November 16, 2015 – 5:50A
Looking out from the front porch of our “tent” at a beautiful sunrise over Hwange National Park. Temperatures are nice and cool. Enjoying all the sounds of nature surrounding me and feeling very privileged. I slept like a log last night. Heading to breakfast soon. I have a feeling today’s visit to the “homestead” and the elementary school will be eye-opening.
Back at Tent 9. What an enlightening day for learning and discovering. Our jeep drive from Kashawe camp to the Hwange National Park boom gate entrance is 45 minute and from there to “Hwangetown” was maybe another 25 (by minibus).
First, we stopped at an open-air market to look around at the wares the local people were selling. Most of the stuff was items you’d find at a hardware store along with cooking utensils, cleaning supplies, produce, spices, dry beans and nuts.
After browsing around for about a half hour, we got back on the bus and drove to a local supermarket called OK Market. There, we donated $5 to Vitals for him to purchase groceries and cleaning supplies for the family at the “homestead” we were about to visit. Browsing through the OK supermarket was a learning and discovery experience in and of itself. The store was clean and very well-organized. There was a variety of grocery items along with a section of cooking supplies, hygiene products, cleaning supplies, paper products, etc. Everything was arranged on the shelves in a neat and orderly fashion and each aisle was clearly labeled overhead with the category of products it held.
I bought a $1.00 packet of oxtail soup dry powder. I thought this would be an interesting thing to take home and cook for Aaron. I also bought some pre-packaged chocolate chip cookies (brand name Charhons) to try. I ate two and gave the rest to a family of three sitting outside the store. Their baby was so adorable and smiled at me when I handed him a cookie.
Then we got back on the bus to head for the hosting homestead in the Lukosa village. On the ride there, Vitalis taught us the words “Chi-ni” (which means “Greetings”) and “Ta Boca” (which means Thank You in the Shona language. Vitalis explained all about his native language of Shona. He said the alphabet is the same letters as ours expect they don’t have the letters X or L. Their vowels are the same 5 vowels as ours but pronounced the same as they do in Mexico. Words of the Shona language are very basic and easy to sound out as everything is pronounced just as it looks on paper. Vitalis joked about how difficult it was for him to learn the English language. He asked us why certain words were pronounced nothing like they are spelled. We all couldn’t help but laugh in agreement as he gave some examples. One example he used was the word “cafe.” He asked: “If the word ‘cave’ is pronounced ‘k-ayve’ then why is the word ‘cafe’ pronounced ‘ka-fay’?” That’s when Nora shouted out: “Blame the French for that one!” Haha!
Next, Vitalis asked us: “If the plural version of ‘tooth’ is ‘teeth’ and the when you have more than one ‘goose’ you have ‘geese’ then why if you have more then one ‘booth’ you don’t say ‘beeth’?” We all laughed hysterically at that one.
As we neared the village, we saw a couple of women carrying baskets on top of their heads. Very cool.
There are a total of 500 homesteads within the village of Lukosa. The homestead that hosted us today was very simple. There were a few small structures made of mud from termite mounds with thatched roofs, a chicken coop and corn and grain silo made of sticks and a small outhouse made of cement blocks.
We were immediately greeted by the family who were all very friendly. There were six women, an older gentleman (the “headman”) and a boy in his twenties. The school-aged kids were all in school but there were four 3 and 4-year-old boys. One of our OAT pre-trip letters had suggested bringing something customary of your home state to share with the people at the homestead. I brought a small pack of Ohio State Buckeye candies. I handed them to one of the women. She showed her son who was standing beside her and a big smile came across his little face. It was adorable. I loved it.
The family invited us into a structure called the “summer kitchen.” They said it would be nice and cool in there. We all filed inside and sat along the built-in bench that aligned most of the interior wall. The women and children all sat on a grass mat on the ground. In the center was a long wooden table. The boy in his twenties did most of the talking and then another boy (also in his twenties) came and took over the lecture. Both of them spoke very good English.
I’m heading out now for our evening game drive. I will write more tonight before bed.