Zimbabwe – Nhimbe for Progress

Greatest Need in Mhondoro:
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Nhimbe is a word from the Shona people of Zimbabwe referring to the residents in a community working together to help each other in daily life, for example, during harvest time. This is an old-fashioned and traditional word which reflects the deep commitment required both in North America and Zimbabwe.  Progress is an important and essential component in rural life bringing health, education and improved living conditions to within everyone’s reach.  Everyone deserves the basics.

Location

140 kilometers from Harare, there is a road that goes from Beatrice to Mubaira. Here you will find entry to the villages we have opportunity to serve. These six villages: Zaranyika, Muriritirwa, Magaya, Muchiriri, Zinyengere, and Gore, are in the Mhondoro region. There are about 1,350 people who live there. Magaya village is located within walking distance to the other five villages and over many years has become a central point for exchange.

Background

In 1998, Cosmas Magaya, a master mbira player, was sponsored by Kutsinhira to come to the U.S. and stay with their community in Eugene, Oregon. As part of a cultural exchange, he lived there for 6 months and also visited other communities during his stay. It was during this time that he and Jaiaen Beck of Ancient Ways first talked of their communities’ relationship.

In the fall of 1999, Cosmas was again sponsored to come to the U.S. as part of The Soul of Mbira tour, organized by Paul Berliner. At the close of the tour, he and Jaiaen began to explore building a program to link their communities.

Ironically, the day that Dr. Abraham Dumisani Maraire, the pioneer and father of the Zimbabwean music movement in the U.S., passed on, was the day Nhimbe for Progress began as a collaborative effort amongst many people. Ancient Ways offers the gift of Nhimbe for Progress to Dumi as well. It was his passion to share his culture through his music that began opening the doors for many people, both here and in Zimbabwe.

We have chosen to focus on 6 villages with almost 400 families (1,350 people) in the Mhondoro area because of our history with teachers of traditional music who live there. Each year we have continued with surveys by interviewing village residents, primary and secondary school headmasters, as well as experiencing, exploring, and examining the difficult aspects of rural life. In February, 2000, cyclone Eline had just taken its toll on the villagers’ homes and crops. We gathered information in the form of data, photos and video footage. We learned many things that define our existing program.

Program Administration

The Nhimbe for Progress program is being administered in Zimbabwe by Cosmas Magaya, who is not only a world renowned master mbira player and beloved teacher, but also a prominent businessman. He was a manager for the Dairy Marketing Board in Zimbabwe for over 20 years, and has the experience the Nhimbe program needs. Our goal here in the states is to work with him to facilitate funds and/or products reaching the villages as well as help with the administration in Zimbabwe. We research appropriate technology for cooking, new approaches to healing, alternatives for water as well as explore all avenues for helping the residents modify difficult lifestyle situations and gain in prosperity, without losing all that is familiar. Personal empowerment is our focus.

Prioritizing the needs is challenging since the needs are so great. We, Zimbabweans and North Americans, are working together to improve:

  • The limited access to health care,
  • The impoverished educational opportunities,
  • Essential extra-cirricular ‘well being’ opportunities for the youth,
  • Nutritional availability to preschool children,
  • Sub-standard living conditions
  • Self-sufficiency and sustainability approaches.

Interested In Participating?

If you are interested in helping Nhimbe for Progress, please write to the address below. You, as a member of the “work party” can be a school, community group, a band, individual benefactor, or corporation. Ancient Ways, as a broad community involving several countries, cities and individuals, is a vehicle for this program, but you and your personal interest actually paves the road to progress. Feel free to e-mail bridges@ancient-ways.org or write to the address below with comments, ideas, and your fully tax-deductible donations.