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.
When traveling with Vantage Travel in Africa, part of your packed itineary 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.
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.
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.
Stay adventurous, Craig