Mike and Marian Myers report back after a day spent at school! The schools bordering the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe are working on a number of projects and have already made great progress…
We were looking for MX. He is the coordinator for all the work done via the Wilderness Trust and Children in the Wilderness. The first school we arrived at was Ngamo Primary, but he was not there and we pushed on to Ziga Primary. As our party arrived, both MX and Mr Ncube, the school principal, arrived to greet us. Looking around, the grounds looked very well kept and the green summer carpet made the school look lush and beautiful.
After a short introduction, and some discussion, we had a tour of the school to explain the various projects to us. All information on the activities of the Trust can be found at the link www.wildernesstrust.com. However, since our last visit, which was over a year ago, we wanted to see if we could work out the latest improvements and additions. The first thing that struck me was the solar panels on the library roof, as well as a further stand-alone solar bank of panels. A new borehole had been installed, that did not function last year, and has only recently been repaired and brought into working condition.
This is good news, because with the impending drought, food shortages are to be expected, and in response to that a potato project has begun. This will only yield results in three months’ time on the back of a good water supply. Other projects they had planned for last year have not matured in the absence of water, but they are still in progress. Via the Children in the Wilderness Eco-clubs, club members have planted indigenous trees in the grounds with a view to making more shade for the hotter months.
The community had to rebuild the ablution facilities, and so they got going making bricks, however, that was not as easy as anticipated. The initial bricks were not solid enough and just crumbled which lead to their having to enlist the support of a professional who taught them how to get the mixture right to ensure that the bricks were solid and long-lasting. Now the community are on track to get the ablution project finished within the next couple of weeks.
The new school library is a remarkable project that has come to fruition on the back of donations from various sources including the Wilderness Trust and guests. The books are not only used in the school context, they are also borrowed to be indulged in during spare time. A strict record is kept in place that ensures the process is carefully monitored.
At the end of our tour, a determined clang reverberated through the school grounds. A very young pupil was the designated bell-ringer – a very important job indeed. The bell is a long piece of metal that hangs from the branch of a tree, right on the perimeter of the property. With great skill and force, a double-handed grip welded the stick from low down, with momentum to strike the sweet spot of the gong, freeing the vibration to carry its message where it need to be delivered. Not only did it herald the end of a wonderful morning spent with MX, Mr Ncube and the wonderful teachers and children, it also let the younger classes out for a much anticipated classroom break.
Written by Marian Myers
Photographed by Mike Myers