It was our first week at the office following the orientation in Harare, it was exciting though as we were the new kids on the block. All ground introductions and welcome remarks were made and left us feeling comfortable for our placement. 

All protocols were observed as we visited the police officer in charge, the officers at the president’s office, the D.E.O, the D.A and the D.A.C officer for introductions.

The next day we visited the Ministry of Education and met Mr Masungo who postulated “we appreciate the work you did at the high school last placement, continue doing that and make it a process that will last”.

Later the same day we left for Kariangwe, where we were destined for chief (a traditional leader) Siansali’s homestead. Welcome remarks were super as we were able to greet him as he expected. Silence was observed as a form of respect and the international volunteers were given Tonga names, it seemed hard for them to pronounce their names as they looked overwhelmed. Aaron (the international group leader) Ned, Emily, and Kitty (International Volunteers) were named Siansali, Dimba, Mbembe and Nsimbi respectively. At the gate there were people building a house who were identified as prisoners under punishment.

It was almost lunch time when we arrived in Lubu for the cultural rehearsals. The Lubu cultural dance group had colourful beads wrapped around their waists, which they got from trading with the Portuguese. They used instruments like drums, bells, and horns for their music. The group was joined by both the international and national volunteers, which was so nice. The Tonga people are trying to restore their real culture, which they had long before, while living along the Zambezi river.

We had lunch there and the meal was so mouth-watering that no one could refuse. The ladies had prepared Sadza (Zimbabwe staple food) and chicken. Traditional dancing games were played by boys and girls just after supper, as a form of entertaining themselves.

After lunch, introductions were made as we were at the councillor’s place. One member by the name Jenny Mudimba was quoted “I was happy when I heard that Tonga was being learnt from primary up to secondary, thus we planned to bring back the whole nostalgia of the culture back to our present life”.

We spent the whole day there enjoying and learning more on the Tonga culture, before we had to leave for Binga town. It was quite an experience driving on dusty gullied roads, it also showed how committed the volunteers were.

It was a great day as part of the real Tonga culture was revealed to all those who didn’t know.

Written by Zimbabwean Progressio ICS volunteer Linda Ndlovu.

Photo: Volunteers joining in with the Lubu cultural dance group