Life at Tongabezi goes beyond the lodge and into the communities with whom we share this beautiful corner of Zambia. We are privileged to work alongside people that are not only brilliant at their jobs but are also inspiring leaders within their communities, particularly during this challenging time.
Several villages within the greater Livingstone area are some of the most vulnerable in the country and have been among the hardest hit by the economic effects of the pandemic.
Three farming projects were chosen collectively by the teams at Tongabezi and the Green Safaris Conservation Foundation to uplift communities in the most under-resourced areas. Subsistence farming is a powerful tool in fighting hunger and malnutrition, which often force people into the bush in search of accessible food sources. So, supporting households to put food on their table each night also has the important knock-on effect of protecting the country’s wild spaces.
Some of the Tongabezi Team visiting communities © Tongabezi
These food programmes are called The Handshake Projects, because, in Zambia, a handshake means so much more than just ‘hello’ – it offers a pause in the day to catch up and check-in with each other. They are the Tongabezi Team’s way of extending a virtual helping hand to our closest neighbours, the residents of Mukuni and Simonga.
A Mukuni Community Farm
Tongabezi’s Head Chef, Zuwi Nawa, has a love for growing and harvesting fresh produce straight from the garden. Dubbed The Plant Whisperer, Zuwi has a knack for gardening and if you look closely, you might well see a green tinge in his fingers. In this time of need, he has been championing food sustainability in Mukuni community, by teaching residents how to start their own gardens and so become self-sufficient.
Zuwi Nawa © Tongabezi
The ‘Chicken in the Bush’ Farm
This project is being led by our favourite mother hen, Agness Kamwi – you might know her as Tongabezi’s Human Resources Officer. Temporarily replacing the office with the garden, Agness has taken a small team of Tongabezi staff and community members under her wing and together they have started a chicken coop on the property.
Agness Kamwi © Tongabezi
The Reforestation Stations
Our Restaurant Manager – and happy Tree Hugger – Thembi Mibenge is investing her time in a reforestation program, where she is teaching people about the importance of trees for a clean and healthy environment. In communities where people struggle with malnutrition and immune deficiencies, Thembi will be leading the community team in planting indigenous fruit-bearing trees so that people have access to their own food.
Thembi Mibenge © Tongabezi
While you may not be able to get your hands dirty with us just yet, there is another equally important way you can make a meaningful difference from afar. By contributing to the Green Safaris Conservation Foundation fundraising initiative, you will be funding the future of these projects in Mukuni, Simonga and other neighbouring communities.
Get in touch with Tongabezi for more information.