This has been an enormously expansive year for our music programs here, and an extremely challenging time to continue our Nhimbe for Progress services in Zimbabwe. It has taken me months to get my brain around how to share the details, as we were hit every couple of weeks with another problem. Some of these hardships are the same as we face here, like increased cost of gas and goods, for example, without wage increases, so you are well aware.
To keep the school open, repairs weigh-in heavy. Much of this maintenance has been a combined result of incredibly difficult weather along with being the first buildings from 2002 forward. Let’s start with the kitchen where the daily meals are prepared.
Maybe you remember from our year-end letter that the government regulations have tightened, and they do not want the children to use the large hut with divided rooms, but to have separate classrooms for each age. Our solution was to move the library into the large hut, giving the new books expansion we were planning, and use one of the huts we had built for a library, as one classroom. And then, use the old original library, a rather smallish building, as the 3rd classroom. That seems to have resolved the regulatory issue, but suddenly the roof began leaking as the weather was pounding…see the upper area on the top right…way too much water coming in for books or students!
That all seemed workable but there was a hole at the top of the large hut (divided rooms for the new library), also letting in far too much water. I know, you are thinking “why not use asbestos tiles, instead all of this thatch?” ha.
THAT BRIGHT WHITE AREA IS SUNLIGHT!
Well, if that wasn’t enough, there was a toilet needing constructed. No pictures, but it needs to be replaced by the traditional Blair-style rural pit toilet. Muda and I have discussed other options, but nothing yet is possible.
All of this building maintenance totaled almost $3,600, which when unexpected, has hit our annual budget hard. Normally we have little issues here and there, but this was torrential. Additionally, when we proceeded to paint the tops of the wells, we found 60 of them (out of the 156) which were seriously damaged and couldn’t be painted, so that added in for another $1,000 plus.
On a very positive note, we have not dropped a beat in providing services! With an ever-increasing demand for the Mhandara Monthly Care program (MMC), over 435 girls have received supplies this year. The local Nhimbe girls receive music instruction, as well as meeting weekly for sewing and teen guidance, and everyone, particularly the parents and community leaders, are so very grateful.
Magaya family hosted many guests from all over the world who were able to visit our Center!
Additionally, we are keeping the Nhimbe preschool in full operation despite the major repair issues. Over 75 children gather to be fed, educated, and nurtured at the Community Center during all school sessions January to December. To top all of this off, we were able to build 6 additional wells this year (please, be patient about receiving your pictures – just know that everyone is enjoying the fruits of your donation for their daily water!)
We are hoping that you have something in your budget to contribute to our programs during this particularly challenging time of raising over $4,600. Hopefully you can see how it’s been difficult to put words to the onslaught of reports … I don’t want to be a doom and gloom announcer as it takes everything in our power to stay in a positive vibe during the changes on our planet. Here is to staying optimistic, on the front edge of the beat, and holding a vision of everyone having the basics!
We will be at Zimfest sharing what we have, August 3rd through 6th in Corvallis at OSU, and we hope to see you there…buying an item or two certainly makes a difference to our fundraising as well! Days and nights of music as well as classes, all including many Zimbabweans who have been able to get their visas. Please come say hello!
Thank you for your continued support in handling these extreme circumstances! For us, that $4.6k is a chunk o’ change. The funding to accomplish all of this is rooted in your generosity! We also do our best to raise money for the Zimbabwe programs by teaching the music here, and performing with three different ensembles around the mid-valley, for public and private events… check out the venues. We do have new beginning classes in Corvallis now, as well as for our ongoing evolving groups since 1993. If you are interested in learning to play, or have an opportunity for us to share the music, please reach out!
We appreciate all that you are, and all that you do! Thank you for joining with us in helping our Zimbabwean neighbors during this time!