In the Garden of Togetherness

| Tamlin Wightman

Mushekwa Village (1)

As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. And our village, that of Mushekwa, alongside us on the banks of the Zambezi, has many children. Even the children help in raising children. Young boys that reach only to my hips walk with a child propped upon their own sides. Everyone here is a mother and a father, a sister and a brother, a teacher and a nurse, a friend.

When we enter into their space, when we visit the village, the people, Edith Mushekwa and her greater family, beside their homes, we are at once at home ourselves. It’s the village way. The spirit of community. It gets you and it changes you.

Each visit to the village takes us away from everything. Literally, yes, it being a short boat ride away from the lodge. But also away from what most of us are used to… back home, in the city. Edith and her extended family, and their extended family, are constantly working. But working together. A meal is always on the go, cooking slowly in the pot for more than one household to share – to share together. The children are always out and about, either at school or playing in the wide open spaces between their huts – playing together. Never alone.

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When we arrive at Mushekwa, and when we leave, the whole village comes to wave hello or goodbye. They stand on the shore as our boat approaches or drifts away. They stand together.

It’s the village way and it’s how they survive, how they thrive.

It’s also why they now have the Lost World of vegetable gardens. With seeds that we at Royal Chundu donate to the village, they have created the most verdant of orchards behind the wooden fences that keep the chickens (and hippos) away from the towering field of mielies, sweet potato (kandolo), carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, eggplant (impwa)… Rainy season has certainly helped, as we discovered when we stopped by recently.

In celebration of the month of love, and in honour of Green Season, here is a look at the garden of togetherness, in its current period of bloom…

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Mushekwa Village (2)

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Mushekwa Village 13

Mushekwa Village (4)

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Mushekwa Village 4

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Read more about the spirit of togetherness that forms part of the Royal Chundu experience in our blog, The Ubuntu of the Upper Zambezi.