Early on Saturday morning, the children of Mambanje are up early at school to receive their T-shirts for the Fundraising walk and to walk the 7 km from the School to where the bus is picking them up. The road to Mambanje is inaccessible for vehicles without 4 x 4 due to its bad condition. This being the entire reason for the Fundraising event.
Emmanuel Rabeka who is on the High School scholarship program, was there to help Derick Phiri and the other teachers and parents with the children. It will be his, and many of the other people of Mambanje’s first time to travel to Victoria Falls, what a great adventure as well as important fundraising event for the community.
It’s all smiles on every child’s face in anticipation and the enthusiasm is high to reach their final destination – the great mighty Zambezi River.
At Marist all the children and Supervisors eagerly climbed onto the Mosi Oa Tunya High School bus and traveled to the starting point of their walk, the bridge over Masuwe River outside Victoria Falls town. Smilo Mabhena who has been an integral part in the organization of the Fundraiser was there with Denzel Sofula from Somalisa camp to welcome the walkers. They disembarked and with singing and excited voices permeating the morning air the Mambanje School Children, Teachers, Parents and Community Leaders set off. Many vehicles stopped and gave the children the right of way and took photographs of the happy faces.
They completed the walk in good time, and received a packed lunch that had been organized by the ladies of Safari Logistics Viola & Caroline. For many of the children it was their first time tasting a Beef Burger. After filling their tummies the children split into two groups and visited the Crocodile Farm and went on a boat cruise on the Zambezi River, swopping after an hour so that all the children were able to experience these fantastic new adventures. It was the first time for 90% of the people there to go on a boat.
At the crocodile farm they saw a 75 year old crocodile, 3 lions and many other crocodiles. They were given the chance to hold some baby crocodiles, which all the adults refused, but the children were keen to absorb every aspect of their day and enjoyed holding the crocodiles for pictures.
Cruising along the river on the Pamusha boat started off quietly, as the children were slightly nervous on this new mode of transport. As they relaxed the chitter chatter of thrilled voices could be heard and they all listened to the instructions of the Boats captain and behaved wonderfully.
Next they all met up again and went to the National Park Entrance to the Victoria Falls, or locally known as Mosi-Oa-Tunya, the smoke that thunders. George and Robert from Love for Africa conducted the tour and told the children all they needed to know about the Falls that are one of the Natural Wonders of the World. All the eyes were wide open in amazement and they loved getting wet in the mist that is formed by the spray of the water flowing over the falls.
After the tour they went to Chambondo Primary School where they were going to have dinner and spend the night. A hearty meal was had and a wonderful day was completed with Ice Cream in Cones, another first for all the children.
That evening in the hall where the children slept, not even a mouse could be heard as every young head lay sleeping and dreaming of all the new experiences of the eventful day.
In the words of the Mambanje Community;
“Our hearts go to the Cole family for giving our school such a great opportunity to have such a wonderful adventure, no words can amount to the great experience that our children experienced. Thank you Samantha Cole may the grace of the Almighty be with you.”
We would like to thank Viola, Caroline & Nathan of Safari Logistics for all their hard, behind the scenes organizing, Jonothan Hudson of Victoria Falls Safari Lodge for your generous donations, Blessing Munyenyiwa and your team from Love for Africa for your help and doing the tour of the falls for the Mambanje group, Hudson from Rotary Victoria Falls for donations, Sima from Rose of Charity for cooking the dinner, Wadzi & Edith for snacks donated, Pamusha Cruises for a wonderful experience for the Children, & the team at The Victoria Falls Crocodile Farm.
Thanks go to, Denzel from Somalisa camp who on his off-days traveled to Victoria Falls to be a part of this event, walk the walk, and assisted where ever needed. And last but definitely not least, the Foundation thanks Smilo who helped in all aspects of the day from planning, to finding donors, doing the walk, and organizing all aspects of the day. Without these wonderful team members it would not have been such a huge success.
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