Back to School in Zimbabwe

In a country where a $50,000,000,000,000 dollar bill might get you $1 USD from a tourist (only for a souvenir, the currency is worthless) and unemployment reaching 90% in some areas, the future might seem bleak. In fact most tourists don’t seem to travel anywhere outside the Victoria Falls area along the Mighty Zambezi for safety concerns. Zimbabwe might be considered a country with little hope. But one stop on my travels changed my mind.

walking in to the school...

When traveling with Vantage Travel in Africa, part of your packed itinerary involves a cultural connection. A chance to visit local communities and interact.  And in fact, whether in Africa, Asia, or the Americas, the company works with the local communities and makes a difference.

In Zimbabwe – it was a visit to the Chinotimba Primary School.

a class meets outside...

After our arrival, we were warmly received by students with song and dance. Local customs proudly remain on curriculum. Also, the students learn in both their local language and English. This enabled it much easier to converse. We learned about their life and they asked abut ours in an structured Q&A session. Then afterwards, its free time – we walked around and visited other classrooms and library (donated by Vantage and tourists) to talk with the students. We even had the opportunity to donate supplies or funds to the school directly. Most, if not all, did.

ah, so glad to see Brittney in school....

But the joy for me was watching the children. You see the shy smiles and the joy in their soul. You see surprising western influences and the pride when they show their workbooks. You see kids being kids. You see kids being happy. A future does exist for the country in the kids of this community and places like it.

As the bus pulled away, I stared out the window. My thoughts reflected about my good fortunes in life. From my education to my life as an American. I am very thankful.  But I smiled, there I was on the adventure of a lifetime across Africa, and all I really searched for and wanted at that moment – to be as happy as those kids. And feeling that, I know there is hope for Zimbabwe.

a student shows off his work with pride...

Stay adventurous, Craig

This post is part of the All Africa – All August Special Series.

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  • Amber DeGrace

    I loved this post. This is exactly the type of traveling I want to raise my kids around. I want them to know from early on the importance of contributing to the world around them, at home and at large. We are heading to Las Galeras, one of the most remote locations in Dominican Republic for my daughter, Lotus’, 1st bday this year. We’re taking down coloring books, notebooks, crayons and other school supplies down to hand out to the local kids. I can’t wait to see my 2-year old experiencing this!

    I’ll have to check out Vantage Travel.

    Thanks for the great post.

    Amber (_ink_mama)

    • stayadventurous

      Amber, glad you enjoyed the post and plan to teach your children with travel. That is something my parents did for me (and not just when I was young – they helped on this trip too).

      As for Vantage, they did seem to cater to a more mature audience – well that demographic definitely has the $ and time to take an extended African adventure.

      Again, thanks for the comment.

      stay adventurous, Craig

  • Emjay

    I truly was an awesome day, Craig. The kids outside the room where we were being entertained were just as envolved in the music and dance as the older ones inside. What an opportunity for us as well as for these kids!

  • Bharat Parihar

    Hi. Craig. I remember those notebooks from my school days in Kenya. And the tick (check) marks. :-)

  • Kirsten

    It’s possible you saved the best Africa post for the last. Though it was a great month and a great peek inside Africa, this post in particular really moved me.

    • stayadventurous

      Well, I am a “Z” so alphabetically speaking, I might think the last is the best…. glad you enjoyed the peak. More to come over the future months. So much more to say about my African Adventures.

      stay adventurous, Craig