Back to School!

We closed the preschool on December 7th and we started again today January 11th!  That’s a long time for a young child learning how to sign to be in an environment where almost no sign is used.  Deaf children can feel very lonely and isolated.  Then they get accused of being “harsh” when they show their frustration at being misunderstood or unable to express themselves. This is why we include the family in the activities at Nzeve.  Young children learn to sign but they need to have someone to sign with. Mothers bring their children to Nzeve and most of them stay to learn communication skills themselves.

We are looking forward to a good year at Nzeve!  We have lots to do and despite the challenges we face every day in Zimbabwe, we are determined to make a difference in the lives of young deaf children, youth and their families!  Please join with us in this- read our blogs, facebook and website regularly.  If you are able to contribute – please send gifts through our partners Operation Orphan, www.operation-orphan.org

We wish you all a Happy New Year and thank you for your support.  Send us a message or like on our Facebook page!  Let us know you are with us!

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Time to cool off!

The rains came this week at last – it has been very hot and the children have enjoyed water play!  We were given a large paddling pool a few years ago and they have had fun cooling off. But on Friday it rained and everyone turned up in jerseys and woolen hats! By midday it had warmed up again and the children regretted their choice of clothing.  But the rains mean time to start working in the fields- this weekend people can be seen everywhere digging and preparing the land for the seed maize due to be planted.

We are hoping for a better harvest this year for Zimbabwe. Project Sanganai youth were trained a few years ago in conservation farming methods (Foundations for Farming).  They have already got their seed in the ground and they are keeping it well watered using the drip kit.

No swimming in the winter

Deaf children miss out on many opportunities for incidental learning. We have found that the children at Nzeve learn well when they experience things themselves. That means working out things they have not experienced and taking them to the activity and it can be great fun for everyone involved!

It’s winter in Zimbabwe. We never realised how cold it could get in Africa when we arrived here 30 years ago……. The temperature in the morning can be as low as 5 degrees Celsius. Children come to preschool with hats, gloves and tracksuits, looking like they are ready for snow!

The children went on one of their favourite outings this week – a bath in the tub! Many of the children wash in a bucket of cold water and have never had a hot bath. Four boys in one bathroom and four girls in the other, they sat there and washed each others backs!  By the time they got out the water was thick with soap.

As we left they noticed the swimming pool in the garden. “We want to swim” they signed.  “But it’s too cold,” I told them. The only way I could convince them was to allow them to plunge their hands in the water in the garden pool.  That’s when they realised I was telling the truth!  The water gets cold with the low night time temperatures and we will not swim again till September.

A recent workshop

Last term, Nzeve was involved in helping deaf children and their families discover their HIV status. Research has shown that one way to reduce infections is for people to be aware of their HIV status. Sadly, the rate of HIV+ is greater amongst the Deaf – and other children with disabilities. HIV is sometimes the cause of disability and disability makes many people more vulnerable to HIV. Deaf children who are HIV positive need the opportunity to understand their disease and get treatment support.

We had 15 deaf children come to the Nzeve centre with their caregivers in August 2016. We spent time helping them to understand about the virus and the need to take their medicines for treatment. The first day was especially exciting as the children met with each other and started to talk about health issues. They also taught their parents and caregivers some sign language!