Read this beautiful report on a Community visit to Ngamo Primary School, written by Joe Hanly – Camp Manager at Linkwasha Camp in Hwange, Zimbabwe:
It was break time when we arrived. Under the shade of the magnificent Camelthorn tree, some of the children huddled. Others raced around after a soccer ball, barefoot and in the hot sand. Everything came to halt when the vehicles pulled up to the gate, and some of the children rushed to greet their visitors.
A group of business leaders from USA staying at Linkwasha Camp, had been taking part in a leadership course. For many of them, this was their first trip to Africa, and a short visit to Ngamo Primary School in the heart of rural Zimbabwe would provide a small window into Zimbabwean life and culture. Here, under the great Camelthorn tree they had their first glimpse. A spirited rendition of Shosholoza broke the ice.
A tour of the school for the visitors demonstrated the small projects taking place at the school, adding huge value to the quality of life of the students. The solar pump and holding tanks means that there is enough clean running water supplied to the school. In the kitchen, parents cook a meal for the school children every day and the vegetables growing in the school garden provide added nutrition to their diets.
Over an ice-cold cup of juice and some biscuits, the Grade 6’s chatted to their international visitors, discovering interesting things about their way of life in America. The guests also found out about the children, learning about their dreams and aspirations. They were surprised to see that the lesson for that day was about online bullying, a topic that has become important all across the world. Despite the Atlantic Ocean separating these two worlds, there were a lot of similarities between what is being taught at Ngamo, and in America.
At the end of the day there was much for the international visitors to reflect on, and lots to discuss. The chalk boards brought back memories of their school days, as did the hard, wooden benches. There was no escaping the hardships that these children in remote rural areas of Africa must endure but in spite of these hardships, a boundless school spirit burned brightly, and enthusiasm rang louder than the steel gong that brought an end to the lesson.
Though these two groups may be worlds apart, there is a common thread that runs as deep as the roots of the Camelthorn tree in the car park at Ngamo Primary School. It takes a visit to the school to awaken them.