On Wednesday 15th October a group of 19 students and 5 staff set off from Cranleigh to Zambia for 10 days. Travelling from Heathrow to Lusaka, via Addis Ababa, was an extremely long and tiring journey, but we remained in high spirits, despite the bus breaking on the final leg of our journey to the Forest Inn!
After battling the bugs in the bathrooms at the inn we set off early for Kasanka National Park. En route we visited a local school and farm close to Kasanka, giving us a taste of what life at Kawama School would be like. We were shocked to hear that the largest sized class at this school was about 105, with only one teacher in a relatively small room. The farm primarily produced the kasava crop, and we were also briefly shown the food preparation procedure. We finally reached the park for lunch in one of the lodges about half an hour away from where we camped for the next two days. In this lodge we climbed a tree to get a view of the lake and the hippos which lived there.
We finally arrived at the Pontoon campsite where we were greeted by a warm water bucket and a delicious dinner of spaghetti bolognese. We spent the evening reflecting on the day’s experiences before heading to bed. We rose at 5.30 on Saturday morning and split into two groups. One group went on a 7km walk where we had to opportunity to see hippos close up and climb two more tree houses. The other group spent the morning kayaking and on a game drive, seeing crocodiles among many other animals, before the two groups met for lunch. After lunch the groups switched over before meeting at dusk to watch Kasanka’s famous bats.
Sunday morning brought another early morning (this time 4.30) before jumping on the bus for the 8 hour trip to the Town House Lodge in Kitwe. We arrived at the Lodge at 1pm before a quick turnaround to head to Kawama School for a specially arranged church service. After an interesting rendition of Amazing Grace and Shine Jesus Shine from the team, we were amazed by the locals amazing singing. After a thought provoking talk from Jodie Collins, the founder of the Beyond Ourselves, we split into two groups again and went on home visits. It was shocking to hear that there were twelve children living in one relatively small house.
We returned to the Lodge in the evening and enjoyed a very filling dinner before being briefed for tomorrow’s interviews. We are all heading to bed for an early night, excited for the day ahead.
By Clare Marsh and Rosie Mundy