The shrill chant of children's voices echoes starkly in the fridge like classroom, the maps and colorful drawings plastered on the rooms’ walls are barely visible in the darkness. With barely enough light to see their material, 3 groups of children huddle around cheap, dim solar lanterns reciting mock test answers in preparation for their upcoming grade 7 exams.
Swathed in warm clothes and a beanie to ward off the bone chilling cold is the leader of this inspiring scene, Fuyana Tshatiwa, grade 7 teacher at Ngamo Primary School near Hwange’s National Park’s southern boundary. Entirely of her own accord and at her cost Fuyana is coaching 14 members of the grade 7 class every evening for several hours. The bitterly cold nights, worsened by the unheated concrete classroom and the lack of decent lighting are no deterrent to this inspiring teacher, who has already had a full day’s work at the school.
Tonight, as she inspires me and the few visitors who are with me in the classroom she is more upbeat than ever, buoyed on by the fact that the school has just received a donation of a 5Kva diesel generator, which brings the promise of decent lighting and thus easier learning.
The generator was donated by a selfless visitor inspired by the amazing work the teachers are doing at Ngamo Primary School, crucially, this visitor was a tourist on holiday in Hwange National park with Imvelo Safari Lodges and had visited the school as part of a community activity. With the support generated by tourism operations like Imvelo and Wilderness Safaris the Ngamo community have stepped up to the plate and are thriving, all thanks to tourism dollars.
For me personally this visit was an amazingly inspirational experience and a reminder that despite the current doom and gloom attitude in Zimbabwe everyday people continue to do amazing things in their communities. Fuyana braves the cold and the dark not because it benefits her but because she is selflessly committed to the enrichment and development of her grade 7 students, something we should all take note of.
As a photojournalist I am privileged to often find myself witnessing inspiring people doing amazing things, but will shamefully admit that I do not know whats going on in my own community back at home. Like Fuyana, I am sure there are selfless people doing inspirational things just round the corner from where I live, so I am going to find out and support them however I can, after all, isn't that how thriving communities are built?