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Nsobe Game Park
After a tiring 23 hours of travelling, we finally arrived at Nsobe Game Park, where we settled in for an early night. We woke to a delicious breakfast to kick-start the day ahead. The snake park was first on our agenda, where we were able to handle a variety of snakes, including a 3.5m python which took a liking to Mrs G. We were then treated to an incredible game drive where we saw a variety of animals, including zebra, giraffe, and many different species of antelope. For many of us, however, the highlight of the day was visiting the Nsobe Trust School. We were lucky enough to be shown the caretaker’s house; we were struck by its simplicity. The children then taught us a variety of traditional Zambian games and treated us to an uplifting song. We also had the privilege of being shown the Nsobe community, including the fish farm, piggery and meat processing that takes place there. Following a day of new experiences, we realised quite how different life in Zambia really is. One more night in our tents and chalets followed by an early morning bike ride around the game park took us to the end of our Nsobe journey.
On our way to Kitwe, we stopped off at Janna School (another school in the Beyond Ourselves family), where we had the opportunity to try freshly-baked bread from the on-site bakery. The children there taught us a song in Bemba and we exchanged national anthems. After having talked to the children in small groups, we were all inspired by their ambitions. We then proceeded to drive to Kitwe and arrived at the Town House in the early evening.
Kawama Day 1
We drove to Kawama School where we were met by an abundance of enthusiastic children, who couldn’t keep their hands off our arms, legs and especially the girls’ hair. We split into our groups and took it in turns to participate in a variety of activities, including work experience (much to Mrs Reader’s delight), home visits and the 10 kwacha challenge. The work experience involved weaving baskets, selling charcoal and making doormats. We were able to see first-hand just how gruelling day to day life can be. Likewise on our home visits, some of us were asked to carry out some common chores around the house, ranging from washing dishes, sweeping the floors, making nshima and collecting water. This was more difficult than one might assume, due to the lack of domestic appliances. Others were shocked by the stark contrast between our standard of living and that of many Zambians. To round off our activities at Kawama, we participated in the 10 kwacha challenge, a challenge in which we had to go to the market and find traditional Zambian fare for 10 kwacha or less (approximately $1). The groups returned to the Town House to be judged on the originality and value for money of their goods. The winning group, consisting of Charlie, Jess, Finn and Kieran, bought the fundamentals for preparing a typical Zambian meal. All in all, our first day at Kawama was full of satisfaction, excitement and a profound sense of the differences between our cultures.
Kawama Day 2
Again we woke to another delicious breakfast, followed by a production line of sandwich-making for lunch. Straight afterwards was a rehearsal for the song that we would later sing in the church at Kawama School. For church the girls wore skirts and dresses and the boys all wore shirts and trousers, everyone looked very smart. We were warmly welcomed and greeted on our arrival at the church by all the children running after the bus. The service at Kawama was like nothing any of us had ever experienced before. We were all captivated by the participation and enthusiasm of the audience, as well as the speakers. Along with a translator, Jodie (from Beyond Ourselves) gave a passionate speech about avoiding temptation in life and trying to keep running in the race of life as God would reward you at the end. This had everyone’s full attention, especially at times when the Bemba translator got responses from the audience in the form of shrieks and “hallelujahs”; a few of us even got goose bumps.
Later that afternoon, we set up a sale for all the donated clothes from back home. The money that the community purchased the clothes with will all be put back into the community. By the end of the afternoon we were all surprised to find out that we had raised over 10,000 kwacha (Approx $1100), which will hugely benefit the school. Our experiences of the clothes sale were again something that will never be forgotten. The locals were extremely eager, the door to the sale even having to be both barricaded with tables and guarded by security. Additionally, the stall selling shoes had to be protected by chairs to stop too many people grabbing all of them at once. Our neatly-piled stacks of clothing were soon turned into heaps within seconds. It took a team of six people just to run the cashier desk, since many were bulk-buying. It was a huge success and gave us valuable insight into the Zambian way of life. We were all exhausted by the end of the day and returned to a nice dinner of “spag-bol”, which was delicious.
Kawama Day 3
After waking up from a well-earned fifteen minute lie-in at the Town House we had breakfast before getting on the Pentecostal Holiness bus to Kawama. On the way, spirits were high in the community as they prepared to celebrate the 52nd anniversary of Zambia’s independence. Many people were flocking to the streets dressed in the colours of their flag; green, red, black and orange. These colours represent vegetation, blood from the fight for independence, the colour of the people and the many minerals found in Zambia.
Upon arrival we were greeted by hundreds of smiling children, some of which ran beside our bus for over a mile as we neared the school through the local streets. We got out off the bus to find the children in the church preparing for their big performance, bursting with excitement. Upon entering the church, we were swiftly escorted to our seats before the celebrations began. The Headteacher, Mary, began with a warm welcome to the team and everyone else who had joined the school for the festivities. The first thing that happened was that everyone stood to sing the national anthem of Zambia. I think it is safe to say that we were put to shame by both the volume and tone of the children’s singing. They then went through the year groups with each grade performing songs of praise to God. We then went up to sing a song of our own in Bemba which we had learned at Janna School in Ndola four days previously.
The ceremony continued with traditional Zambian dancing by the children which was, much to our amusement/surprise, very similar to body popping. This continued for around an hour, with even the teachers joining in, until the ceremony was rounded off with a passionate and stirring speech from Jodie about God’s love.
Tomorrow we will be interviewing pupils and their families to understand about their lives and how best to help them moving forward. We will report back tomorrow evening, as long as the internet is not too temperamental!
Shoes at the clothes sale
Zambian Independence Day celebrations