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We set off on Tuesday afternoon with lots of anticipation and excitement. After surviving 3 flights, several hours waiting and an interesting experience in the Addis Ababa men’s toilets with no door lock or loo roll, we arrived in hot Ndola and were swiftly picked up by the Pentecostal Holiness Church Bus and we departed for our first stop, Nsobe Game Park.

We pitched our tents by the water and were immediately greeted by a glorious sunset. An early night was much needed after a long day of travelling and we had a busy day ahead of us.

We started with a trip to the snake park and piggery and there was a mixture of fear (mainly from Ollie Pearman and Cameron Montgomerie) and excitement when faced with holding the huge pythons and other snakes. Then, we had a go at fishing with bamboo rods, which Tessa was the best at, catching 3 fish. After this, Mark and Fiona (the couple who manage the reserve) gave us an insightful tour of the fish farms at the reserve and the positive economic effect that it has had on the community. They also gave us an overview of their idea of socially responsible capitalism shown through the Nsobe Model, which they aspire to spread across Zambia. We visited Nsobe Trust School and were struck by the enthusiasm and passion visible in the classrooms from both teachers and pupils. It was a fantastic place full of talented people ranging from great singers to footballers. They beat us, both in singing and football!

That afternoon, we went off on a game drive which was fantastic and we were very lucky to see giraffes, zebras, antelopes and other species. This was a highlight for many – in particular, Mr Reader who fully utilised his binoculars to find the Zambian birds!

On Friday, we woke at 4:50 to sing Happy Birthday to Miss Mitropoulos and to get ready for her birthday treat, a 70km cycle from Nsobe to Ndola. We met up with Stuart Block (ex-Cranleigh teacher) and his partner who are cycling across Africa and Asia over the course of the next year for Beyond Ourselves and UWS (United World Schools). The heat made it a real challenge, but nevertheless the whole team dug deep and completed the route. It was a great experience and thoroughly enjoyed by all. Along the way, we passed through many, often isolated, villages and visited a local house and family. This was a stark realization of the conditions that local families do live in. Sam Dickson became ‘fluent’ in Bemba and took every opportunity to show off his set phrases! Overall, the cycle was a real success and a great part of this trip which hopefully will result in a lot of money raised for this worthwhile charity. (Written by Pudge and C Russ)

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