Our honeymoon has been indescribably epic. It only stands to reason then, that we’d end our trip at one of the most epic waterfalls in the world: Victoria Falls.
We see the falls from the Zimbabwe side, switching cars three times each way as we’re escorted over the border. We emerge soaking wet from the spray, laughing and amazed at the mini-rainforest that the constant fall of water has created.
We say goodbye to the falls, happy to end our trip on such a high, only to learn that it was about to get even better. Our travel agent has booked us a surprise viewing of the falls… by helicopter!
Our honeymoon was the trip of a lifetime and the coolest thing we’d ever done. We’re so grateful for this experience and cannot wait to return, hopefully next time with a family to share it with.
In Botswana, the small population is supported by a government that has done well using diamond profits to provide free education and healthcare to all 2.2M citizens. Zambian people have not had the same luck.
Livingstone is known as the tourist town, and is largely supported by the tourism industry. Our hotel in particular, has been created largely to support the local villages. Profits have been used to build a school that grows by a grade level each year. Children age 3-8 walk up to 3k every morning to attend, believing strongly that education is their way out of poverty. In the coming years, the hotel hopes to pay the bill for any student who wants to continue their education into high school or college.
The hotel also supports the local villages by hiring locally. The boat driver at the hotel shows us his home in the village and introduces us to his wife and family. His salary, he tells us, supports 30 members of the village. It had also been enough to pay the lobola (dowry) for his wife – a common practice in Southern Africa where the eldest uncle determines how many cows his niece is worth.
After hearing about the poverty in Zambia and visiting craft markets where people asked to trade goods for our used socks, it felt like one of the few true solutions to a more systemic problem: education and opportunity.
What are the chances that I run into my old roommate Punit at Gate A23 in Jo-burg Airport, South Africa? Relatively high considering we planned to do so. His flight from JFK is a bit delayed making the meet-up slightly more stressful as he appears just ten minutes before the gate closes.
The next couple days I will stay with Punit and his family in Harare, Zimbabwe (“Zim” for short). As soon as we land in Harare, it is obvious that we are no longer in South Africa. The runways are shorter, the planes fewer, and the tourists not as plentiful. We purchase visas, run into a little excitement with our bags, and are greeted by Punit’s family.
After a drive through Harare’s potholed and people-filled streets, we arrive home, an area of quiet and comfort. Punit’s grandparents greet me, and then soon after putting our bags down, we are offered food. Food becomes a theme to my stay in Zimbabwe as it is abundant, different from what I’m used to, and delicious.
Within the first hour of landing in Zimbabwe, I am confident that my short stay in this land-locked country will be unforgettable.