On Wednesday 1st June 2016 Shearwater Café, located on the bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe, kindly played host to the first ever Cross Border CITW Eco-Club debate on Reforestation.
As reforestation is one of the projects for the Zambezi Eco-Clubs this year, the teams were discussing whether the trees being planted should only be indigenous (Zambia) or exotic (Zimbabwe)? Two teams consisting of students and teachers from the schools’ CITW Eco Clubs – Twabuka and Simoonga Primary School (both from Zambia) against St. Mary’s Primary School (Zimbabwe) – were bussed to their respective border posts, where they were able to pass through without passports, meeting in “no man’s land” – the middle of the Victoria Falls Bridge.
The gathering was an iconic (and very friendly) impasse on the bridge, with each team cheering and beating drums in an attempt to intimidate the other team pre-debate. And then the rivalry began. The end result was a draw with both teams being well informed, and incredibly well matched thus splitting the winners’ prize , $50 for each team towards their Eco Clubs. A student from Zambia won the prize for best speaker, with Zimbabwe winning the prize for the team with the best time management. The debate was a huge success, it initiated interaction between the schools under the CITW banner, both within a country (with Zambia being represented by two schools in one team) and across countries in a friendly but animated meeting. The students were gracious in their win and mixed so well, sharing bottles of water and later even shared lunch together.
The aim of the debate was to not only discuss a serious topic that greatly affects the future of these two beautiful countries, but also to lead to collaboration between the Eco-Clubs across borders and initiate friendships too.
Sue Goatley (CITW)