Morning Greetings from the ground here…days are moving fast….we wake up in the morning to this!
A few of the girls had learned during our Youth Well Being marimba programs we had for years. Now we are working with the MMC so many new girls are coming in. This is their first lesson!
Click on the PLAY button on the video below to play the video of the girls playing marimba.
Embroidery continues … helping them with some close up readers makes it easier. We have several lenses in inventory. The women are so grateful! The Dollar Store cashier in Lebanon always wonders what we are doing!
We held the Health Forums to share general hygiene, nutrition, and lifestyle ideas. The attendance was lower than normal since this is spring time so as farmers without oxen their planting is labor intensive.
Those who attended loved the discussions. The highlight is always the Glogerm, which is a fluorescent powder simulating germs on handshaking. They go under the black cloth with the fluorescent flashlight to see how germs are passed, and how well they wash. Then they wash again with soap and check again!
Whitney shared all about cleaning water with Moringa seeds that is very dirty after storms. The bottle of dirty water can be cleared up with crushed Moringa seeds! It still needs solar disinfection afterwards.
Whitney and Standreck’s experiements are coming along. This one is Whitney’s egg crate. They have been breaking ground, direct seeding and doing starts to see how things work here, Whitney at our homestead and Standreck at his mom’s.
Thanksgiving Day preparations gave us a wonderful chicken and full complement of an Afro-American meal to celebrate.
They grow them big here!
Well testing continues! In general, the residents need to have well treatments and take more precautions on letting pathogens into their wells. More on this in the next Field Report.
The money situation here is challenging. The exchange at the bank has increased by 1 Zim bond since we got here 2 weeks ago. In the Villages we thought it had increased to 15:1 but in town a store told us it was 20:1...no wonder Zimbabwe is said to have the highest inflation rate in the world now.This pile of money is just under $500 USD to offer stipends to the volunteers for the work that keeps Nhimbe going. It’s not a living wage by any means. Cosmas can’t do anything but try to keep a sense of humor about it!
Greetings from rural Zimbabwe... by this salutation I'm not suggesting we are on the ground there with "the children of the soil", but we have some great reports to share from them!
Thank you for your continued support of our vision and mission for 2019.Your partnership is a key ingredient and we can't do it without you!
We hope that you feel our team's efforts to uplift everyone! The obvious recipients are the youth, but the parents and families in the community are deeply touched by our outreach. They are so grateful to be collaborating with us in this effort, as the children are an extremely vulnerable population. Maturing girls are at a tender age and many do not have mothers, or aunties, or grandmothers, so our Mhandara program becomes like a member of the family.
Nhimbe is honored to have 15 regulars and 11 volunteers who keep the wheels of progress moving for all of our programs there. The focus over the Memorial Day weekend was the Mhandara Monthly Care (MMC) program where 230 girls gathered at the Nhimbe Community Center located in rural Mhondoro. This included girls from a near dozen schools.
Thanks to smartphones and Whatsapp we can learn how things are going along from the village perspective...and quite quickly! Please take the time to relax and enjoy the videos over a cup of your favorite beverage!
How do you corral and care for 230 girls? Structure and fun. The various parts of the MMC Teen Care Camp (ideally happening 3 times a year) keep the girls stimulated and focused. This is our first 2019 camp so far this year, as we enter the second term in the education system there. All ages are welcome, but the very youngest normally belong to one of the staff.
The days are packed with activities:
Of course, there is always music!
A specially chosen elder is brought in to share women's wisdom with the girls.
They spend time in food prep, cooking and cleaning, as well as take a few minutes for exercise as a formal game of netball or stretching.
They have an opportunity to go for a walk in the bush, which wouldn't be safe for a girl to wander by herself. This is incredible to be able to indulge in the nature of their home area - just like us going for a walk in the mountains here in the Pacific coast.
We began a partnership with Girl Guides in Harare around 2006. They gave us great structure to get the programs off the ground. Of course we have embellished and enhanced the program to meet our needs, specifically focusing on MMC, which is so basic and paramount.
That same year we printed up t-shirts which you see are still holding up. They use them while at the Center and then they get washed and returned. That was quite an undertaking...I remember buying bolts of t-shirt fabric in various colors and organizing with a printer, all during hyperinflation when you never knew what the next day would bring. I'm amazed that the t-s are still functional and colorful.
Thanks for tuning in!
Thanks to your donations we are moving and shaking, andthese maturing girls are blessed by your help.
Always feel free to write or call with questions, answers, and encouragement. If you have any ideas on how we can source further financial backing to let us reach more girls, we know what we are doing and we do it well. And, there is so much need.
Thank you for your incredible support again this year as we remain focused on our work in rural Zimbabwe. Second term brings much activity:
The preschool re-opens with purchases of supplies and food for another 13 weeks, There are 59 little ones, with more coming each day, all being fed a nutritious meal (often their main meal). These children are being supported in early childhood development as well as being prepared for 1st grade in the Zimbabwean educational system. The preschool staff includes teachers, cooks, housekeeping, grounds-keeping and guards to assure the children's space provides a safe, clean and nurturing learning environment. The government officials consider Nhimbe a model preschool!
The Mhandara Monthly Care (MMC) program continues to manufacture and distribute start-up kits in 2019 for all the new maturing girls. Each kit's cost of buckets and underwear has increased since our estimate last fall when we wrote the year-end letter. We never know when the economy will be stable and when not, but we hold the vision and keep making headway! We have just produced 30 kits for our first 2 batches, which will be distributed very soon at the upcoming Teen Care Camp.
The MMC Teen Care Camp is planned for May 24th-26th. 260 girls are expected and arriving on foot from quite some distances. We provide a vehicle to pickup their bed roll and other gear at their various schools, where they all congregate before leaving. Arriving Friday, they are able to stay at the Nhimbe Community Center (with those great solar lights!) until Sunday, when they hoof it back home after the incredibly unprecedented opportunity for learning, healing and growing. There are a minimum of 11 adults that are present to keep everything moving smoothly. The girls are involved in every step of food prep and cleanup, as well as participating in many activities, including music, mentoring by the elders, and much in the way of interpersonal discussions of intimate teen care.
The MMC program (the Start-up kits, the Teen Care Camp and weekly meetings) are helping to keep these girls in school each month, and making a huge difference in their lives. For example, they learn about personal hygiene and the difficult subjects of dealing with boys and peers. The girls learn crafts, such as sewing, to be able to make their own monthly care supplies someday.
Both the preschool and the MMC program need soccer balls! We hold strong in the belief that the Right to Play is of enormous value in children's "normal" development, physically, emotionally, mentally and socially. Research has found that play is the key to children surviving the hardships of chronic economic issues and the displacement and relocation of continual transient populations. Please consider a special donation towards this unique need. Typically because of the rough terrain a normal ball doesn't last, but we have had help locating one for $25. Shipping is another issue, particularly if we can send more than one. With this number of children playing together, one ball would not suffice. Thank you in advance if you have an interest in encouraging play!
Thank you for any ways you might be able to help us with these heartening and supportive efforts, as we intervene in these children's lives. We remain consistent and faithful to the task at hand and ask for your assistance once again to reach out across the planet to our Zimbabwean neighbors.
Our music ensembles here in the mid-Willamette Valley are playing their part in fund raising, as they hit the streets earlier this year than normal, beginning in March. They are out there raising money for the Nhimbe youth programs and are enjoying watching the summer fill up with play.
Please join us at our next event in Alsea, Oregon, Sunday the 12th, as we make our annual pilgrimage to the Thyme Garden for their Mother's Day weekend. Find us engaged in the music near the herb nursery, where there is a huge selection of plants for sale. We offer the uplifting marimba music from Zimbabwe and South Africa, as well as original tunes:
Chipindura plays from 12:30 to 2 pm
Tashinga plays from 3:30 to 5 pm
The Mother's Day venue is particularly delightful with exquisite food and unique crafts for sale at a variety of booths. All of this wonder is set in the ambiance of the woods, where this most interesting source for seeds, herbs and other fine plants finds its home.
We hope to bring you some pictures and videos over the next few days as the girls have gathered in Mhondoro at the Nhimbe for Progress Community Center for yet another great camp.
They live together Friday to Sunday, three times a year, to celebrate life and being a girl.
We are so honored to be able to bring them this opportunity and thank all of you for the support you have extended to help Mhandara Monthly Care (MMC) and this camp. It has grown and developed into this rich and deeply connected program.
They arrive in their uniforms from school and then relax into whatever they want. Girls of any age are welcome, so some of the preschoolers even attend, as well as graduates from our Girl Guides weekly meetings. They always begin the weekend with plenty of singing.
Many thanks go to Amy Blinn and Payton James-Amberg as they made it possible for me to blog while in Zimbabwe. Many hands make light work! In this case as well, the infrastructure in the villages just can't support the needs for communication. We were lucky to send an email! Great appreciation here for their assistance, as well as the multiple families who helped me cover the home and farm while away!
Find the third field report here. Please read when possible, and share with your community. Thank you so much for the continued support. I'm not posting it in its entirety since its full of pictures and video links, but here is a taste:
It is with much gratitude that I offer this third and final field report of our visit to Mhondoro. Thank you for all you are doing to help us help them, both as contributions financially , and your own active efforts to make a difference. Your generous encouraging words are precious thoughts that keep us going when things get tough.
Here is the short version for those of you on the run:
APRIL HOLIDAY GIRL GUIDES 3-DAY CAMPA SUCCESS! – 235 Girls Attending – up from 74!
UNIVERSITY SPONSORSHIP – A Bit More is Required to Get Lillian Registered
LIBRARY UPDATE – New Books are now merging into the Library Re-Org
MARIMBAS AT THE COMMUNITY CENTER – Broken Marimbas are Being Replaced!
REPAIRS NEEDED – SMALL TO LARGE – Termites, Chairs and Hut Roofs All Require Attention
HOW YOU CAN HELP! What can you do that can make a difference?
We received another update from Jaiaen in Zimbabwe!
Here is an excerpt with a quick summary, Jaiaen writes:
Access to the internet, phone, WhatsApp etc., has been limited this trip. I could see that some of you wrote me with wonderful replies sharing blessings of encouragement, new ideas, financial donations, and the like, but I have not been able to reply. It is complicated to describe how one can have some internet but not enough network or battery to respond. This is particularly true in the rural area where I have spent most all of my time. I’m sorry to not be able to dive right into conversation with you, as that is my nature, but it has to wait until the door opens. Thank you so much for your interest and concern for these people. There is much suffering in the world and I appreciate your partnership in making your difference show here!
THE QUICK VERSION:
Weather report – praises for thunderstorms!
Empowerment from you to purchase some supplies is done with tremendous gratitude.
Re-thatching is on the radar but a challenge to see easily on the horizon.
Permaculture and our preschool are a good match…love that produce.
Monthly care and underwear – we are making great progress and are hopeful for the future.
Health concerns are continual…we have much to do.
You can access the full document here, or from our Field Reports page on the website.
Please take a minute to hear the latest from our Zimbabwe project!
** If you have been able to help us with this year's mission, this email will hopefully give you a short update. And thank you, for your decision to make a difference in Zimbabwe through our efforts. We all are working together!
** If you haven't seen our annual letter please go to https://www.ancient-ways.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/AW2015-packet.pdf and check out the film clips, or
** If you have read the letter (and seen those great videos) but haven't been able to donate yet, please see https://www.ancient-ways.org/about/join-or-donate/2016-focus/ to contribute today!
Here is what is happening NOW:
1. The preschool needs some soccer balls and a local girl scout troop is gathering them to send in my suitcase. I leave on the 16th of February for a month.
2. Our library sponsor is covering the postage for us to send some books to arrive while I'm there. We have some books to send, but if you have a special book that would be a great addition to our library please send it right away! I must receive it by February 6th to get it in the mail (that's 10 days from now). These books will be part of our library there, which serves a full community from daily preschoolers, primary and secondary as well as adults, including local teachers who use our facilities. I would say that lots of Goldie locks and Goosebumps or Harry Potter might not be the best choices - they have their own educational curriculum as well and so straight school text books are also not the best. Think about their culture, and great literature, to make your choices! Please send any books right away that you would like to see made available in the village setting to PO BOX346 SCIO OR 97355.
3. We will be providing monthly care for the girls this trip and all the wheels are in motion to make this happen.
4. We will be providing uniform fabric for the preschoolers and staff so that our school is following the legal guidelines for school uniforms.
5. We will be able to print one of the preschool books that Red Zebra made so that each child might have their own book! What a thought!
6. We will be able to provide some health care by being present to the village needs as we do daily work. Thank you for your support with this.
7. I'm looking forward to getting pictures of wells! We have built a total of 92 wells...16 built just this last year. Now since a camera has been recently donated, we can get pictures of the wells on an ongoing basis (our last camera bit the dust). Thank you all for your patience with our well building and picture taking progress. Some of you don't care about getting a picture and others do. We continue to always do our best...thanks.
8. We will be able to explore many areas of the project and hear from the residents just how Nhimbe for Progress is helping their lives.
Its been 5 years since I have gone to Zimbabwe. Initially the political situation made it difficult to spend a month in the rural area, since having regular gatherings could be misconstrued. Then my late husband, hence our family and friends, were all working through Agent Orange and its repercussions. Its taken a while to be ready to travel and return to the rural area, but I'm now looking forward to it.
Thank you for any way you are able to help us, help them! We are committed to making a difference today, and in the future.
Please feel free to call or email with questions...thank you for your continued support!