EKUTHULENI Report No. 1 ZIM 2018 – the new training course has started !

Nqobizita, Sipho, Ntobeko, Nkosi, Effort, Wise, Alan and Michael  
–  our brandnew Ekuthuleni trainees 2018 !

Second lady in the picture is Mrs. Zulu. As part of her work-experience in the theology studies she will train the guys up to September once a week in bible studies, English and housekeeping.

the trainees will present themselves within the next months on our homepage.

Since the training course started beginning February the tool boxes have been renovated,

we informed us all about safety precautions, have built a cooking box and learned how to prepare rice by using the box – and in our courses we have gone through the basics of our new tools.

the kitchen garden was rearranged and we get known each other much better in several team-building activities.

we look forward to a good teamwork, cooperation, we are curious about new experiences and interesting leanring projects.

trainees in the actual course: Leader Dube

Leader Dube is 19 and lived in rural Gwanda near Manama Mission about 180 km from Bulawayo until he came to start his carpentry training at Ekuthuleni.

Leader was kind enough to demonstrate to us the current African footwear fashion.
Most days a lot of people walk barefooted. This is suitable for all weather conditions. Work in the fields is also often done without shoes, as it is easier to clean the feet than the shoes.

1.Leader in the garden

In the workshop we encourage the students to wear shoes but often these consist of the so called pata pata (flip flop) sandals.

2.pata pata

Closed smart shoes are worn for special occasions, like going to church on Sundays, attending a wedding or visiting town.


Talking to Leader about his plans for the future he says: “I want to start my own business, but I have to work hard first and raise capital for my tools and equipment. The workshop that I want to start will be at home in Gwanda, where people have a need for furniture like beds, wardrobes, tables, chairs and even coffins. I want to work with other young people and train them”

In his spare time Leader enjoys playing soccer – barefooted

About what he had learned at Ekuthuleni he mentions “teamwork” As his name suggests, and as we have already noticed during his time at Ekuthuleni, Leader is indeed a good teamworker with leadership qualities.


We are confident that he will be able to use his skills and follow his vision of starting his own workshop / business. With or without shoes he will make his way in life.

trainees in the actual course: Berlin Philani Ncube

Berlin Philani Ncube is the oldest of 5 children born and raised in Worringham on a small plot near Bulawayo.

His mother works in a vegetable shop, and his father is a painter. The family grows maize and raises chickens.

Berlin originally had the idea of becoming an electrician, but heard about the carpentry course at Ekuthuleni from a neighbour. So he visited us and then decided to apply. He so far enjoys his work with wood a lot and is thinking about all the products he can make later on, for his own house and also for sale.

When asked about what new things he has learned while at Ekuthuleni that might help him in future he mentions: “getting up early” to work in the garden and do other chores. He says in Zimbabwe one has to use time wisely and make the most of it in order to survive the hard economic situation.


Berlin is a good student, here he is seen working on a technical drawing

Putting that knowledge into practise Berlin has invested his recent holidays and pocket money that he raised by doing odd jobs for neighbours and therefore managed to get his drivers license.

2.Berlin trying to untangle himself from a Gordic Knot

Berlin has untangled a clearer business vision for carpentry, developed at Ekuthuleni so far.

our trainees 2016 – report after 9 months

Eku Trainees 2016

Our Trainees of this year are great – nothing else to say. Although most of of them have quite some difficulties with the English language, I enjoy the lessons really a lot. And I love to find extras to make the lessones much more interesting for them.

no3_berlin-beim-basteln-mit-schnurno4_bilderrahmendekorationsideen-1The guys appreciate watching YouTube videos to the actual subjects of the lessons; e.g. how trees get felled, how a saw mill is working, how to cooper barrels or to see how paper is manufactured. In the last weeks we have also made up our own minds about various materials, forms and methods to produce fancy decorations for picture frames.


no1_der-garten-man-sieht-wie-trocken-es-istOur kitchen garden
benefit a lot of the new method introduced “Each owns 2 beds” but the pictures show also how dry the soil is due to less rain this year.







no2_das-klassenzimmer-mit-selbstgebauten-schultischenJohn did a lot effort with his activities with our trainees. In the first run they assembled the second gate for the training unit in May. As a next project they worked together to produce new benches for the classroom: they welded new metal frames and built the bench tops.





In July Mishack, John and the trainees Nkosi and Legal have been on a “mission special school fee” in Lupane.  The family of Nkosi called and informed us “the cow is ready for collection” (so to say: school fee at a total value of 400 $). As Mishack and John, like almost all men in Zim get attracted by “cow-stories” the took over the “case”. Interested buyers were identified which wanted to have meat for around 200 $. They guys drove to Lupane packed with freezers and the family of Nkosi welcome them hearty. Especially Gogo, Nkosis grandmother was so greatful about Nkosis chance to make the apprenticeship as a carpenter – so a lot tears of joy were sheded. Now Legals special knowledge how to butcher cows and how to skin it (he has an official licence to do so) came into force. Together with friends and neighbors all work was finally executed. For Dinner Sadza and the goodies of each slaughter were served. Around 9 pm everything was packed and the return journey to Bulawayo started.  Why this cloak-and-dagger action? First to use the chill of the night and to avoid police controls at daytime. Next morning the big parts were cut by a butcher with his big band-saw. John and Mishack prepared 2 kg portions and distributed the “goods” — and for the next 2 1/2 months our freezer was filled with  “Nyama”!

Right before the summer break in August I asked the guys what they liked most in the first months of their trainee time. Prince pointed out that he could not imagine cooking rice in a cooking box (bring 1 bow of rice and 2 bowls of water with a bit salt to the boil – and put the pot in a box stuffed with blankets – after 30 minutes the rice is ready – and never burnt). Prince explained he want to demonstrate this method at home. For the question, what could be optimized in trainee lessons the suggestion came up to reduce the homework in writing down form schoolbooks. They want to read together in the lessons and discuss about. The suggestion was qualified – although we made very good experience in the past with other trainees by “reading English and write it down”.

Each group is different and we appreciate that the guys are very open and make suggestions and bring their own ideas. In return they work very docile in all upcoming projects although if it’s about a new cesspool of 4m x 3m and 2 m deep…….. some of the trainees in the past had such work as a kind of imposition, now the actuals get rewarded with a candy.

Oct.2016 Helga Landsmann