Millet is not just for birds. It is one of the oldest foods known to humans and has been used in Africa as a staple for thousands of years. Now, Project Tariro in cooperation with a program of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, is helping to revive Pearl Millet in Zimbabwe to cope with climate change, respond to widespread hunger as well as provide a highly nutritious cereal suitable to persons infected with HIV and AIDS.
David Mandizvidza, horticulturist and manager the 15 acre demonstration farm at Project Tariro at Old Mutare, is currently harvesting part of the booming crop of green millet for immediate consumption. He will wait for the remainder to ripen before harvest and thrashing. Once it is hulled and cooked it is mildly sweet with a nut-like flavor. In Shona it is called “mbunga” and is usually made into a porridge called “oshifima.” It is superior to rice and wheat in terms of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. This cereal is one of the ways to boost the immune deficiency of HIV + persons. Mr. Mandizvidza also plants vegetable soybeans (pictured) that can be harvested green for human consumption and provide similar nutrition.
Project Tariro: Improving Health…Improving Lives
The 15 week training program for Project Tariro’s clients includes not only how to grow nutritious foods and herbs but also how to prepare the foods to be more tasty. Seeds as well as chickens and rabbits are provided to the graduates to take home and establish their own gardens and livestock for reproduction and improving their own diet.
This fall, as the sounds of Christmas music fill the airwaves, and the stores beckon us to join what has become a commercialized frenzy, Project Tariro offers several ways for you to honor loved ones to engage the true spirit of gift-giving by giving gifts that really make a difference—for some, a difference between hope and despair.
2013 Tariro calendars featuring the HIV+ clients of Project Tariro are now available for donation (minimum of $10 plus postage). Email your order to Paul Van Buren.
Or, you may choose from the following ways to provide direct assistance:
- Purchase a rabbit or two laying chickens to help a graduating Project Tariro client generate family income and sustain a nutritious diet ($10 ea)
- Supply a healthcare kit with first aid supplied to assist community healthcare workers ($32 ea)
- Purchase cooking oil so community health workers can receive monthly supply ($12 ea)
- Purchase one bolt of cloth, thread and needles for sewing class participants ($75 ea)
Make your check payable to Project Tariro, with gift type specified in lower left corner, then mail to:
GBHEM Project Tariro
PO Box 440102
Nashville, TN 37244-0102
Download a free Christmas card to let others know you’ve honored them in this unique way, or simply use the Christmas card as a beautiful way to raise awareness. Simply click on the links below and save the cards to your computer. Print them at home, or through a printing service.
As of June 29, 2012, Project Tariro has completed its merger with the Voluntary Counseling and Testing Center (VCT) located in the Old Mutare Mission, Zimbabwe, adding new services for people living with HIV and AIDS, as well as orphans and vulnerable children. This new development comes with the support of Africa University’s Faculty of Health Sciences, The United Methodist Church of Zimbabwe, and Friends of Project Tariro, U.S.
Mr. Mutsa Mujaji (Project Tariro Board Chairperson) said,
“By unifying these programs at the Old Mutare Mission, we will be able to strengthen our ability to help those who struggle with the effects of HIV and AIDS in the Manicaland community.”
Project Tariro began in 2007 as an initiative of United Methodist deacons under the leadership of Rev. Paul Van Buren, a deacon from the East Ohio Conference. “I witnessed the stigma of HIV and AIDS while working at Africa University, and felt that the United Methodist Church could do something more to help those who suffer, overcome isolation and live better lives.”
Just as Project Tariro was getting off the ground in 2009, VCT lost much of its funding and began scaling back services. “It was apparent that the energy behind the start of Project Tariro could benefit the existing clientele of VCT, so the board voted to merge.” said Van Buren. Transitioning has taken a bit longer than expected, but a more robust program is imminent.
Project Tariro currently provides medical, emotional and spiritual support, nutritional guidance and gardening, and job skills training for income generation. The additional services that come with the merger include identification and assessment of children who can benefit from orphans and vulnerable children assistance, and more in-field testing and education. The added programs will require a greater level of support, but leaders feel confident that where need is coupled with faith, difficulties can be overcome.
To learn more about Project Tariro and find out how you can assist, contact Paul Van Buren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the story of Idah, currently a client at Project Tariro who walks five miles each way twice a week to come to Tariro for help and training.
Idah is married with three children. Her fourth child, Shepherd died at the age 10. Idah was once separated from her husband because he took another woman, after six years he came back and they were reunited. They were tested and found to be HIV positive. They accepted their status and are on antiretroviral drugs. Her children are 18, 14, and 1 year old. Her one-year-old son is also on the anti-retroviral drugs.
In a recent interview with Idah she stated:
“I learned about Tariro when I came to the mission hospital to get the drugs. The nurse told me that Project Tariro helps patients how to live with HIV. I received lessons on positive living and how to accept the condition.”
“At Tariro, David, the horticulturist, taught me about gardening, gave me seeds and herb plants. Now, I grow vegetables and herbs at home and can sustain myself.”
“My favorite project is sewing. I hope to acquire a sewing machine since I love sewing, so I can then sew at home and sell my items. I enjoy making children’s clothes.”
“I would like to thank the visitors who have come, especially the women who are teaching sewing. I have gained a lot and hope that Project Tariro continues. I hope sponsors continue to support the project. May God bless you.”
Interview taken by Debbie Gara and Carly Fiske,October 17, 2011
by Paul Van Buren, 11/9/11
No two mission trips are the same. This one was distinctly different. Ten of us met in Harare, overloaded with baggage full of sewing supplies, a sewing machine, items for health care kits, tools, a rabbit cage, enough bean seed to plant 20 gardens, and a lap top. Only Corinne’s bag with her clothes was missing.
Our welcome to Project Tariro was overwhelming. We were moved to tears by the warm greetings and songs of the clients. They
had prepared food, skits, and dances to show their appreciation for our support of the project. Over the next few days we found out why they felt so grateful. Three members of our team, Debbie Gara (caravan 05), Gregory Gross (caravan 09), and Carly Fiske, interviewed more than 25 clients to record their personal stories and how Tariro was giving them hope. Some of these stories will be posted on the website here. The next morning we were off early to tour the Imire Game Ranch on our way to LaRochelle B&B, Mutare, located in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. Simon Herring, manager, adopted us like royal guests and for the next 8 days we enjoyed Simon’s skills as an outstanding host and entertainer.
Concurrently, Darlene Robertson and Corinne Van Buren went in to Mutare to buy three hand operated sewing machines and fabric to accommodate the enlarged sewing classes. (The Project now has a total of 6 sewing machines.) They set about teaching clients how to make diapers, handbags, sanitary napkins, and clothes. It was a very rewarding experience for everyone.
After waiting a year to provide the Tariro project with clean water, we cheered the hoisting of a 1,200 gallon water tank up on a 12 foot stand and then connected water to the kitchen and toilet facilities. For the first time, potable water flowed from the taps! Other projects accomplished through the team were: laying firebrick at the cooking shed, setting up drip irrigation kits, and putting together the rabbit hutch and distributing clothes.
Between classes, our group toured Africa University, the Hilltop UMC children’s feeding program, afternoon trip to the Vumba (mountains) and the New Hope Retirement Home near Gatsi in the Nyanga valley. But best of all was the opportunity to visit five of the rural homes of Tariro clients and learn how they live and cope
Both Gregory and Dan Gara, board members of Friends of Project Tariro, attended the Tariro Board meeting with Paul and learned about the challenge of seeking funding in relation to the Old Mutare Hospital. We learned that the program of Tariro is on target with the needs of the country and is quickly gaining attention for making a difference for persons living with HIV. with the dire situation of a failed state, massive unemployment, and political violence.
Our group returned home filled with the Tariro ‘spirit’ from seeing lives being transformed. We were inspired with renewed hope and commitment to find support to sustain the cutting edge ministry of Project Tariro.
Only one of the eight men had been to Africa but all felt called to leave work and take a risk in sharing their faith in a unique way. The call came through an invitation to help convert an old building on a mission station in Zimbabwe into an AIDS clinic. They begin with the commitment to buy their own tickets and to meet weekly for prayer and trip orientation for two months. Next, they set a goal of raising $4,000 by holding a church dinner, an auction, a bowling tournament, donation cans in businesses, and a matching gift from the Mt. Juliet UMC mission fund. They also collected hand and garden tools, baskets of seeds, medicines, dental supplies, donations of clothes, several computers and other office supplies for their point of destination in Zimbabwe, Project Tariro. By the date of departure they had nearly one half ton of supplies and raised $8,000 for construction projects.
The purpose of the trip was primarily to bring hope to the HIV infected clients of Tariro (Shona word for Hope) and secondarily, to rehabilitate an old building at the Old Mutare Mission to serve as a clinic and training center for infected adults. Bringing hope meant visiting with clients, going to their homes, eating with them, singing with them, sharing medical supplies, helping them plant garden seeds and hearing their stories. Gil Pollard described this experience of sharing as a positive spirit with lots of laughter and the clients responding to this caring with singing and happiness. It was truly a movement of resurrected Hope that came alive in their midst. Easter had come in an unexpected way.
The construction projects at the clinic meant working with a local contractor to put up shelving for storing drugs, erecting a water tank, attaching rain gutters, laying stone for parking vehicles, and building an outdoor cooking shed. The team stated that working in a different cultural setting, under hot weather, without ordinary mechanical tools to carry brick, move stone and cut wood proved to be a challenge. But the work projects were all completed on time allowing the team to visit and deliver clothing, even their own shoes, to needy persons in Gatsi, a remote community in the mountains. Hector Benitez described the moment as “not a dry eye among us. I have never felt closer to what I imagine it was like for Jesus to wash the feet of others.”
Upon returning home, Bobby Naylor, VIM team leader, reported to the congregation that the trip was a life changing experience for the team and an eye opener to life in a police state and the poor living conditions in the rural communities around Old Mutare. Speaking about his experience David Haskett commented, “I thought I was going to see people dying from AIDS. Instead I saw people living with AIDS, and with hope.” Brett Karstens added, “And we hope they will continue living and their children will not become orphans.” One of every 4 children in Zimbabwe has lost parents due to AIDS and nearly one of every 5 adults is thought to be infected with HIV. Larry Price, who worked mostly in the garden with the project horticulturist, was adopted as “Dad” and continues the relationship through email.
Footnote: Project Tariro is an initiative of theUMCdiaconate in partnership with the Zimbabwe UMC and Africa University. The members of the VIM team were: Bobby Naylor, David Haskett, Brett Karstens, Steve Toler, Larry Price, Jim Lamberson, Hector Benitez, and Gil Pollard. The team members were trained by Rev. Paul Van Buren and anointed by Rev. Ron Brown.
Project Tariro graduates its first class of clients, July 22. Pictured are some of the clients harvesting and thrashing the sugar been crop under the direction of David Mandizvidzi, horticulturist for Project Tariro.
The six month training program for the clients has given them new skills in crafts, gardening, cooking and sewing, as well as how to cope with the stigma of HIV and AIDS, how to adhere to the schedule of medications, how to build up their immune systems with nutritious foods, and how to strengthen their faith through support groups. The program has given the clients hope of survival and training on how to live positively.