What do Zulu Tribespeople eat for lunch… do for fun… think about the planet?
In two weeks’ time I will know the answers to these questions - and to questions I don’t yet know I want to ask about Zulu customs and culture, as I venture off on a 10-day ‘Safari experience with a difference’ to KwaZulu-Natal.
I am hugely fortunate to be taking a trip of a lifetime that combines trekking the South African bush tracking elephants and rhino, with joining a group of like-minded travellers to install a 5000L water tank that will bring clean water and a new prosperity to the Ekuthuleni Zulu community for generations to come.
I am travelling with Inspired Challenges (http://www.inspiredchallenge.com), a new London-based tour operator, whose USP is ‘life-changing’ travel through its range of far flung ‘voluntours’ that have at their heart a social aim.
This cultural immersion opportunity promises to shatter perceptions and challenge what it means to live in a modern world. Apparently, my body is not going to get off lightly either.
The first step has been fundraising £750 to pay for the clean water project. Fortunately I work in philanthropy and so my appeal has fallen on the ears of enlightened and knowledgeable people who know the huge difference these kinds of clean water projects can make to a community.
Indeed water projects are one of the most highly impactful philanthropic interventions – improving health and prosperity and giving (normally female) members of the community time to learn or work instead of walking for up to four hours a day to collect water.
The fundraising has therefore been pretty easy. It has been made even less arduous through the magic of digital technology that has allowed me to set up a Just Giving page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/cherylandcolin
It is worth noting there have been some ‘tut tuts’ from colleagues, as Just Giving take a 2 % transaction fee for each donation and nibbles another 1.6% for card processing. (More info about fees is available here http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving/about-us/fees.jsp). Some other platforms such as Givey (https://www.givey.com/) take no commission at all. Inspired Challenge is addressing this by launching their own digital fundraising platform soon promising lower admin costs.
The charity running the project is the High Five Club (http://highfiveclub.co.uk/), set up by Cheryl Mvulva with celebrity patrons Bill Oddie and Will Travers of the Born Free Foundation. High Five is a UK registered charity that works hand in hand with impoverished communities living in wildlife areas of Africa. Their model is ‘to change lives, £5 at a time’ and encourage many people to make a small donation to help them address their priority focus of poverty reduction, education, health and nutrition, environmental and sustainable livelihoods.
“As individuals we may be unable to make a difference to the quality of life of people in the developing world, but when we join forces we can together make a substantial, positive impact,” they say.
The experience is fully integrated into the community life of the district. Nothing is contrived or ‘set-up’ for tourists, so the social and cultural programme is totally dependent on what is happening in the community at the time. We will be encouraged to immerse ourselves in Zulu daily life, and to learn about each other's culture in a natural way through shared experiences and activities.
The promise is we will leave understanding “how to share and be happy with almost no material possessions.”
The excitement is about the difference we will make to each others’ lives.
Cheryl Chapman is director of City Philanthropy, A Wealth of Opportunity, (www.cityphilanthropy.org.uk) a project to embed a culture of effective philanthropy in The City of London. Cheryl will be blogging regularly from her travels.