UWTSD Anthropology students in Zimbabwe
The blog below was written by one of our Anthropology students, Lucinda:
Hello! I’m Lucinda Walker, a second year anthropology student.
I am writing about an excellent cultural exchange trip to Zimbabwe. I went in January 2016 with 6 other Anthropology students to Chinamhora Village. We went with a charity called Love Zimbabwe, they are a non-governmental charity who help people in Zimbabwe, because we love Zimbabwe! Dave and Martha Holman are the trip organisers, they are amazing, inspirational people.
Upon arriving in Zimbabwe we were greeted as soon as we got off the plane with wonderful dancing, singing and playing of drums. This was a mind-blowing introduction to the Zimbabwean culture. I have never had such an amazing welcome! My first thought was that it was a vibrant and friendly place. This was my first time in Africa and it certainly did not disappoint! I found it fascinating driving through Harare to Chinamhora village. Everyone was waving at us and shouting ‘Makadii’ (meaning hello)! Arriving at the village was unreal. I have never experienced anything like it before, they have nothing yet are the happiest and most joyful people I have ever met! – It was astounding! And shocked me greatly.
It was both remarkable and interesting to learn about how they understand the world- this is very different from my own understanding. – having lively debates enabled us to view different concepts and ideas through a new perspective! This developed our own thinking, helping us to grow as individuals and increase our knowledge as Anthropologists!
Apart from the heat, no electricity and cold showers (which were actually rather amazing in 40-degree weather!) one thing that took me a while to get used to was eating with our hands! In Zimbabwe, it is the ‘norm’ to eat with your hands, which is very different to how I was brought up. I also washed my hair with leaves which were picked on a large hill behind our huts. Even though I took shampoo, ‘Kold Feso’ leaves made my hair so soft! They are great!
We dug foundations and collected bricks for a new learning centre for the community!
We completed community outreach work, this included; Teaching, helping at the local clinic, cleaning houses, gardening, painting and we even polished the floor with leaves! Whilst we were cleaning out someone’s house we were also looking for various animals because we did not know what to expect! Then my foot fell into a huge hole as she didn’t have a proper floor! I think I can safely say that we were in awe, we had never seen anything so shocking before.
Visiting Dombashowa caves was astonishing because the cave art was in such good condition. One of the villagers, Clato knows the caves incredibly well so he took us to see cave art which even the museum doesn’t know about, he ended up giving the tour guide a tour! At the end of the trip we went on a Safari at Lake Chivero. – A wonderful way to end the trip!
This is just a snap shot of our jam-packed three weeks in Africa! I think what made this trip so special and a once-in-a-lifetime experience was that Martha and Dave took us to places where tourists ordinarily would not go. I have not been back long and miss Africa and the lifestyle so much. I am already planning to go back in August for my dissertation to live with the community again. I think this trip is so important for many reasons but mainly because it is life changing! – It has definitely changed my life!
Thank you for reading!