When planning this trip Jen and I had decided that we wanted to give back to the local community. I asked my colleague Lindsay who was from Zimbabwe for some help with this project. She put me in touch with her sisters friend Sue who is on the board of trustees for the Victoria Falls Children’s trust. The trust helps children in the local communities by providing the funds for school fees. AIDS and teenage pregnancy are still a big problem in this part of Africa and a lot of children stop going to school at a young age.
Sue met me at my hotel. We sat for a bit and discussed the tourism industry. I found out she also works as a local guide. After a bit we got in her car and she drove me around showing me the local schools that trust helps. I learned a lot of schools have what’s called hot seating. Most schools here have more kids enrolled than they have space for. So for part of the day some kids are inside in a traditional class room learning while others are being taught outside. Then later in the day they switch. It doesn’t sound too bad until you think of how it might be pouring rain out or +35 in the sun.
We talked about how all of the kids have school uniforms and how they like to wear them as it makes all of them feel the same to the other kids. Yet some kids will walk 4 miles to get to school with no shoes as to not wear down the shoes. They only wear them for important occasions.
We drove through some local areas and I saw some pre school age kids playing outside their homes. They would smile and wave as we went by. Everywhere I travel I love seeing local kids the most.
Sue and I talked about how people want to help but don’t know how to. If items are mailed into Zimbabwe the local charity ends up paying duty on the items. Or sometimes the only make it as far as Harare and then they need to organize transport out to the rural areas. They best way to offer support is by cash donation. She said they work with the rotary club and donations through them will make it to them. School fees in Victoria falls are only $40-$70 per semester so it doesn’t take much to help a child go to school.
This was one part of my trip where I kept my camera put away. I felt taking pictures was not appropriate.
At the end of our time together I gave Sue the school supplies Lucas and I picked out a long with the donation Lindsay sent as well as the one Jen and I gave. She was very thankful for everything we gave her and said she would let me know where the supplies ended up. Our donation wasn’t huge but we know it will help. Sometimes a little can go a long way…