Nhimbe for Progress was started in November 1999 and the first trip to Zimbabwe was planned for March 2000. Cyclone Eline came upon Mozambique and Zimbabwe in February 2000 causing excessive flooding from the tropical storm. The media showed women and children in Mozambique hanging in trees with the water beneath them sweeping the homes and villages like a broom.
The rural areas of Mhondoro were not hit with such a drastic impact but the consequences were none-the-less devastating for those in our villages who lost their homes to the rampaging water and high winds. Upon arriving in March, the initial survey of the situation was of images of standing water where a front yard used to be, brick rubble where a hut once stood, and the shock of the events still on the faces of the residents. Toilets had overflowed and left sewage as the aftermath.
One or more huts were lost at a time, scattering the debris from one village to the next. These huts might have been the kitchen, a bedroom of parents or children or the grainery. We assessed the situation and realized that a rebuilding effort should be added to our list of ‘things to do’ and so huts became a priority for the first few years of our growth.
Construction of Huts
The family is responsible to:
- Provide the door and window frames from the previous home.
- Clear any rubble from the new building site,
- Provide foundation gravel, and
- Feed the builders during the construction.
Ancient Ways provides:
- Cement for the floor and plastering the inside of the hut,
- Thatching and gum poles for the roof, and
- Payment for builders and thatchers.
We have built over 40 huts to date. The 2010 survey indicates there are 92 more huts in Nhimbe for Progress and Jangano, which have collapsed due to inclement weather. Our goal is to help these families rebuild their kitchen or bedroom. Some huts begin cracking, which identifies another goal – to assist with repair, which could circumvent the eventual collapse.
Re-building a hut for a family has been very important because they struggle just to put food on the table, hence being able to rebuild it themselves is not an option. Most often, they must save for several years to be able to rebuild and in the meantime they sleep and eat in the same room (16′ in diameter), or require many people to share one small room.