happy campers!
Thank you for all the ways you are helping us with these efforts. Always feel free to reach out by phone or email – I appreciate the encouragement, and find comfort in being engaged by and responding to your inquiries. Below are a few links to peruse further:
Cosmas Magaya Memorial Fund donations can be made here. Thank you so much! These monies are being used for burial and funeral expenses, as well as interceding on behalf of the family’s medical expenses to get through the Covid-19 circumstances.
Currently school is in a hiatus thankfully, although, the grounds are being maintained and guarded. We continue to pay the Nhimbe staff, although at a reduced rate, it was what we must do for this year, while the pandemic restructures and repaints the new normal. The staff continues to step up and assist at every turn. Please see how you might be able to help here!
Many blessings your way, with health, well being and safety for all of you and yours! Tatenda Chaizvo!
Its with a heavy heart that I share with you that Cosmas Magaya, long-time friend and co-visionary as our Project Director of Nhimbe for Progress in Zimbabwe, as well as master mbira teacher and performer, father of four, husband, and headman of the Magaya village, passed on July 10,2020 in Harare. He is soon expected to be laid to rest in his rural home in Magaya Village, Mhondoro, Zimbabwe. Cosmas and his wife Patricia have been an incredible team bringing to fruition many dreams both personally and professionally.
I’m sorry for the delay in sharing this news. I’ve been unable to write sooner…my body is still dumbfounded, just staring when I attempt to think or feel.
He was surrounded by family members, and held dearly by his son, Mudavanhu, as he passed, bringing everyone comfort. The tests for Covid-19 were positive, so the family is isolating together in Mhondoro, and will be tested themselves soon.
A Cosmas Magaya Memorial Fund has been set up to take donations that will help with medical expenses, burial and funeral costs, etc. Please find more information here as to how you can help!
Donations here to Ancient Ways are also welcome to assist with Nhimbe moving forward. At this point nothing is clear, although Cosmas and I have been training his wife Patricia for a few years now as “the succession plan”.
As two of my long-time marimba teacher-friends pointed out, “the work is not over, of course” and also encouraging words for us to “keep developments going in the area”. I think they get me. Both of them knowing Cosmas well, so also having insight into his determination to succeed with Nhimbe and commitment to take care of it. He used to speak of Nhimbe as his first child, with the second being Humwe, which he started with his daughter Tsitsi Hantuba. Both of these demonstrate his devotion to his humanity and his music. The suffering in Zimbabwe was not something he ever forgot about.
Another old friend has put together a beautiful slide show on Facebook that has helped me tremendously. His sharing made it possible for me to get this blog actually out there, instead of saying to myself that I “should” be writing something. I’m very grateful for his help as well, to get this moving forward.
Thank you all for the outpouring of your hearts. The depth of feeling you are sharing for this gentle giant of a man is enormous.
Thank you for the ways that you reach out to the world around you, and hold it in appreciation, sharing your gratitude with others. We are here for a blink of an eye, relative to the cosmos. Life here on planet earth is such a precious moment in that time.
Please see what fantastic growth is occurring at Nhimbe for Progress because of your support! The donations for the masks you are now wearing, as well as the ongoing remembrance of our work, both financially and through your words of encouragement, is making all of this possible. And, it is heartwarming!
There has been a spontaneous ignition of effort at the Nhimbe Community Center permaculture garden since the infusion of water and air with the new bore hole and windmill. They took the mombe by the horns and with great determination, the Nhimbe staff (not actively operating the preschool yet) are shown in these videos, doing what they know how to do so well. As people who live close to the earth, and who innately work hard with focus, the team has done an extraordinary job.
They decided to expand our 10 rows to 24! And, did so rapidly. What an amazing and resourceful group effort! We extend a big makorokoto (congratulations) to them all!
This picture shows some of the results from our planting in the November training. It’s called Rugare and is easily started from cuttings. This plant continues to produce over time, and you may be able to see that the leaves have been being harvested over this year’s summer and fall months. The great success from the Zambian training with the drip hose and bucket system married to the new water tank full of an abundant supply is producing enthusiasm as well as vegetables.
To prepare the new beds, the ground is first broken up and dug down to create a wide deep trench. Then the maize stover (stalks, leaves and remaining cobs) is laid into the bottom, covered with manure and water, and finally topped with a final layer of soil. In our training we planted immediately which surprised me, but it obviously worked well.
The sadza preparation lets us know that this was a full day of work. I know that it took more than one day!
Listen carefully and you will hear the Shona/English mix which is the norm. I hear masks, Covid, social distance, for instance.
The stover is moved around the field
by arm loads and really gives great tilth!
We are not sure where the maize and manure has come from but are very happy
it was made available.
Moving the manure around the field is a bigger deal!
The brigade makes them a highly productive unit.
This garden is impressive considering they are heading into winter. There are tomatoes as well as onions and other vegetables.What a lovely contrast…the productive garden and the just prepared new beds.
There is something soothing and meditative about the windmill pump action…really easy to listen to…makes me want one in my back yard. Clearly, the growth of gardens is symbolic of the mushrooming of our Nhimbe project. Its delightful to be in partnership with our team, seeing big results (we really aren’t known for small ones), and finding the path forward to be well-stimulated, particularly during these high stress times.
We will still need to create the bucket platform and buy buckets and drip hoses for all of the new beds (22 of them) but due to the quarantine and focusing on getting the borehole/windmill operational, there hasn’t been time to source them. We are really hoping to find them somewhere in Harare, since the first two drip hoses came from Zambia. The trainers unexpectedly dissolved operations there, and so we are on our own. I’m grateful that we tapped into the training when we did … timing is really everything! Like the notes and rhythms put together amongst us all (you absolutely being part of that us), blessing everyone in a huge way with this music.
Just imagine how powerful of an impact was made in all of their hearts and minds, to see the outpouring of concern from our side of the planet, right as the collective shut-down occurred. Many more smiles and happy sentiments, as well as enormous gratitude, fuels well-being on a grand scale.
Thank you so much for your interest and concern for these people. I realize that, for many of you, its Cosmas Magaya, and your relationship to him, that led you to initially get on board with our community building efforts, but there are also countless others of you that are just simply huge-hearted humanitarians, not knowing anything about Mhondoro, and now having found a special connection here. Whatever your motivation, it is all greatly appreciated!
Please find our mask making venture here (proceeds are supporting our Covid-19 intervention efforts), as well as read about CHANGE!, our Covid-19 Intervention here, checking in on our Progress report here. We always accept donations via the website here or paypal at email@example.com, and also appreciate it greatly if you set up a monthly bank draft, as your dollar goes much further (there are no online fees), plus it helps us tremendously in budgeting.
We are investing in these people and this community. It’s experimental in a way…like what happens when people have enough clean water and other basic resources? Are we changing the face of rural Zimbabwe? We certainly hope so, in a positive, and eventually, self-sustaining way! Tatenda Chaizvo (thank you very much) for your impactful contribution…you do make the difference!