Feeling at “Home” in Ko Mpisi Village, Host Country Day One

7 Jun

From the Tree Planting Ceremony, ATA delegates hop back in to the buses, cars, vans and head just a few kilometers down the road to a community-based tourism project just near Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Between the trees, we see an opening that leads us to a dirt road marked by a Ko Mpisi Village sign leading us to our next stop for the day. We drive down the hill as the sound of the drums beating and song fills the air.

Road to Ko Mpisi Village (Photo by: Matt Andrea).

We take our seats on straw mats carefully placed on the floor under the shade of a thatched awning. The community members are already seated in a circle around the area where the cultural performances are to take place. It seems like they are as excited about our arrival as we are to be in a local community. Chief Mvuthu “welcomes us home” to Ko Mpisi Village, which is echoed by an a cappella music performance by a local dance troupe.

they sing…

Welcome home, all of you. Feel at home. We love you.

And, as customary when you are “home,” you eat together. First, members of Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and the local community wash our hands before we are invited into the kitchen.

A woman from the community washes our hands before we eat (Photo by: Matt Andrea).

Then, they generously fill our plates with….

+ Crocodile, Goat, Beef, Guinea Fowl, & Fish

+ Muriwo Une Doiv (Peanut Butter Greens)

+ Sadza (Cooked Cornmeal)

+ Peanut Butter Rice

+ Butternut Squash

You can take Pierre Thiam out of the country, but you can’t take him out of the kitchen! Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam anticipates trying the local cuisine (Photo by: Matt Andrea).

ZTA staff and local community members serve traditional Zimbabwean dishes (Photo by: Matt Andrea).

Delicious dinner served in Ko Mpisi Village (Photo by: Andrea Papitto).

Dinner was followed by cultural dancing……

Cultural performance in Ko Mpisi Village (Photo by: Andrea Papitto).

And a few delegates couldn’t help but join in…..

Warmly and humbly, we feel at home.

ATA Executive Director joins in the dancing (Photo by: Matt Andrea).

Dr. Yohannes Zeleke, ATA Mid-Atlantic Chapter President

Dr. Yohannes Zeleke, ATA Mid-Atlantic Chapter President joins in (Photo by: Andrea Papitto).

Cindy Ross dancing in Mpisi Village (Photo by: Matt Andrea).

For more photos of Host Country Day 1 at Mpisi Village, please visit our Flickr page:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65134942@N06/sets/72157630057701018/

By: Andrea Papitto, Thinking Forward Media; Photos by: Matt Andrea and Andrea Papitto

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