I am so glad to be able to share this experience with you. Thank you for taking the time to log in and log on for updates of my travels to Zimbabwe. I depart from LAX on July 5th with Todd Puchalski, my boyfriend and NAP photographer, and attempt to check over 100lbs of nutritional supplements donated by DSD International/Biotics Research. This amazing company was gracious enough to donate custom made multivitamins just for our village and we will be handing them out at the various wellness clinics in July. Our agenda is pack full of exciting events, so stay tuned! Feel free to share this blog with all of your friends as we journey halfway across the world. Your support and enthusiasm will be felt and the villagers will be excited to know their story is being shared by many.
It’s hard to imagine the desperation in Zimbabwe today, unless you’ve been there. Toilet paper is worth more than the paper money, a loaf of bread costs around 50 billion Zimbabwe dollars, and a typical meal at the local eatery can cost around $10 US. Annual inflation has been estimated at over 150,000, those who haven’t fled the country face 80% unemployment and 75% are living in poverty. The Ndebele Art Project Africa is a 501c3 non-profit organization formed to address the urgent needs of African artists and villagers in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The ravages of AIDS, malaria, TB and long-standing political instability in the region has left these villagers unemployed and destitute. HIV alone threatens to destroy a once thriving culture and devastating to a generation so critical to the future of the world.
NAP Africa is dedicated to sustaining the lives and preserving the artistry and culture of these villagers with a long-term commitment to environmental sustainability, the support of tribal self-sufficiency and the immediate provisions of food, healthcare, education and other services. It is the ultimate goal to help ensure a future of hope and possibility and to return this village to a thriving community who share talents with the world.
Since 2004, art exporters have deserted the area. In 2005, tourists deserted the area. By 2006 the continuing health crisis took an ever-increasing toll. In 2007 the escalating food crisis caused by a 2200% inflation rate has created additional survival issues. Local artists that remain are joined by a growing number of vulnerable women and children who have little means of support. It is the children and elderly in these villages that are most vulnerable and NAP Africa is dedicated to make a difference, yet we are facing a crisis.
Mission 2010: On July 5th, 2010, we are scheduled to travel to Zimbabwe and continue their efforts in creating a sustainable and thriving environment within the Jabulani Village of Victoria Falls.
Dr. Wendy Norman is a holistic healer and chiropractor from Orange County and has been involved with NAP Africa for three years. Since her involvement, Dr. Wendy has effectively introduced the use of alternative medicine and nutrition as a supplemental solution to the dismal availability for medical care in Zimbabwe. In 2008, Dr. Wendy and NAP Africa were successful in delivering over ONE TON worth of nutritional supplements and medical supplies to the NEW Jabulani Wellness Center and continues to bring these supplies each year. She has facilitated a structure to service hundreds of women, children, and men through medial/wellness clinics and by teaching educational classes on hygiene, nutrition, and common diseases.
For more information on Dr. Wendy Norman – http://www.bodyelectrictoday.com
Todd Puchalski is an Orange County based professional photographer whose images are used to raise awareness of global hardships and to bring understanding of the worldly struggles on our planet. His artistic and unique images ignite hope through a unique display of beauty in life and nature. In 2009, Todd traveled to Zimbabwe and successfully documented hundreds of Jabulani villagers, medical patients, and life in the village. He also participated in the first ever health education classes and provided NAP Africa with tools to educate and inspire through his photographic talent. Todd’s mission in 2010 will include tasks of illustrating key people and places of focus as well as assist in numerous ongoing projects on the ground.
Todd Puchalski Photographix – http://www.tpphotographix.com
Together, Todd and Dr. Wendy have the mission of hosting an eight day medical clinic in Zimbabwe, meeting with UNICEF members in attempts to set up a mobile HIV clinic, meet local hospital officials with the intention of providing medical support for the rural villagers, and to document the continuing struggles of one of the poorest countries in the world. They will also follow up on ongoing projects like the construction of a new community garden, the windmill project for obtaining clean water, the progress of the Jabulani Preschool and secondary school, and to asses and encourage new projects like the village chicken run.
Working with NAP Africa is completely a volunteer position and each traveler is solely responsible for funding his/her trip and travel expenses. It is essential to obtain involvement of local donors and sponsors in support of such mission trips, especially when many are merely struggling to survive. You don’t have to go to Africa to make a global impact, just become involved and help others on the ground. A small effort can go a long way in providing what we all deserve as human beings – access to medical care, nutritious food, clean water, and shelter.
To find out more about the Ndebele Art Project, log onto http://www.napafrica.org