Thursday, July 25, 2013 – Hwange, Zimbabwe

This morning we drove through the Hwange National Park to go to Ngoma village. On the way we saw a yellow hornbill that looked fake, it was so gaudy, a tribe of baboons, a white-backed vulture, a pair of Southern Crowned Cranes, a fish eagle pouncing on prey, some black-backed jackals, guinea fowl, an ostrich pair, and a tiny crowned crane.
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yellow hornbill (banana bird)

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wavy ruts through the thick sand at Hwange

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baboon family group

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white-backed vulture

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old wind-powered pump for the animals, but the elephants kept pushing it over, and then, when that problem was solved, people came and stole the copper wiring

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Southern Crowned Crane

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Southern Crowned Cranes

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fish eagle trying to catch his prey

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black-backed jackal

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black-backed jackals

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guinea fowl

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tiny crowned crane?

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Ngamo village houses

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skulls and horns of ruminants found in the park

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Ngamo village houses

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one of the living huts for teachers

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Ngamo village children

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Ngamo Primary School children

At the Ngoma primary school we were greeted by Miss Nvela Moyo, a third grade teacher. There are 8 teachers at the school, 7 of them are women, and one male principal. The village provides cream and pink houses for the single teachers. Parents provide the uniforms for the children. There are about 360 students, or about 40 per teacher. During winter school runs from 7am to 3pm. Grand Circle provides food for lunches, and the parents take turns cooking lunch for the kids over an open fire. Grand Circle also provides the chairs, desks, cabinets, pump, and computers, and Grand Circle Foundation people helped paint the walls. Grand Circle also runs camps in the park for the kids at the end of the school year. The foundation also donated Happy Readers Books.
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Ngamo school children sing us a welcoming song

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Ngamo Primary School children

school welcome song

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Sidumilise, Yolanda, Langelile, and Lumelihe

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3rd grade teacher and our hostess Miss Nvela Moyo

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Ngano Primary School buildings

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Martha & Arthur presenting school gifts to Miss Nvela Moyo

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Scott & Monica presenting school gifts to Miss Nvela Moyo

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Winston & Polly Anna presenting school gifts to Miss Nvela Moyo

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Marilyn Herel presenting school gifts to Miss Nvela Moyo

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June & Arthur Kay, and Marian Moran

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Judith Blecha presenting school gifts to Miss Nvela Moyo

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Laura & Ken Westray, and Janet Shi

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Janet Shi and Marilyn Herel

3rd grade class

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3rd grade class

3rd grade class? sings "BINGO Was His Name"

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3rd grade class dancing

3rd grade class dancing

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older kids

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boys show us a stomping dance

boys show us a stomping dance

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Miss Nvela Moyo shows us the school garden

We learned some Ndele vocabulary:

(* means click)
Word in Ndele

good morning
good afternoon
Hamba kuhle
hamba kuhle
Then we visited the village chief, _ Johnson, first at the village meeting communal building and then at his home. Chief Johnson and his wife have 6 children and a granddaughter. There are about 400 people in the village, all from the Ndele tribe. Two thirds of the village inhabitants are female. The Ndele tribe came from South Africa in the 1800s. In 1945 they were moved out of the fertile farm areas to this more barren spot.

When someone in the village is ill, they go to the local traditional healer. The villagers feel that ill people are possessed. They do have some modern medicines, but will not go to the hospital. They will go to a nearby clinic set up by Spanish doctors.

One third of the children we saw in the school are orphans from AIDS. It was taboo to use condoms. Now there is better education and better health.

Voting booths for elections are put up in the primary school. You must be 18 years old to vote.

Four different villages (with about 1,500 people) use the school. Some children must walk 3 kilometres to school. They are thinking of making local kindergardens in each village so the youngest ones won’t have to walk.

This particular group of buildings is Chief Johnson’s homestead of 13 families. There are 70 homesteads in the entire village.

They grow maize, sorghum, millet, nuts, melons, cattle, goats, and donkeys.
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teacher's quarters

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outdoor produce at the grocery store

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ladies of the Ngamo village

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the Ngamo grocery store

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Monica Shephard, Laura Westray, Marian Moran, Scott Shephard, and Winston Padgett listen to Ngamo village chief Johnson

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more ladies of Ngamo village

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Ngamo village chief Johnson

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Mrs. Johnson

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at the left is the general meeting hut

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two ladies and Marian Moran in the communal meeting hut

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Mrs. Johnson and her granddaughter

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Chief Johnson, Mrs. Johnson, and their granddaughter

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Chief Johnson and Abraham (Abi) Nyoni

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cupboard ledges and walls are made from termite mound "cement"

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outdoor communal cooking area

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Themba, one of the sons of chief Johnson, shows a gourd in the kitchen and dining area of the communal hut to Laura Westray and Marilyn Herel

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giraffe mural painted by another one of Chief Johnson's sons, Yusa

We were invited into Chief Johnson’s house. The walls and floors of his house, like most in the village, are made with termite mound “concrete”. It is a wonderful building material because it can be shaped many ways. Many of the houses in the Chief’s compound are decorated with animals painted by one of Chief Johnson’s sons, Yusa.

Martha will invite Themba and Saziso to come to the US for a visit. Themba (b 19790) is the oldest son of Chief and Mrs. Johnson, and Saziso is his wife.
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antelope mural painted by another one of Chief Johnson's sons, Yusa

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Chief Johnson's living room

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Judith Blecha and Marilyn Herel admire the family photographs in Chief Johnson's living room

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doorway to the master bedroom, with custom wooden cabinets on the right. The wall is made of termite mound cement, so it can be shaped to suit

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master bedroom

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master bedroom with crib for the new grandchild

After visiting the Chief’s house, we went to a tourist market the village had set up for our visit, and bought many beautiful wooden carvings, baskets, jewelry, and cloths.
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Laura Westray at the village tourist market

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village tourist market

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lady showing off her wares at the village tourist market

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gnu (wildebeest)

On the way back to camp we saw elephants, gnus, an ostrich, a pair of secretary birds, and a giraffe.
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elephants sheltering the babies

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two baby elephants rush to catch up

elephant family crossing the road
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elephants sheltering the babies

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black-backed jackal

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secretary bird? or bustard?

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Back at camp Martha went over to the tiny swimming pool off the deck, and waited for the evening visit by the elephants who come for the extra clean water. A pair of older female elephants came with a baby. The older elephants had their fill of water, but the baby could not reach up to the pool, so one of the older elephants sucked in a lot of water and spewed it out in a trough on the ground for the baby, Meanwhile, the rest of the campers were taking bets on whether one of the elephants would spew water on Martha.
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Kafue camp's communal deck

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swimming pool on Kafue camp's communal deck with elephants coming to drink

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Kafue camp's communal deck

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elephants drinking at Kafue camp's swimming pool

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mom put down some water so the baby could reach it and drink

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That night we were treated to an evening of music and dance around the campfire, and a wonderful farewell dinner.
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chef Jerry

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Winston Padgett, Scott Shephard, Polly Anna Randol, Monica Shephard, and Marian Moran at the goodbye bonfire

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dancers, including Cynthia and Douglas

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Martha Luehrmann and _

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Arthur Luehrmann, Monica Shephard, Polly Anna Randol, chef Jerry, Ken & Laura Westray, Scott Shephard, June & Arthur Kay at the farewell dinner