Explore Zimbabwe
Mqhelisi, Age 12, Zimbabwe
"Explore Zimbabwe" is the time when our school ventures to the historical sites of Zimbabwe. For Explore Zimbabwe, the 6th grade class went to a very far off place called Matopos in Bulawayo. It was one the longest trip ever! In the morning, we found the buses waiting for us. When the engines started, it sounded like a puppy begging. We knew it was time to endure the long journey. We said our goodbyes and jumped into the buses.

On the way, we only had two stops. One of our stops was at a deserted restaurant. There was no grass at all. Every step you took, sharp rocks pierced your flesh. The restaurant itself had paint that was peeling off. Behind the restaurant, we spotted a large tropical forest. The teachers walked with us deeper and deeper into the forest, and we finally came to a stop at a drink bar. Everyone had a cool, refreshing drink. We had lots of fun. It was a refreshing stop before we went back into the hot bus.

We finally arrived at Matopos in the afternoon. There were trees everywhere. They added colour to the beauty. The grass was as soft as a cloud. When we saw the lodges we were amazed. The lodges were a beautiful cylinder shape. They were surrounded by a little forest and had the most fantastic waterfall behind them. When we were done looking at the lodges, we pulled out our bags to start unpacking.

As the doors of the lodges opened, a wave of aqua marine blue burst through them and caught our sight. There was so much in the room. It was full of games and had one giant plasma screen TV. The next thing that caught my eyes was the amazing giant water bed. I dropped my bags and flopped onto my bed. It felt like I was in the river, floating as a high tide rocked me back and forth. As I started to go to sleep, I heard the sweet sound of the birds chirping. The wind made a soft hum that blended with the rustle of the leaves. The sound of the water bouncing around was the most soothing.

The little melody of the birds was disrupted by the sound of drums. The dang of drums was very loud. I was startled and ran out of the room knowing that we had to go and eat dinner. The lodge had the most amazing food. We ate steaks that had sweet and succulent BBQ sauce with a side of potatoes. We barely had the strength to stand up when our stomachs were full.

The following morning, we all were awoken by the beat of drums again. It was a beautiful morning. Everyone was buzzing with excitement. We were ready for our adventure at Matopos. We went on a long hike, up the steepest mountain in the world. We clutched onto the rocks to climb the mountain. The fresh air cooled us down from the blazing heat as it reached midday. At the top of the mountain, the pain from our fingers was worse from the cuts. That pain was forgotten when we all saw the view. At the top, there was a cave that was shaped like a turtle shell. That was where everyone went to escape the heat.

The cave had some magnificent cave paintings of animals and the hunting style of the cave men. In the cave, a story about a cave girl was told to us by the tour guide. The colors of the paintings were a light brown, red and a bit of yellow. It is surprising that the colors can still be seen. They were made many centuries ago, and they still look new. Those few colors are still used to this day and have not been changed that much. The most amazing part about the cave was the little incision in the wall that made a little river flow.

I thought the fun would end at the cave, but I was wrong. We headed off to the museum. The museum was a very beautiful place. There were many exhibits. The best of all was the geology exhibit. It had a giant diamond in the center of the exhibit. When we got closer to the diamond, the lights went darker and darker. That is what made the exhibit the best. The weapons exhibit was also exciting. It had real weapons that were used a long time ago. These were spears, arrows, bows and arrow heads that had poison on them. Unfortunately, we could not touch any of the weapons.

As we taunted the guide to play with the weapons, the guide told us to dress and create little plays. We dressed up in some old wigs and clothes that were old fashioned. They keep these in the museum. Everyone was laughing as we transformed ourselves into old characters. It was hilarious watching each other present the plays.

The highlights of the Matopos trip were the campfires that we had every night. We would sing camp songs and dance around the fire. We ate marshmallows and watched the stars in the sky. The fire would glow orange at night. The sound of the breeze helped tell the scary stories. We would laugh, clap hands and drink in the night breeze which one could only experience at Matopos. Each night as we went to bed, the little waterfall would light the path to the lodges.

It was a fun trip and one that will not be forgotten. We finally had to pack and say goodbye to Matopos. However, we carried with us the greatest memories to cherish for a long time. We took our last steps on the soft grass and went to the bus. The bus was rumbling drowning the sweet sound of the birds chirping and it was time to go. It was sad leaving Matopos, but I'll never forget it.
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