Harriet Smith Photography


"For The Love of Africa"

AFRICAN SAFARIS - Trips Of A Lifetime


Traveling to Simonga Village in Zambia is like moving between opposite poles on the earth. In the Simonga village, there is no plumbing or electricity. The huts are thatched roofs, mud walls, and dirt floors. Most of the residents sleep on pallets on the dirt floors. Although only 20km from the thriving urban center of Livingstone, Simonga is undoubtedly rural, with subsistence farming the mainstay of a local economy subsidized by small cottage industries. Its 3,000+ inhabitants includes many single mothers and orphan children. Residents are for the most part poor with high levels of unemployment and low levels of nutrition and sanitation.


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The head lady of Simonga is Inonge, a dark skinned woman whose face radiates wisdom and gentleness. She smiles easily and makes all decisions concerning the village. Inonge had six children, all of whom have died. She is raising her grandchildren. She won the title of (Miss Livingstone) in 1961 and was appointed by Chief Sekute in 1972 to the position of (Headman) – an unusual role for a woman.


Simonga Basic School, built in 1976, has over 300 students and 8 teachers. Education is key to the future of any community and no less so in Zambia. Here, schooling is government assisted until Grade 7, at which point it must be paid for by the students/families. Most families do not have enough money for this and so schooling for many children ends here. The School Project pays for the entrance exams and then transportation for the children who pass their exams to schools in Livingstone. 20 Simonga school children attend secondary school in Livingstone (Grades 8-12) and 5 teachers are being sponsored. The School Library continues to receive donated books from South Africa, USA and UK guests staying at The River Club. The project also supplies Simonga Basic School with stationary, art and craft equipment and textbooks, maintenance of the school furnishings and buildings, sports equipment, and organizes art competitions and educational visits.


The 10+million Zambians have an average life expectancy of 37 years. Malaria and AIDS have decimated the population. Sixteen (16%) percent of Zambian children die before the age of five (5). Less than half of the Zambian people have access to safe water. (43 %)


The projects in Simonga Village focus particularly on women and children; improving their quality of life, and therefore uplifting the village as a whole. All work is carried out with the approval and support of the Head lady and the villagers. Expenditure to date has been aimed primarily at sanitation, health and education.


The water project was begun a few years ago where a borehole was sunk and a pump, pipes and storage tanks were installed. In addition, distribution points for running water were installed in the village. Since June 2006, the water project provides 50,000 liters of water per day to Simonga's inhabitants. Ongoing costs, donated by The River Club and its guests, include diesel fuel for the generator, maintenance for the water system and water carrying equipment for the villagers. Where in the past villagers walked 3km down to the Zambezi River to get their water, today there are taps dotted throughout the village.


Simonga Village farmers have been taught how to grow chilies around their vegetables patches in order to deter the elephants, who dislike chilies. The chilies are then sold to the manufacturers of Tabasco sauce thereby creating a much needed source of income for the villagers.


The village earns an income by making itself available for tours to the visitors of the Victoria Falls/Livingstone area.
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