We are making lemonade out of the lemons!
As you know our Nhimbe preschool yard was consumed by a run-away fire across the bush at the beginning of July. Not only did the aged wooden play structures burn, but the Magaya homestead of Joshua and Matilda also suffered. In both instances, gratefully the fire was put out before any buildings were ruined.
Our preschool has just reconvened after a June-to-August Covid lock-down, so now we have children back to the daily routine as of the beginning of September. We continue to offer a partial stipend to help our staff deal with being laid-off periodically since March of 2020.
Sadly the charred ground can’t be used by the children but will be great for garden expansion.
In the midst of this, we have some really excellent news about a new playground area. Chief Nherera has awarded us an adjacent plot of land for our long-term educational purposes, that doubles the Nhimbe Community Center grounds. This can include future expansion for self-sustainability business activities, as well as additional learning opportunities.
On the opposite side of the Nhimbe Community Center, a humanitarian organization from Taiwan, Tzu Chi, bought their stand for $5,000 not all that long ago. This Buddhist organization wants to build an agricultural training center to house 23 huts, and is like us in that they are not bringing a focus of religion, but have the underlying goal to bring relief from suffering.
We have graciously been blessed by the Chief because of our history of devoted service since 2000. To be granted this stand (plot of land) for no fee is absolutely incredible! The Chief has been in ill health, and although he is now improving, he is elderly and we are fortunate to have his favor.
Playing wheelbarrow is a popular activity that helps to learn enormous coordination.
What we do face are fencing costs plus new playground equipment, which are both outside of any budget projected for 2021, as any fire like this is quite unexpected. After Muda researched competitive bids and skillfully negotiated labor costs over this last month, we now know that the fence fully installed is $6,000, and the poles and materials for the playground repairs and installation is comparatively a mere $400.
The new fence will match the existing fence in size, being two meters tall. We have chosen to not add the barbed-wire for the additional two feet on top, since at this point we foresee theft being a non-issue. If we ever add buildings to this just-over one-acre parcel, then we would want to consider the added barbed barrier to deter unwanted entry. The existing Nhimbe gate will provide passage for the children to the play area. There will be an additional gate installed for public access.
Lined-up so nicely to get in the front gate.
The replacement materials list is simple and includes colorful paints, nails, cement, poles, 8 tires, swing bars and chains, a climbing frame and monkey bars (metal this time). This will all be installed in the new area along with whatever is salvageable from the original playground.
Taking the temperatures with our infrared thermometer.
Please consider donating to help us solve this dilemma! Particularly with Covid-19 and the serious curtailing of normal life, the more the children can be outside for their normal activities as well as other “classroom” time, the better off everyone will be. This new space will certainly give them that!
This chigubhu, pumps the water with a foot pedal, by tipping the water container, sanitizing hands at the start of the day.