Library Hut Thatching Success!

After 17 years of wear and tear, this hut roof needed replacing. Thanks to your help, we managed to get 'er done!

The steps to building a new roof are amazing.

First the old roof is taken down.
And that isn't a quick job...

With a completely new roof, the poles are replaced, not just the grass.

Also not a quick job...

The gum poles are purchased, along with thatching grass, wire, nails, thatching twine and lathe. The poles are found about 27 km from our Community Center. We use a pickup truck and some strong men to cut poles and ferry them.

The area began being deforested in the 1950's and gradually a couple of plantations of gum poles (eucalyptus) sprung up to supplement firewood for the area, as well as provide poles for building.

Then we replace the poles.

Yes...this goes on for a while...and they get it figured out...

The thatch is purchased in completely different places than the poles. We bought in local Chief Rwizi's area from more than 8 villages. Also Chief Ngezi's area sold us thatch from 5 villages. Cosmas and Patricia were ferrying the items with the help of the 3 strong fellows.

It takes many loads to thatch a hut.
What a Beautiful Site!
And, all of our lovely library books are now safe and sound inside!

PLEASE NOTE - The marimba clip is Nyaradzo, from our Mwoyochena CD. This song was donated by Anzanga. This beautiful song is almost 8 minutes long...the clip repeat is only 1.5 minutes.

Get your own copy here!

Upcoming Trip/Permaculture Update

First I want to thank all of you who have either contributed directly to airfare or the financial energy to support this trip! It started with us looking for volunteers, and then a couple of you responding, knowing that the airfare is a burden for a volunteer to be able to offer both the time and the money. Now we have three committed members of the team in addition to myself, ticketed and ready to go! Wow!

Here I wanted to share what we'll be on the ground doing within that first week. We are bringing two instructors from Zambia to share their successful drip irrigation protocol. They will bring drip line, fittings, and the basics to make this system work. They have been implementing this approach in Bulawayo where the water is even more difficult to obtain. These pictures are from their work there.

Its all about the gravity feed!
We buy the poles and buckets to make the table top reservoir that will feed each hose.
They provide the drip irrigation and teach more about raised beds.
Covo (traditional greens like chard or spinach) and tomatoes are being grown here.
Check out that tomato production!
Onions are also a favorite.
The mulching of the middle rows is a standard permaculture practice that they will teach.
This is an incredible harvest for any area!
From big plants to little ones, this technique works!
The lower leaves of this older Covo are being harvested.

Manually buckets of water are poured into the large 5 gallon bucket. Through the gravity feed the water is taken to the end of the row giving just enough water for plant health.

We are excited to implement this at the preschool garden. We will be starting with a small system of 30 meters. Tune in for an update in a couple of weeks!

This kind of prosperous gardening could turn the preschool into a self-sufficient operation in a matter of time. Purchasing the drip line is the primary expense in the operation. Thank you for the special help with these projects.

Special Orders for the Holidays!

We have an unusual opportunity to pre-order holiday gifts that will return to the US on 12-13-19 with our team (which is leaving in a couple of weeks)! If that works for your holiday shopping schedule, we will be bringing back some nicely carved wooden spoons ($8), intricately woven baskets ($10), and beautiful handmade purses (three color choices) with inside pockets ($26). Here are some samples:

The embroidery is random patterns. The sizes are consistently the same. She includes an inner pocket. The fabric bolt swatch shows the colors the best. They are approximately 10" x 10" with a 2" gusset in the bottom. They are extremely well-made. Easy to carry a thermos, keys, phone, plus other assorted items...very roomy but not bulky...the perfect size.

There has been no reliable electricity for quite some time in Harare and so the seamstress is often found at her machine after 10 pm when the electricity comes on, sewing into the wee hours.

This last year Winfilda lost her sister due to a sudden health issue. She is now responsible for her sister's three children, as well as her own. These purses she makes will help her pay school fees for the children as well as put food on the table. She doesn't sell these locally but primarily to us. She is a trained tailor and does an excellent job!

Thank you for helping us help them!

Please email gogreen@ancient-ways.org or call 541-259-4673 or 877-TATENDA with any product or shipping/delivery questions! We leave on 11-11 and must have orders before that date.

Thank you so much for your support of these craftspeople!

Last Call for This Trip to Zimbabwe!

Surprises come in many forms and this time it was unprecedented funding covering the expenses for a volunteer videographer to join Jaiaen on her upcoming trip to Zimbabwe in November!  Leaving 11-11 and returning 12-12 the team will be working in all of the project areas, bringing back art, as well as taking several project supplies (see below). Please read and respond soon to gogreen@ancient-ways.org if you have the video qualifications to offer our 25th anniversary as Ancient Ways, and our 20th anniversary year of working in Zimbabwe. Thank you!

How can you help with your Amazon Smile purchasing power?  First sign up for Amazon smile choosing Ancient Ways in Scio OR.  Then look at the “charity list” that we have prepared with this upcoming trip in mind (notice these items are marked urgent since time is of the essence). 

If you like shopping and want to help, please choose one of the items that we need to take early this next month. (Read the balloon text box next to each item). They will be shipped immediately to our Oregon address, and be able to pack into our Zimbabwe suitcases right away. Please pass these requests to your friends and family. Here is a summary for this trip:

GloGerm powder and fluorescent flashlight – This amazing product is a basic for sharing about hand washing hygiene. In a brief moment one can see how well they wash, and what to do differently. We have used this product in the past health forums and it has been a real hit!

Sensory Letter Cards – Preschoolers learn best through their senses.  These cards offer the upper and lower case alphabet in multiple colors with touch.  Lightweight and easy to take!

Sewing Needles – In Zimbabwe, the needles are coming from China and are below standard, often being rusty, and of course, breaking during use.  These requested needles are high quality, lightweight, and so easy to pack.  How precious it is to sew, particularly with knowledge of how to make monthly care supplies. Purchase just one of the needle 3-packs listed, and almost half of our girls will each get a new needle!

Cotton Canvas Tote Bags – This tote 12-pack is well designed and sturdy.  The women who do textile arts can utilize these high quality totes to design a nice product for sale here.

Car Charger Extender – This great product allows USB and cigarette charging for multiple electronics in one location.  With electricity at a premium both in the city and rural area, our Nhimbe office needs help.  Many people in the city stay up at night to use what little electricity is available.  In the rural area, generators and solar help but not sufficient.  This is a great solution!

Thank you for this assistance!

Zimfest and Zimbabwe News

Summer Greetings!

The Zimbabwe Music Festival 2019 is just around the corner, starting with a free concert on Thursday evening, August 8th at WOU Monmouth, OR, and going through Sunday the 11th, midnight! See Zimfest.org. Please join us there, as we share in the love of Zimbabwe, learning and playing its music, hearing more about its culture, and connecting with like-spirited folk.

All kinds of musicians will be playing most of the day, both outside during the day, and inside for the incredible night-time concerts. If you have never tried your hand at marimba or mbira, now is a great time! Ancient Ways will be both a vendor in the marketplace open Friday-Sunday, and playing as Chipindura Marimba on Saturday at 1 p.m.

If you are attending, please stop in and say hello. Do get in touch now to be a volunteer in the booth for an hour or two, in case you can squeeze us in! We appreciate however you can help and look forward to seeing you there!

The latest news from Zimbabwe has been percolating for about a month. We have been waiting to see how the dust settles. As of the last week of June, anything except Zimbabwean currency became illegal to trade. Its fine to own, but can't be used, other than to exchange it for the Zim bond note. This of course, is so complicated for everyone. Let me leave you here with a brief report from our friend in Zimbabwe:

We are trying to cope with the situation here, both economic and political.   I know that we are more fortunate than many and I don't know how the man in the street is managing these days.  Food is becoming much more expensive and now that we have the ban on spending US$ for goods and services that has only complicated the whole issue.  Of course, people still use dollars, and sellers accept them, but always having to look over one's shoulder.  And there is much confusion about "exchange" rates between the dollar and the newly-created Zimbabwe Dollar (which is a mixture of RTGS and Bond). The official rate is now 8.85 but on the street it is 10, or 12, or whatever the seller wants to use. 

I don't know what the NGO projects do with the dollars they get from the US; it isn't illegal in any way for the non-profits to send dollars - after all, millions of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora send money home on a regular basis, and the economy of the country depends to a large extent on these incoming dollars.  But whether they are still paid out in dollars by Western Union I don't know. And if they are, legally they are required to convert them to ZimDollars - and then to use a registered exchange dealer and get the official rate.  I have no idea how bookkeepers or accountants will account for it with any of these projects or businesses! 

As an example of how costs have escalated, my wife's car was recently serviced; nothing complicated, just a service and oil change.  She was charged an amount which was very nearly half of her monthly salary! 

A large part of the country is having 18 hour power-cuts every day; they have had to change their life-style to sleep during the day and get up at night to do the cooking, washing and housework.  This also means that alarm system batteries are not being charged up, also electric gate batteries.  Hundred of people are now opting for solar power with batteries and inverters - we are in the process of doing so, although we haven't had such severe power cuts (I think because there are some very high-powered individuals lining nearby). 

I don't know where this is all going to end up. 

We too, have no idea where it will all end up. This is the 20th year Ancient Ways is celebrating on the ground in Zimbabwe, and most of it has always been in not knowing...it has never been clear how anything would be resolving. We all just have an enormous amount of faith in the Creative Life Force that cradles the good close to the heart, staying focused, standing for only the best possible outcomes.

Peace and blessings to you and yours - and may we see you at Zimfest!

We Are Accomplishing So Much!

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 beginning of the hike into the bush

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.
Knowing very little Shona I can only make out that they sing about Girl Guides (our sister organization to Girl Scouts), shamwari (friends) and mwoyo or moyo (heart).

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.

Back to the Nhimbe Community Center!
Great fun with the older children teaching the dance lesson!
Even the very youngest are encouraged to whole-heartedly bring themselves to the music as leaders!
Drumming up some fun while waiting for a meal. Many girls are in the kitchen!
The Meal Queue
Fortunate is one of our leaders for the girls as well as a preschool teacher. She has several of her own children, and has been with us for many years. Very dedicated, always enthusiastic and an incredible singer!
Many girls do not normally eat this well at their homes due to poverty.
Relaxing in the shade...wonderful!
Some stretches as part of learning about their bodies and exercise.
We are very blessed to have this retired teacher take an interest in our program! Although you can't hear anything of what is being said, you can see that she is a good teacher and very interested in these girls! She gave a lot and ask for nothing.
Story telling and metaphors are a huge part of Shona culture. This song is all about being completely frank about their bodies and explaining to the boy's and men's advances just exactly where not to touch them.
The bottom line is telling them "don't touch here, here and here" quite literally!
This is a song about power. Note the girl's with their buckets. These buckets come as part of the start-up kits although I see they make a good drum also! At the camp, thirty girls just received the bucket, soap, 3 pair underwear and their re-usable washable supplies (made by our team!) along with a sewing kit to learn to make a small purse, making our efforts potentially far more sustainable.

Thanks for tuning in!

Thanks to your donations we are moving and shaking, and these 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.

Tatenda Chaizvo!

May Announcements – Here and in Zimbabwe!

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.

Join us with your dancing shoes!

Join us in Celebrating Earth Day for a Week!

Ancient Ways will again be working with the local community in Earth Day awareness and festivities...Check this out: 

  • April 20th we will share in the ambiance of the gardens and forest of Thyme Garden in Alsea - Join us as we spread goodwill and honor the incredible  land there.  Nursery hours are 10-5 pm.  The Circle of Well Being closing ceremony (a program of Ancient Ways) is from 3-4 pm.  Check out the entire day's event!
  • April 27th we will become our African animals in the Procession of the Species, beginning at 10 am at the Albany Court House. Find us as the percussion section next to the children from the Sundborn Children's House, our Nhimbe for Progress collaborators. And, do check out Sundborn's upcoming fundraiser!
  • Tashinga Marimba will be playing from 9:40-10 am and again after the Procession, from 11 am to 1 pm at the Albany Saturday Market on this same April 27th.  Get on your dancing shoes!

As part of our 25th year as Ancient Ways, and also marking our 20th year sponsoring Nhimbe for Progress in Zimbabwe, we thank our local organizations for all the ways they contribute to building community, which has also been our passion for all these years!

 

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Mhandara Monthly Care Update

Please check out the latest about our Mhandara Monthly Care (MMC) program in this link! (or paste this in your browser https://ancient-ways.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/MMC-Request.pdf)

 

We are asking for your consideration to send this to anyone you know who has a heart for females and the challenges that face them, particularly in Africa. 

 

We have an incredible program with an excellent track record...check out our website.  With very little funding we can intercede on behalf many of our MMC maturing girls' lives in 2019!

 

Please forward...thank you so much!

Incredible Night of Music for Zimbabwe!

Please share with your community!

 

Great Change for Zimbabwe - Marimba and Mbira Performance @ Whirled Pies
Kutsinhira Cultural Arts

 

Marimba and mbira performance supporting Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center and Ancient Ways.

Plan on joining us on Friday Dec. 7, 6 to 10 pm at Whirled Pies in downtown Eugene. A night of traditional Zimbabwean music will be presented in support of Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center of Eugene, and Ancient Ways/Nhimbe for Progress of Scio.

 

Kutsinhira’s sponsored artist-in-residence for 2018, Musekiwa Chingodza, and his fellow musicians from Mhofela will perform beautiful mbira music. Three bands from Kutsinhira, including Jenaguru-Full Moon and Chapwititi, teen extraordinaires, will provide rousing marimba dance music.

 

Bring your extra change, throw in the jars at the event, and help make Great Change for Zimbabwe. Cost:

 

$12 for Kutsinhira members
$15 for adults
$5 for children 12 and younger