We are back after a long hiatus. The sun is shining, the sea is a beautiful turquoise blue and the sand is brilliantly white, just another day in Matemwe.
A new volunteer, fresh faced students, eager teachers, hardworking staff and we are good to go, but I’d like to turn our attention away from Tamani and outward to the village and the villagers who are the sole reason that we are here.
We specifically take all our students from Matemwe village. The breathtaking scenery can sometimes make one forget that this place is first and foremost a home to so many before it is a tourist destination. The beach is just an extension of a backyard where young children play, learn and grow. The sea is their office; the women engage in seaweed farming in the shallows while the men head out in search of the familys’ daily bread.
Many may be uneducated but it certainly doesn’t mean they aren’t intelligent, far from it. They are a people with hopes and dreams for their children just like any parent anywhere in the world, they have pride in their land, a generous nature and an immense hospitable spirit, but they are also reserved and keen to protect their way of life and culture. They make an effort to keep the beach and the village a place that is safe and wholesome. Orphans are immediately absorbed into a family taking away the need for orphanages and taking care of children who are not yours is common place.
I love the level of respect the teenagers accord their elders and the responsibility they assume over their younger siblings, one of our six year old students was given a toffee sweet, he bit off half and placed the other half in its wrapper and put it in his pocket…… not to eat later but rather…….. for his younger brother at home.
They are hardworking; carrying buckets of water over distances I would probably think twice about before walking to empty handed, women and children spend hours fetching enough firewood on a daily basis to cook for the family and early morning farming in the hills or at sea is the order of every day. I’m still enthralled when I watch the young boys and men shimmy up the coconut palms at amazing speeds and it’s admirable that they spend all night out at sea, fishing, a man determined to provide for his family.
Every human being has a story to tell, behind the mesmerizing eyes and the infectious smile of our cute little kids in green uniforms is a family and a story.