We arrived at camp Chenziwa, in the Bvumba Mountains, on what would be described as a cold winter’s night by the national volunteers, but by the UK volunteers as a warm summers night and we started to set up camp. Being in charge of a group of 22 children we knew we had more on our plate other than Sadza, but it was nothing that we as Team Shumba couldn’t handle!

Spirits were high on the journey down, with the UK volunteers singing and dancing along to the Zim-dancehall and South African House music, much to the surprise of the children. Whilst still light the kids, with the help of the volunteers, set up their tents and collected firewood so that we could start cooking dinner. Dinner was prepared with help from the children by both the national and the UK volunteers, with UK volunteer Arran making a surprisingly good Sadza. Dinner was followed by traditional songs and games from the children.

Saturday started early with a quick aerobics class to shake the chill from our bones. After a quick wash, breakfast, which was prepared once again with the help from the children, was enjoyed and we were ready to start our day of activities. Sexual and reproductive health was the first topic of the day; with the children split into two teams we discussed our sexual rights, consent, HIV & AIDS and stigma. With fun activities throughout, we received a positive response from the children.

After a quick break of biscuits and Mazoe we started on our second workshop on child rights. With an action packed session we covered some basic child rights, child abuse and child marriage, with interaction from all. Before lunch we told the children to get their creative heads on because we were holding a small talent show that evening to showcase what they had learnt throughout the day. 

We had the boys helping to prepare lunch whilst the girls were out collecting firewood for the campfire that evening to ensure that everyone had a try at everything. After lunch and some time to prepare for the talent show, we had the children partake in some team building exercises. These exercises consisted of the knot game where the team held hands and had to untangle themselves without breaking the chain, the tyre game where the team had to travel using tyres without touching the ground while carrying water, and the blindfold game, where the team were put into partners and the one wearing the blind fold had to fill a container with water, from strategically placed cups, with only the aid of their partner.

The talent show started with cries of joy as the crowd was warmed up by national volunteer Ivan. The children demonstrated what they had learnt in the form of role plays, songs and dances with all performances succeeding the expectations of the volunteers.

Dinner was followed by the campfire, which was lit in traditional Zimbabwean Scout style and was followed by a chorus of songs and plays performed by the children. As the fire died down, we treated the children to chocolate bananas, prepared by UK volunteer Anna, which was something the children will always remember.

After a late night the children awoke to a breakfast, which had been prepared by the UK volunteers then proceeded to go to church as is the Zimbabwean tradition. After some sad farewells we left camp Chinziwa and made our way back to central Mutare.

Some testimonials from the children:

“Thank you for what you have done, it was an act of love”, Toropito Magunge.

“Thank you for your help; it was an awesome weekend with you”, Pardington Tarambiwa.

“The weekend was vigorously interesting, I learnt how to protect myself from HIV and how to practice safe sex, when the white people talked I was able to understand and answer”, Tafara Mupembe.

Written by ICS volunteers Tinashe Bowa and Tomas Mountain