After traveling in the back of a dusty truck for an hour I finally arrived in the community of Msitu Wa Tembo for the first tourist lunch that our English class was hosting. The seven women had been practicing English for a little more than a month and were very nervous and excited about the opportunity to generate some income and show off their newly acquired English skills. After stopping at the school to talk with one of the teachers I arrived to the center where the lunch was being held and found that the women had already started cutting the bananas and meat for the stew and were practicing their presentations. I was very excited to see that they were eager to practice their English and meet the tourists.
Eventually the tourists arrived and the women began to converse in English, serve them food, and present some information about the women’s group that they participate in. Although both the students and tourists were initially nervous to interact and share experiences after the first ten minutes they were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. At the end of the lunch we said our goodbyes and some of the women went camping overnight in a nearby town with the tourists. The next English class we discussed the lunch with the women and they all expressed a desire to continue learning and practicing English. I felt that it was an equally rewarding and insightful cultural exchange experience for the tourists and women and cannot wait to continue working with them to expand their English skills for the next lunch!