This past weekend we hosted our secondary school students from all villages at Zienzele House in Masvingo:
“Our students in Forms 4-5-6 came to Masvingo for the weekend-15 of them! Eight young women and seven young men. Blessing and Solomon picked everyone up on Friday afternoon and they arrived at Z-House about 4:30. We gave them time to settle in and then we all began preparing dinner together- a real treat: beef, sadza and kovo greens. Over dinner we all introduced ourselves- these students are from six different secondary schools, so many did not know each other- for many this was their first trip into Masvingo!
We started conversation by asking them to talk about their future plans. One boy and two girls in Form 6 thought about being lawyers because those are the only A-level courses that there are teachers for. They hadn't thought of where they would study, and didn't know the requirements. We went over some of that, and then also talked about the importance of making a ‘Plan B’ and many chose teaching. Form 4 had many who thought about being nurses, but again, and not surprisingly, they did not have a clear idea of where they would or could go to study, so we talked about options there too. We even had an aspiring accountant who didn't know what an accountant was! Asking a young person to talk through their plans for the future might seem like ‘no big deal’ but conversations like this really drive home for us how important it is to give our students the chance to have this talk with adults who can offer ideas and guidance!
Friday night everyone was understandably a bit shy- meeting new people, being asked new questions! That said, once Prisca and I went to bed, the secondary students started talking with the Zienzele All-Stars that live at Z-House. I was very excited to hear that the students wanted to talk about how they (the All-Stars) made decisions- such an important thing, and something our All-Stars are great role models for!
Saturday morning, after breakfast, everyone headed out for their ‘college tours.’ They visited Masvingo Hospital for a very good tour and informational talk about the nursing program there; they visited Great Zimbabwe University and saw the Law School, the Polytechnic facilities, the Education School, and the main campus. Then we went for a special treat: we drove to the Great Zimbabwe Ruins for a great tour and the students all hiked to the top! Great Zimbabwe is a UNESCO World Heritage site and an important cultural touchstone- so great to facilitate a visit for these students!
After a long day, everyone returned to Z-House for dinner and a program with Mr. Marimi on relationships, CERTs (thanks Cynthia!), domestic violence, and the importance of maintaining Shona language (as opposed to Shonglish). By Sunday this was a changed group: more talkative and many sparkling personalities emerged! They will finish the next term and then take the national exams- those will determine future possibilities. They had a great adventure, starting planning for what comes next, met new peers, and we all got to know each other much better!
GREAT work by our All-Star staff: Blessing, Petronella, Solomon, Godknows and Daniel went above and beyond to make these students feel comfortable, and to make sure they got the most out of the weekend. We all gathered together tonight to celebrate a great weekend!”