The Coles family were on their last night at Somalisa Camp in Hwange National when we met up with them at the tail-end of a 10 day Safari. They had asked Monika from The Safari Source, their booking agent for a traditional experience in a village – and so, not being known for doing things by halves, that is what they were about to get.
We spent the day visiting the various projects of the African Bush Camps Foundation, starting with a very energetic performance of the Main Camp Primary School Marimba band with outstanding singing and dancing by the children.
We proceeded to the Dete projects of the Thandanani Sewing Project and the Vukani Project where the family observed how the beads are made and jewelry is put together and they had the chance to chat to the groups about how they operate and three years on are still running as successful projects.
Then it was time for the long and bumpy drive to Mambanje – one puncture later we made it to this remote and beautiful place and again were welcomed with singing and dancing from the Mambanje Primary School students. After offloading and sorting through four huge bags of very generous donations from the Cole and their friends who had responded to the call for Mambanje, the neediest of the students were called first to choose a set of clothes and a pair of shoes – most of which looked to be next to new, unbelievable for most of these students.
Dusk was almost upon us and so we traveled the 1 ½ km back to the homestead where we had been invited to spend the night. Our host was Mrs Nyoni, the mother of Cynthia Nyoni one of our high school Scholarship students.
We arrived in time to see the livestock returning from a day out roaming the fields and to sample some fresh cucumbers from the fields. Dinner was a traditional meal of a local dish of Sadza and beef stew, prepared over the fire and enjoyed with everyone gathered around the fire.
Even the glorious wonders of the night skies could not keep us up for long and as is usual for the rural areas with no access to running water or electricity, we turned in soon after dinner. The first roosters crowed before dawn and the homestead was up and about before sunrise, making the most of the cool morning. After a breakfast of mealie meal (corn Maize) porridge, we were offered an abundance of fresh produce from the fields before it was time to say goodbye to new friends who by inviting us into their home had become like family.
A huge thank you for the memorable time with the Cole family, all of their friends who assisted with the incredibly generous donations for the children and the school, The Safari Source for arranging the trip and the Nyoni family for hosting us all.
To see more on what we did on this village visit, please visit the Photograph Album on our Facebook page