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The ‘Tongabezi Handshake’ Community Projects

Natasha Parker | August 18, 2020

Community Development at Tongabezi

We have been thinking about a Zambian handshake…

Shake once, flip under each other’s thumbs into an inverted shake, then flip back. Then if you really know your stuff, click your thumbs against each other’s on your way out, and finally hold your hand to your heart to show respect.

This handshake is not specific to Zambia but it reflects one truly lovely thing about human interactions in Africa: we don’t rush when checking in with each other, and even a handshake is a sort of hug.

Now, of course, we don’t know when we will be able to shake hands like this again.

However, this is evidence of another incredible thing about Africa: we are always willing to listen, change, and adapt in order to look after the things that really matter. Tongabezi has been almost entirely closed for the last five months and, of course, we are far from the only ones who have been affected. Tourism is the main employment opportunity in and outside of Livingstone, and with no warning at all it has vanished. With the incredible support of Green Safaris and despite few to no guests we have kept our staff employed on half time so far, but not everyone has been able to do so and the impact on our communities has been immense.

However, it is not in the Tongabezi nature to be discouraged!

In fact, our Team members — most of whom live in the Simoonga or Mukuni village areas — have spent the last couple of months doing everything that they can to protect and empower our neighbours during this incredibly difficult time. We’ve been involved in donating sanitizer, food, masks, and other necessities, we’ve implemented Tippy-Taps as well as handing out posters about the Covid-19 virus and how to protect yourself, we’ve held training sessions about the importance of hygiene and isolation for the elderly.

But this is not enough! We can (and should) always do more.

We want to extend a virtual helping hand into our communities in a very real way, and we need your help to do so. Our open-hearted and wonderful team, the same people who have made your stays with us so special for the last 30 years, have little to do with their half days at the moment. They want to be busy with community development projects, they want to help their families and the local villages, and we want to be able to keep supporting them!

The Tongabezi staff have come up with an incredible community development plan, with the sort of ‘outside of the box thinking’ that leads to so many little surprises when you stay with us. The Tongabezi Team needs to work, and our communities need food, empowerment, conservation, and support. So our Tongabezi Team are going to do the work that needs doing in their neighborhoods…

Welcome to: The Tongabezi Handshake Projects

Meet the Team Leaders who will be spending their time on vital projects to uplift our vulnerable communities.

A Mukuni Community Farm,

by Zuwi Nawa – The Plant Whisperer (and Tongabezi Head Chef)

Zuwi is famous at Tongabezi for creating mouth-watering dishes and tantalizing desserts. But the food on your plate is only the final step of Zuwi’s garden to table creation process… he is now going to take it a little step further by investing his time and skills, together with a team from Livingstone Island and Tongabezi, to teach the local community of Mukuni how to start-up their own gardens

A ‘Chicken in the Bush’ Farm

by Agness Kamwi – The Mother Hen (and Tongabezi Human Resources Officer)

Agness is no stranger to farm life and villages. Some of her fondest memories involve spending time on her sister’s farm when growing up. She has therefore decided to lead a small team from Tongabezi into starting up a chicken coop on the property and also imparting these skills onto the staff

The Reforestation Stations

by Thembi Mibenge — The Tree Hugger (and Tongabezi Restaurant Manager)

Growing up with soil underneath her fingernails was not an uncommon occurrence for Thembi, after all she grew up with her Legendary Uncle Ben. Uncle Ben gained fame in Livingstone for planting trees throughout the town, and Thembi is excited to follow in his footsteps by leading a reforestation program

And The Teams Need You 

These three community development projects have been carefully chosen to uplift our environment and communities in the most vital areas during this time.

The Green Safaris Conservation Foundation has set up a Fundraising initiative to drive these projects forwards for the next few months and hopefully well into next year.

Many families in our area are already starting to go hungry, and subsistence farming is a powerful tool when it comes to fighting malnutrition. We also need to ensure that our wild spaces — which always become especially vulnerable during periods of hardship for nearby villages — are protected.

The Tongabezi Team needs your support in order to protect and empower the Tongabezi communities.

If you would like to donate to these incredible causes, there are two possible ways!

1.) Donate securely and directly via Paypal:

2.) Or, please do so to our registered charity bank account below:

NL30RABO 0322 3912 37 (BIC RABONL2U).

Green Safaris Conservation Foundation
Box 301
1400 AH Bussum
The Netherlands

Simply reference Mukuni 1, Chicken 2 or Trees 3 depending on which project you would like to support, and we’ll be sure that your sponsorship goes to the correct initiative.

All funds are 100% committed to supporting our staff and running these initiatives! 

If you have any further questions, have a brilliant fundraising idea of your own, or would simply like more regular updates about the projects then do get in touch with natasha@greensafaris.dev.dedi419.flk1.host-h.net

Until we can shake hands again and check in with each other, we hope that you are safe, well, and happy, and that your daily decisions are driven by kindness.

With Love,

Team Tongabezi 

Tongabezi, Luxury Wellness Retreat, Zambezi River, Victoria Falls
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