People usually say that Monday is the most hectic day of the week but on Tuesday, at that point and time I begged to differ because when we arrived at Mncumbatha Secondary School the students were buzzing a different tune. All we could see were the students running from one classroom block to another as an attempt to settle down and start on with the day’ work, as it was just a few minutes after eight.
As a team we had intended to work with the agriculture club at the above mentioned school and we were well received by the agriculture teacher, Mr Mutambara, who organised the group of students we would be working with in this cycle. Currently, they have two herb gardens and they are planting lichen (a herb that is used for treating toothaches). It was outstanding when UK volunteer Cathy spoke in Ndebele as she was greeting the students. Funny as it might sound I thought she was quite fluent.
We were all nervous as to how well we will be received because the students were withdrawn and a bit shy, however they started to open up when we played games and we all started to mingle. The lesson we presented was about entrepreneurship skills. These are crucial for when they venture into farming. Skills such as good communication skills will be a massive help if ever they will be making their pricing strategies because whatever they plant will have to be sold but the prices have to be sensible too.
The lesson was outlined in a metaphor that is comparing the garden to their lives and all the necessary skills that they might need to blossom into a flower which represents a successful business person. I say this because when we asked them about their dreams and aspirations most of them wanted to be prominent business people and be influential citizens in the community. The goal of our lesson was to reinstate the garden into something more serious such that the students take it as an investment into the future. We foresee them having an herbal shop and most probably they could be doing their own branding and packaging. This can become their income generating activity.
We also conducted a resource assessment survey and we found out that the agriculture club already has a running fowl run and the manure is used as compost for the herbal and vegetable garden. They have gardening tools and two water tanks. However they do not have gardening forks and watering cans which make it hard at times for them to carry out their work and as a team we would love to help them fundraise for that.
We sincerely want to keep the students more engaged and have them playing a pivotal role in the empowerment of their own lives. We want to help them to build a fish pond and also increase the intake of broilers for their fowl run. The day went well and it was a success. The staff were very supportive and accommodating and we hope to establish a good relation with the school.
Written by ICS in-country volunteer Thinathea Moyo