Learning mbira Nhemamusasa (nay-mum-sah-sah): among the oldest songs in the mbira repertoire of Zimbabwe, it means "temporary shelter". Nhemamusasa encourages a sense of repose among the vicissitudes of life.

North: "Were you ever out in the Great Alone, when the moon was awful clear,
And the icy mountains hemmed you in with a silence you most could hear;
... While high overhead, green, yellow, and red, the North Lights swept in bars?--
Then you've a hunch what the music meant . . .(a) hunger and night and the stars."
-Robert Service

Learning marimba

We welcome you to join us at Nhemamusasa North, a very special opportunity to gather together in community and immerse yourself in the music and culture of Zimbabwe.

"It was the highlight of my summer. I loved the 'feel' of the event: camping out, eating communally, having workshops under the trees, talking with the fabulous Zimbabwean musicians about their lives. Great!" D. P.

Drum class

We will once again be gathering at O.U.R. Ecovillage on Vancouver Island, a sustainable learning centre and demonstration site about 50 minutes north of Victoria near Shawnigan Lake. There we will come together over five days to share in the deep and nourishing musical and cultural traditions of Zimbabwe.

"Something that I can only describe as magical. This year I learned parts to four new mbira tunes, and sang more than I ever have in my entire life. I'm already looking forward to next year." G.M.

marimba jam

Nhemamusasa North offers daily workshops in marimba, mbira, hosho, dance, drumming and singing at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. (For a sense of how Nhemamusasa North's daily activities are structured, view the 2006 schedule)

Learning dance

Stay tuned - we'll be announcing our guest artists when registration opens next spring!

"It was truly an inspiring time, my head is still spinning!!" W.S.

Meals and Accomodation


Camping is the main accommodation at the Ecovillage. Coastal weather is always variable, so please be sure to bring an all-weather tent and sleeping gear. Hot water and bathing facilities are available. A limited number of on-site dorm style and private rooms are available at an additional fee - contact us for availability and pricing. There are also private rooms, motels and B and B's available in the nearby communities of Shawnigan Lake, Mill Bay, and Cobble Hill. Contact us for a list of off-site accommodation possibilities. Three delicious meals a day will be provided, with plenty of vegetarian options. We can accommodate some special dietary needs; please contact us for more information.

O.U.R. Ecovillage

The Sanctuary at O.U.R. EcovillageO.U.R. ECOVILLAGE is a sustainable learning centre and demonstration site which focuses on ecological ways of living involving permaculture design. "We are dedicated to researching and modeling ways that are rooted in social, cultural, spiritual, economic and ecological well-being."

O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE acts as a bridge between the rural and urban experience. They offer a protected green space and a healthy, supportive community learning environment for residents, participants in programs, and the wider local and global communities. As well, they actively create partnerships with groups and organizations from all walks of life who are interested in living in community and living lightly on the earth.

Quw'utsun'/Cowichan Valley

Cowichan ValleyQuw'utsun', or the Cowichan Valley is known as The Warm Land by the Quw'utsun'(Coast Salish) peoples, who have inhabited these lands for 10,000 years.

Here rich farmland, old growth and successive forests, rivers, mountains and ocean mingle in Canada's only Maritime Mediterranean climactic zone.

The nearby village of Shawnigan Lake contains various stores and restaurants, and several beaches and parks. The Village is a well-known venue for arts and craft shows, and hosts a small but excellent museum.

The Cowichan River, a provincial Heritage River flowing 47 km. from Lake Cowichan to a large ocean estuary at Cowichan Bay, is known for it's river tubing. Float for hours on it's gentle current past fields and forest (inflatable tubes available for sale in Duncan). There is also a 20 km. hiking trail along the riverbank. For further hiking or biking the Trans-Canada Trail, featuring the magnificent Kinsol Trestle, runs through the valley, and Mt Tzouhalem and Maple Mountain offer a vast network of mountain bike trails.

The valley is also home to a cidery and a dozen wineries (tours available), as well as farm markets and many and varied artisans.

Getting to Nhemamusasa North


O.U.R. Ecovillage is located on southern Vancouver Island, a 50 minute drive north-west of Victoria on the Trans-Canada highway.

From Victoria:

From Duncan/Nanaimo:


Useful contacts:

Ferries to Victoria:

From Victoria/Nanaimo to Mill Bay:

Pick-up from Mill Bay can be arranged with prior notice.


For more information or call 250-737-1331.