Team excursions are an important aspect of the ICS programme, they help us work better together to achieve our project goals, which is why every two weeks we go on a team excursion. It is also a time for the national volunteers to show the UK volunteers around their town. The stage had been set for our team bonding day and everything was rolling for our Sunday excursion. We had to meet in town at 1pm. Before the excursion Trish, our UK Team Leader, bought all the necessary ingredients that are needed for a barbecue, otherwise known as a ‘braai’ by the national volunteers.
When most of the national volunteers arrived, all the UK volunteers had already arrived. Arriving late and after the proposed time is one very common characteristic of the Zimbabwean culture, although in this case the reason was that most of the national volunteers had gone to church since it was on a Sunday. There was a cultural exchange with regards to time and an ICS dimension to be flexible and adaptable was reached.
pon entrance, there was a form of cultural exchange through dancing to a famous Zimbabwean song called Mudendere (meaning: in a nest) where the clarks dance was introduced to the UK volunteers by the national volunteers. The clarks dance is a famous Jamaican dance that was adopted by Zimbabwe Dancehall musicians, thus almost every youth in Zimbabwe can do the dance. We used the dance as a form of team bonding/building, which is important for working together and is an integral part of the ICS programme. The better we bond as a team, the better we are at working hard on our projects.
Another cultural exchange aspect is that the team has given each other new Shona and English names. The UK volunteers are Rudo, Chipo, Tatenda, Tendai , Kudzai and the national volunteers are Mitchell, Belle, Regina, Kate, Elsa and Emma, thus portraying another part of team bonding between the UK and national volunteers with regards to names. In this case, the national volunteers explained that the Shona names that were given to the UK volunteers had meanings, whereas the UK volunteers articulated that UK names had no meanings or were based on films or celebrities.
After all being said and done, the braai/barbecuing excursion held at the Gweru town public swimming pool was fun and a great team building experience that has helped make us a closer group, which means the work we do in the office will be even better. And it’s all thanks to the great ICS team at MASO.
Written by ICS volunteers Pritchard Tamayi and Linda Shamoonga