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!