Shona for ‘thank you’ and a term of gratitude!
We can hardly believe it: FOUR HUNDRED WOMEN came to our basket show/ grand finale gathering!!!
We cannot understate: conditions in Zimbabwe right now are so SO difficult.
Yet, as hard as conditions are, in the stunningly resilient women and children we work with, we are seeing so much that gives us hope and keeps us motivated!
We will not tease you: here are our Fall 2019 First and Second place winners!!!
(once these prize winning sets of baskets make their way back to the US, they will be available for purchase- if you would like to buy these beauties, check out our upcoming basket sale schedule OR if none of our venues are within reach, email us- if we still have them, we can ship them to you)
Edith Mamute and Talent, her beautiful one-year old.
Edith is a very smart and talented alum of Zienzele who will help us with workshops in March. It feels great when those we supported as young girls return to us as healthy mature strong women!
Every Child-Headed Household receives:
10kg of mealy meal for sadza, sugar, salt, soap, peanut butter, cooking oil, beans, and a selection of clothes and shoes donated to us (thank you so much!) and Zienzele pays school fees and the cost of the required uniforms.
Want to be a part of this wonderful program?
Support a child-headed household for one year with a donation of $300
Would you like to supply us with donations of school supplies and clothing? please email us to learn which school supplies and which types of clothing we can accept!
What a thrill to see this project take shape!
So much appreciation for Mr. Mutatisi, our head builder (the elevated and authoritative figure in the last image), and all the people who worked so hard on this construction!
Nemauzhe Grade Six: Everjoy (in the V-neck at the left) is number 1in her class and wants to be a doctor!
His name says it all: Confidence!
Twas a cold and drizzly day when we met with the Nemauzhe basket-weaving group…
Wowza! Amazing basket selection at Nemauzhe! Their supported-student number was raised from 31 to 35 because of this great production- high quality and many more baskets than usual!
… and that called for a Happy Dance!
Forgive the furtively-taken photos: Takudzwa (L) and Patrick (R) were our brave expert explainers for the nuts and bolts of reproductive anatomy. Patrick explained the female reproductive system and Takudzwa explained the male reproductive system (with exceptional comic flair)- well done!
Musvovi: a road ‘less taken’
In Chomuruvati, students play a few games of Nhdo Nhdo while they wait for us to get started!
The ladies of Mapagamuri greet Nancy and Prisca with a particularly enthusiastic welcome every visit, and this visit was no different! We distributed a truckload of millet that supplied both our caregivers and Child-Headed Households in Mapagamuri, and we checked in with the robust group of Zienzele students!
By knowing their world. The seed pods on this tree are the vegetable source of the dye that produces the grey that shows up in the baskets we sell both online and at events. To produce the exciting bright colors (turquoise, purple, bright blue, pink, etc) our women’s groups collectively decide to purchase dyes- but for MANY of the ocher tones, the deep browns, the darkest blacks, the grays, and the rusty reds, our basket makers use native plants and trees.
After a few days away, we returned to see very encouraging progress at the ZCC worksite!!
The walls are inching upward as concrete drying allows, the circular foundation is coming along (Jim Clark the engineer wants to draw our attention to the fact that those perfect circles were etched with a stick and a string!), and the work group has come together as a self-motivating bunch.
Also of note: the Community Center committee in Mupagamuri had been hesitant, putting off the initial steps of construction. Given how tenuous everything feels these days, their reluctance toward taking the first step of buying construction materials makes a kind of sense- it is very hard to count on promises and plans under these conditions. But Prisca and Nancy visited them and after a stretch of trying to convince them with words, we invited them to come see the Berejena worksite. They made the trip, and returned ON FIRE! They have plans to get the bricks to their site in time for March, and have made enthusiastic commitments to the project- a very hopeful sign! It sure is great to know that in Berejena, we have an example that will inspire other communities.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT OUR ZIENZELE COMMUNITY CENTER FUND, PLEASE CONTACT OUR TREASURER JIM CLARK AT:
The ladies of Mawadze like to set up their baskets for a dramatic reveal, and their baskets are consistently top-notch! We meet on the rock under the tree- you may remember a very similar image of our Spring meeting! This year included some debate over new product ideas, always encouraging to see innovation! At Mawadze School there are 63 students supported by Zienzele, including our Grade 5 superstars!
(The Zimbabwean flag is still officially at half-staff for the death of Mugabe and funeral singing lasts through the night.)
EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. OF CONTINUED SCHOOLING
MAKES AN IMMENSE DIFFERENCE IN
THE LONG-TERM HEALTH OUTCOMES FOR
A YOUNG ADULT IN ZIMBABWE.
MAKE THAT DIFFERENCE: an annual donation of $100 provides a year of secondary level education for one student!
This class in Chikofa is exchanging letters with North Bennington Grade Four
This class in Mawadze is exchanging letters with Grade Six at Crossroads Academy.
IF YOU ARE AN EDUCATOR AND YOU WOULD LIKE YOUR CLASS TO JOIN OUR PEN PAL PROGRAM, GET IN TOUCH!
Mushai has been a caregiver group whose performance swings between high highs and low lows. We try to give Mushai a bit of flexibility-this is the remotest village we serve.
The Chikofa basket-making group set a new record!
We take time at the beginning of our field visits to check in with our regional representatives/coordinators and get organized- in addition to everything else they do, these women ensure that our caregivers and children know when we will visit their village, and when and where our workshop gatherings will happen. SUPER. IMPORTANT.
Our blog regulars might recognize these Zienzele All-Stars taking fun seriously while relaxing over a Scrabble game. These guys have been a huge help with construction of the Zienzele Community Center- this morning, Blessing, Solomon, Daniel, Godknows and Munashe took off at 4:30AM to go dig the latrine holes….. (to be continued)
(latrine holes, continued) … which were carefully sited and marked by the sanitation action group representatives in what Prisca and I have dubbed “poop in the toilet" uniforms. All blushing aside, our community center has the chance to model best sanitation practices, and these guys are helping us do so!
Sure is a striking reminder of how much we take for granted when it comes to even the most basic sanitation considerations.
Construction begins with a site visit, a gathering of the work crew, digging the foundation trenches, and prepping a water basin for mixing concrete. Tafadzwa was eager to help the grown-ups out!
Leaps and bounds! Bricks are being carried, concrete is being mixed, the bricks are being laid- walls are taking shape! We are all very excited about the circular foundation for the traditional communal kitchen!