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13

Aug 2010

The Book Bus in Meheba

Posted by / in The Book Bus /

On 18th July the Book Bus arrived in Meheba for its second year.

We were greeted by an ecstatic welcoming committee of Mehebans – but not for us! They turned out to greet Doc, who drove the truck last year and had made a multitude of best friends. We put up our tents and tested out the facilities – aka, a pit latrine, home to half a dozen bats which have the traumatising habit of flying out of the hole when it is in use. Until a new toilet is built we are practicing strategic drinking to avoid unnecessary bat encounters…

On our first day we visited school C, just opposite the compound where we are camping. Jenna tried out some songs she had learnt at her choir at home, and soon had the children singing harmonies which we continued to hear sung on the playing field for weeks! Andrew, being a bloke, is instantly the most popular of all of us – every boy within the school flock to him and we girls try not to become too bitter.
Teachers and pupils at Basic School D gave us a spirited welcome.

Despite the project only running for one month last year many students remembered the Book Bus and even the names of individual volunteers – it clearly made a big impression! Days at School D are fruitful but exhausting. The first day we visited I made the mistake of allowing us to teach outside sitting under the trees on mats. But with 1300 pupils (and very few of these in the classroom at any given time) literally falling over each other to get involved it became slightly like pandemonium. Those waiting for their turn would gather around us watching, then creep forward stealthily until suddenly they would also be squeezed on the mat, trying to look innocent. Our group size tripled in minutes. Teachers were called upon to clear some space but unervingly their means of enforcing order was to pick up a big stick… From then on we always taught in a spare classroom and barricaded the door against the over-zealous Grade 3’s. However, the enthusiasm of the children is wonderful as it shows their eagerness to read the books. Oh and plaster their face with glitter!

On Thursdays we visit Community School G, the only non-government school in our itinerary, funded by the UNHCR. Teachers here are only paid the equivalent of £35 a month (as compared to government schools where they receive closer to £150) so their dedication is astounding. Block G is made up almost entirely of Rwandan refugees and it feels like an autonomous village set apart down a narrow dusty track. Teachers Pacific and Jean Claude get very involved in our sessions and gave us an extensive tour of the area after school; market, the clinic, bee hives, church and banana plantations from which is brewed potent wine.

We keep busy after school everyday, taking walks to the river and to the markets, visiting the Somali restaurant the market, that serves very sweet tea and chapati, and thinking up impossible quizzes to fill our evenings. We also attended Inter-schools sports day in zone A one weekend, watching teams compete, the fans violently heckle referees, and shooting (not scoring ;-)) a few penalties ourselves.

In our second week we visited Basic School A for the first time to an ecstatic response from the 900 pupils. Hundreds of children watched our lessons for hours through the windows. Sarah and Andrew have been running engaging sessions this week making animal masks out of paper plates, which we see the children wearing for several days afterwards. God knows what their parents think. Just when they have finished scrubbing handfuls of glitter off bodies and clothes their kids come home insisting they wear silly Gruffalo masks.

At the weekends we stay in Mwaaka Lodge in town and sample the incomparable Solwezi nightlife. One weekend we visited Matanda Falls to frolic in the rapids and get ripped off by hopeful staff ( ’7000 extra for a camera’ *notices Sarah’s posh SLR* ’Actually its 20000. Each.’). We also visited the Kifubwa Monument in Solwezi, a site of ancient rock carving recently graffitied over with obscene drawings, and a pretty waterfall and gorge.

Monday 2nd August was a public holiday – Farmer’s Day – and most of the schools had pleaded absence, so I organised a day at School F. Last year the Book Bus didn’t reach F due to ravaged roads but the track has been improved this year. Zone F is the home of the 400 new Congolese refugees from Mwange camp in Eastern Zambia, and they are currently living in white tents. This is the only part of Meheba that looks as one might expect a refugee camp to look, though it won’t last long as the new residents are already making bricks to build their homes. The UNHCR only provides the tents for about a month. The pupils here were so excited by the books and Jenna made use of our french books as some of the new refugees could only understand French.

The first three weeks are now over and we are heading back to the airport in Ndola to say goodbye to the pioneer group. They took home plenty of souvenirs from within Meheba, including several trees in the shape of wooden boxes and plaques by a Congolese carver from Block D, and also bags and clothes from Brigette the seamstress.

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13

Aug 2010

ENJOYING THE EVERYDAY STORIES

Posted by / in The Book Bus /

Big Hellooooooo!!! to all of you. The Book Bus going around and around Puerto López. It is exciting to see that the bus causes so much happines to children at the schools. We have had a very interesting week, creating new activities to make children a bit creative. We are using origami and this time we are making the kids draw their hand and cut it out to paint them and glue on a stick. Little by little we are getting their imagination to work. We are trying hard to get that. Every place we visit is an adventure, new kids, new experiences, new stories….new challenges. There are times we have one or two kids of the groups we work with that want to carry on reading so, one of us is dedicated to them while the rest continue in the activies done after the reading. It is one of the greatest presents we can ever get since the book bus is to make children love reading. The group in the afternoons is still coming to us. Among them we have Mateo, the smallest in the group (16 months old), who fell in love with the bus so, his mother came once to us in the street to asked to have Mateo in the bus. We collect him from his mother’s work to come to the reading and the driving along the busiest street of Puerto López. He is so happy with us that it is very difficult to have him going back to his parents. Almost forgotten!!!! we have the children bringing their books to read in the bus and share with the others. That means that our work is having a response.
This week was a very short one because one day the teachers went to a meeting to another town and we have a national holiday in Ecuador. The only day we do not work is today because everybody is on holiday. There is a posibility to start a reading group of young people. There is a propposal from one of the tour guides of Machalilla National Park to create a youth group to read books. She knows young people that has to be encourage to continue reading. Our bus has books for young people so, that will be the other activity we will start in the following weeks. It is amazing all that we can do in the book bus. The world of the books is so wide and endless that any idea is welcome to have human beings united through books.
Here we are wishing to have more a more children in the world living in the world of fairy tales!!!!!
Thank you to all of you that keep reading our stories, keep in touch in the heart and support us in any way. We don’t know you but we are part of your lives being here reading books in Africa and Latinamerica.
A huge warm hug !!!!!!!
The book bus team…..the volunteers, myself….and each one of you!!
Jenny
Book bus Coordinator
Ecuador

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11

Aug 2010

New Books, Atlases and Lwiindi!!

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As I’m sure many of you know this project isn’t just about teaching children to read, it’s so much more than that. We aim to encourage children to use their imagination, to become individuals using creativity and imaginative ideas to achieve this. We want to help boost their confidence, to teach them that books can be fun and rewarding, whilst at the same time, ensuring there is also an exchange of ideas and learning about different cultures that goes on.

We had a large delivery of books from the UK last month and we were all very excited to unpack the 9 boxes and meet our new arrivals! We were happy to find a large range of non fiction books, which for the older children are ideal because as well as reading they are learning new facts about the world that they live in! There were lots of books about creatures from the world, with different questions in the contents pages. We have been using these to teach the children about contents pages, indexes, glossaries and also the idea that it is ok to not read a book from start to finish when you want to find out a particular fact. So asking each one to choose and question and then turn to the relevant page to read the answer proved difficult at first but once they had the idea there was no stopping them! Even us “adults” are learning new things and “fact of the day” has been a regular feature on the drive home. For example did you know that hippos can get sunburnt and giraffes can make no sound!!

Maps and atlases are some of the most popular resources that we have. There are so many activities and books that can be linked to them! The Zambian curriculum has no provision for geography and the children know very little about anywhere outside Zambia, but they are so interested in other countries, cultures, flags and people that this is a great area to base our sessions! There was a range of Oxfam books focussing on the topics of Homes, Playtime, Bicycles and Hair around the world and the young children loved to look at the photos are other children around the world and read about how they differ from children in Zambia! Lots of rowdy team games of finding countries on maps or identifying different flags ensued, followed by a craft activity of maybe making a pipe cleaner bicycle or a house from cereal boxes and straw!!

Last Monday was a public holiday and we all went off into the bush to attend the lwiindi ceremony of chief Mukuni. This is a traditional Toka-Leya ceremony where the people honour their chief and pray for rains in the coming wet season! There were many dancers and musicians from different tribes around the southern province and we were lucky enough to see some of them performing at very close quarters. The ceremony was attended by the Zambian President, Rupiah Banda, and I’m afraid to say his speech was not the highlight of the day. Instead it was seeing ordinary Zambiams enjoying the festivities, although there is often a bizarre mix of old and new. An elderly Zambian lady dressed in complete traditional Chitenja fabric who then pulls a mobile phone out of her pocket or a young Zambian dancer wearing an animal skin loin cloth and feather headdress but also Nike trainers!

Next week school holidays begin and we are planning week long holiday clubs, the first week at Maanu Mbwami with a project based on the continents! I’m sure that many of the children we be coming, despite it being holidays because when I told them this week, we would be there everyday soon, they were super – excited, so let’s see what happens!

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03

Aug 2010

Celebrating with books

Posted by / in The Book Bus /

Hi!!! friends of the book bus in the world. We had an exciting week indeed. We had the regular activies at the schools on the north of Puerto López. It is really rewarding to meet some children that love the books we read to them and they read with us. They enjoy making stories about the sea, the fishermen, the animals and birds of the area. In every visit we have a story to keep in our hearts. On monday 26th, we started the new activity, reading in the bus. The woman that asked for that did not send her son because he was ill and the other children did not turn up…so….we went to the streets and told the children around that we were going to read some fair tales and also asked for pemission to parents we meet also. At the end we gathered about 13 children. They have kept coming to the bus every afternoon and sometimes the number is larger. We organize some activities for after the reading. Now when they see the bus you see children gathering to join us there. Some parents come to the bus when they see their children running towards us, they were a bit cautios about us but when they see the bus inside and see the volunteers reading books they just say thanks and leave the children with us.
On sunday we had a parade, inagurating the Puerto López Cantón festivals. One of the schools of the project were with us, with the bus. They were the attraction of the people and foreign tourists that were enjoying the parade. At the end of the route taken our children danced and I took the microphone to let people know about us. I shared with them what we do and I say a big thanks to welcome us in Puerto López this time. Now People greet us on the street and give us a big smile. They started to know us.
We are all happy that children in Schools when they see us want to have us there for reading and at the end of the morning keep asking about our next visit.
We are doing our best and WE ARE NOW REMEMBERED FOR THE STORIES READ AND LONG FOR THE NEXT VISIT.
Thank you to all of you that are reading this journal, keep supporting us to reach as many children as we can to make of Ecuador a country of books and people that read…!!!!!

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26

Jul 2010

Book Bus Ecuador Part 2

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Another week and here we are!!!!! doing our best to have more kids reading in this area. This week we had the ordinary timetable. As a team thought that the best way to motivate is not have a mass of kids with us since this could be very distracting.
We always have children a bit hyperactive that disturb the activities and make the others lose concentration on what they do so, we were working with groups of 5 kids.
It worked very well, sometimes some groups were difficult due to the education level and the family conflicts but we also felt rewarded when some groups did not want to stop reading. We found difficult the fact that kids here are not encouraged to be creative.
This makes our work a bit hard but we are not discouraged by that instead we are trying to find ways to develop that in order to have a kid wishing to read and travel in the magic life of the tales they read. We have used drawings these last two weeks.
The following two weeks we are thinking of working with collages and possibly we are creating a few things to make them create their own stories.
Raquel left yesterday and we had a new volunteer ready to accept the challenge. In one of the places we buy things a lady asked if we can read to children not part of the schools we visit with the project and we are starting tomorrow afternoon having the bus on the main street of Puerto López for those who want to join us for the reading. The volunteers are happy with the idea so soon the bus will be very well known in the area as THE BOOK BUS.
During the activities at the schools I found very motivating when I told them that the drawings might be going to Africa to be seen by African Children. I always tell them that we have other buses like ours in Africa with volunteers doing the same thing we do here. They are happy with the idea.

I told them that I would like to read that to children of other provinces and even translate them and send together with the original to the book bus in Africa. I consider this to be a big motivation and the children feel important to know that something they do is going to be read in other places and other countries.

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26

Jul 2010

Book Bus Ecuador Part 1

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A warm hello to all of you from Puerto López.

The Book Bus is spending 2 months here. We started the volunteer work this past week and had two girls on the team. There was a school break so, we gather children that wanted to join the activities and the reading.

Monday we had 27 children 3 to 11 years old in El Tamarindo, a very poor area made up of a few families.

Tuesday we were in Machalilla where we gathered 21 children from the school. We all fell in love with this place, Children participate and were willing to hear the stories of the the reading we did.

Wednesday we went to Puerto Cayo and had 54 kids a bit too many for the three of us but at the end all went well.

Thursday in Puerto López we gathered 6 children we did just one group and the children were very keen to listen to the book we chose for that day.

Friday we were in Agua Blanca and had 21 children, we have wonderful drawings of this group.

It was a very interesting week, because we gathered children that wanted to participate and there were many joining us. There is so much to do here. It is difficult to motivate people to read. We are trying to find a way to get teachers involved in the reading and we are thinking of leaving a book to be read during the scholar year and, spend 5 minutes reading a little bit of the book. If the coordinators and volunteers share with us ideas will be useful for the future work here.

Children here loves drawing and representing stories. We noticed that they need to develop their creativity, there were children drawing the pictures of the book or copying the drawing of other kids. To motivate the reading is a bit difficult because the education level of the teachers is low. They don’t have much criteria and formation to have a better formation of the kids. Unfortunately there is a culture of just getting things they need but not working to get it. We have to read and at the same time to plant a little seed in them to care for the environment and their school.

It is a wonderful challenge but here we are on the book bus bringing the magic of reading.

The volunteers say hello to you all and soon you will hear from them. they will share a little bit of their experiences of the last few days.
A big hug and we are in touch with all of you.
Love
Jenny

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18

Jul 2010

Botswana Road Trip & the Bus is back!!

Posted by / in The Book Bus /

The bus is back in service! We have had the bus raised and now it can pass some of the Zambian potholed roads and reach the schools we are visiting this year! We have been using it again the past 2 weeks and the kids are pleased to see it! The journeys are long and bumpy but we get there in the end!! The truck has now departed for Meheba but not before a quick trip across the border to Botswana to stamp its vehicle passport and to fill up with cheaper Botswana Diesel. On a 400 litre tank it makes the journey worthwhile!

Some of us took the opportunity to make an overnight stop just outside Chobe national park! The journey was quite eventful. In a 60km trip we managed to get stopped by the police, who seemed convinced that we were a tour company despite the huge letters saying Bookbus and the fact that the truck was full of books! They wanted some “unofficial” payments because they said we didn’t have the right paperwork (which we did – but it’s hard to argue with a policeman!) After 20 minutes of talking, I managed to convince them that I was telling the truth…so we were on our way but not for long, as about 3 minutes later we broke down!! Diesel filters needed changing, but our driver, Doc, did a very rapid fix and we were on the way again!!

To cross into Botswana you have to take a “ferry” across the Zambezi! Ferry in the very loosest sense of the word…more like a floating trailer! All the formalities took a while but it was an experience, especially watching the “diesel” smugglers! Small wooden boats pull up alongside the ferry while its crossing the river and plastic drums of cheap diesel from Botswana are passed down and then quickly paddled away into the reeds..the police on board turn a blind eye..in exchange for some payments..and then this diesel will turn up at “unofficial” petrol stations in Livingstone!!

We arrived at our accommodation about 5 minutes before our afternoon boat safari was due to leave, so perfect timing!! The wildlife we saw was amazing; especially the elephants emerging from the river, and the sunset was stunning! The sunrise safari at 5.30 was one word…freezing!! 6 layers of clothes and still we turned into icicles and unfortunately the lions we were hoping to see didn’t materialise! We then had to make the return trip and arrived in Livingstone without any hiccups and in time for watching the Worldcup final!! We went to watch in the theatre and the atmosphere was electric! About 3 quarters were for Spain and the rest for Netherlands although I doubt anyone in the building had visited either! I can say from first hand experience that Vuvuzelas are VERY loud!! Unfortunately we were rooting for Holland but nevertheless it was a cool experience!

Life at schools is very settled with everyone really happy with the program. We met the mayor at Nakatindi on Tuesday and he was very impressed with our work! We have been lucky to receive a new shipment of books from the UK. This was very exciting! There are mostly non fiction books but these have proved a real hit in the last week, because as well as reading the children are also learning new facts, from how sunflowers grow from seeds and caterpillars turn into butterflies to how children around the world live in different kinds or homes and have different types of hair!!

At Maanu Mbwami the desks and teachers tables/chairs that were funded by 2 of our Bookbus volunteers have started to arrive from the local carpenter that is making them! The children, teachers and parents are so grateful. The Bookbus has become a huge success story at this school. After only 8 weeks, I can see the difference in the confidence, individuality and imagination of the kids. The teachers have also said that there is a marked improvement! At this school we are teaching from grades 2 to 7 so we have a broad spectrum of ages and abilities. This proved to be very trying in the first few weeks but the response we have gotten has proven that sometimes the most difficult challenges provide the most rewarding results!

I have also been talking to the teachers and community members about the best ways they can help themselves and we have come up with some interesting ideas for future projects! This school is going to be one place we visit during the school holidays. The first week we will be running holiday workshops and I imagine attendance will be very high! My job over the next week is to finalise the other projects we will be running during the school holidays, which are fast approaching!

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29

Jun 2010

Wintertime, The World Cup and Our Timetable!

Posted by / in The Book Bus /

Zambian winter is here again! Temperatures at night are plummeting but everyday dawns bright and clear. The sessions at school now take place in the sunshine as the shade is far too cold! Daytime temperatures are still between 25 and 30C so we can’t complain too much! The Bookbus truck is now fully recognisable as it’s been painted with our logo. We have had shelves custom made, it looks like a moving library. So we aren’t just greeted with cries of m’zungo but also “give me one book!” and it’s now well known all around Livingstone. The interaction with the local people is much more than in the bus because of the open sides and the volunteers can get a real feeling of local village life as we trundle by on our way to school! Most houses have a small stall outside where they are selling a few items, usually surplus things they have grown themselves, but also firewood, charcoal and mealie meal, for making nshima! Most Zambian households spend most of there time outside, cooking, eating, bathing and washing are all done in the yard. On the routes we take to school we are now well known and are greeted by children and adults alike. Scores of children often run alongside, laughing and waving and, of course, shouting!!

The world cup is playing a big part in African life here and this despite the fact that Zambia didn’t qualify! We have been watching the England games in the old cinema in the centre of town, a very cool atmosphere but far removed from your traditional UK pub crowd! The first England game we took some of the older boys from the orphanage to watch and they had an amazing time, even though we only drew! Sunday, unfortunately, saw our last game but the now we are getting behind Ghana, the only African team left, as is the whole of Zambia! They are certainly proud to be African and when Ghana beat the USA the sounds of vuvuzelas and celebrations could be heard all over town!

Life at the schools continues as usual, with each and every school having its own particular charm to make it somebody’s favourite!
On Monday there is Linda with the polite and reserved, but ever eager to learn, children and also the fantastic teachers that always make us welcome and want to see what novels we have for them to borrow! As we do our lessons outside, near the market ,we are well known by many of the local people and there is a great sense of being part of the community!
On Tuesday there is Nakatindi with the large classes of boisterous pupils in their blue uniforms. The groups here are always very vocal but always smiling and waiting to get their hands on anything shiny or the football!
Wednesday brings us to the huge Libala school! So different from anywhere else we go. There are always large audiences of pupils crowding around the mats, wanting to watch the lessons and wishing it was their turn! The atmosphere here is always highly charged and vibrant with never a dull moment and the use of glitter in any session is seriously discouraged because of the riot potential!
Thursday is the newest addition with Maanu Mbwami and the children here are still very quiet and reserved, almost shy. They still have that wide eyed look of amazement when we arrive but I can certainly notice the difference and the rise in confidence in the 5 weeks we have been visited. They are slowly becoming used to the yellow shirted m’zungos! The teachers here are so grateful that we are visiting their school and they tell me so every week. Thay also call every Wednesday just to make sure we are still visiting the following day!
Fridays is the variety day. Mornings at cowboy cliffs, to be welcomed by the “welcoming song” and then entertained by dozens of very cute kids all wanting to hold our hands, make things and play games. Then afternoons at “Lubasi” where the children eagerly await our arrival and are just pleased to spend time with us.

Every week brings new surprises, smiles and heart warming stories but also frustration and disappointment at the education system in Zambia. Children are so willing to learn, they see education as a way to better their lives. Most children want to be doctors, nurses, judges and accountants but if they still struggle to read at grade 7 then this is never going to be possible. There are so many amazing and dedicated teachers out there, especially in the community schools, but they are fighting a losing battle against high class sizes and next to no resources. Everywhere we visit values the project and insists that it is really helping the children we spend time with! If we can make a difference to a handful of children then it makes everything worthwhile!

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05

Jun 2010

New school, Nshima and Zimbabwe!

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So the schools are now in full swing as is the Bookbus project. We are visiting 4 of the same schools as last year but one we have changed and the Maanu Mbwabi school is fast becoming a favourite amongst the volunteers. There are 320 pupils from grades 1 to 7 and these come from some of the neediest communities around Livingstone. Many of the children have never had access to the kinds of things the bus is equipped with and text books are almost non existent. It’s great to see that even after only 4 weeks that the children are becoming more confident and are starting to slowly come out with their own ideas and preferences. According to the teachers, Thursday is now the day with the highest attendance! The teachers working at small community schools like this are not paid by the government; they are basically “volunteer” teachers who rely on donations and the goodwill of the community. However, throughout my time in Zambia I have see that these tend to be the most committed teachers and the ones that really strive to give their pupils the best start that is possible. Unfortunately without resources, desks or even the most basic books they are fighting an uphill battle but the commitment is there are clearly visible amongst these valuable members of society.

As our truck rumbles through the outlying compounds to reach the school we are greeted with more enthusiasm each week. We are also treated to views of “real” Zambian life as it happens. Most dwellings along the route have a small stand outside selling the surplus products they have grown. Huge paw paws and sweet potatoes are the most prevalent at the moment. We drive past markets, schools and churches and are constantly greeted with shouts of “m’zungu, m’zungu!” and the double handed waves and dances that the kids seem to think we warrant!

The bus is in the garage being raised so hopefully this will then allow it to access more places. It is a necessary alteration as the roads this year are in a much worse state of repair than last year. Potholes everywhere, even the Zambians are complaining! Meanwhile the truck is having some alterations made to make it more “library-like” and hopefully when the illustrations are applied it will look just as striking as the bus!

At Libala school last week some of the grade 8 girls cooked a traditional Zambian lunch for us. There was, of course, the staple N’shima and this was accompanied by fried rape (a kind of spinach) with tomatoes, cassava leaves and ochre with groundnuts. We ate in one of the classrooms with some of the teachers and they were very keen to see the m’zungo technique for rolling n’shima and using it to pick up the rest of your meal. Everyone had a great time, the food was excellent and the experience really something to write home about and not a knife and fork in sight!

Some of us took a day trip to Zimbabwe to see the falls from the other side. Both countries seem to think that they “own” the best side of the falls! All I can say is that you get equally wet on both sides at this time of year!! Quite a bit of historic rivalry there. No visit to Victoria Falls would be complete with a trip to the terrace at the world renowned Victoria Falls Hotel! This place is a world away from the rest of the town and you can just imagine royalty sitting and admiring the view 100 years ago. Unfortunately the town is in a poor state of repair. Walking around, it felt like a ghost town. Lots of boarded up building, empty petrol stations and, bizarrely, families of warthogs walking around town, looking very surreal crossing the roads!

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17

May 2010

Time for School!

Posted by / in The Book Bus /

It’s the first week of the new school term in Zambia and we have a new vehicle to begin our work! The Bookbus Truck has arrived! It is the same truck which we took to Meheba last year. This is great news because it means we can reach out to the schools that couldn’t take part in our project because of the limits of the bus! So on Monday we had a major tidy out of the bus and transferred all the books and materials to the truck. I also visited the schools to re introduce our program and to make a timetable for the new season. At the beginning of term all the pupils are expected to clean the school, tend the garden, cut the grass etc so classes don’t begin in earnest until next week.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we went to Linda community school and were given our usual warm welcome. The kids and the teachers were so happy to see us back and we began our usual 1 hour lessons with grades 4 to 7. The children at Linda now look very smart as the entire school has been donated uniforms by a local church. Attendance was quite low on Tuesday but when word spread that we were back Wednesday the numbers had grown. It was great to see the World Food Program delivering food again and hopefully this will improve attendance too.

Thursday, we ventured out to the Libuyu compound and the Maanu Mbwami community school. This is one of the schools I discovered last year on a bike ride but it was inaccessible, now we can reach it with the truck. There are just over 300 pupils in grades 1 to 7 and these are some of the neediest children in Livingstone. The school was started by Pastor Smoke Chewe 7 years ago and it has slowly grown to today’s numbers. The teachers were super enthusiastic and welcoming. The children had never experienced anything like what we were offering and this is an amazing feeling. Although attendance was low, we are assured that Thursday will now become the favourite day of the week! All the volunteers agreed this was exactly the kind of school that the project was aimed at. We look forward to working with the pupils and the teachers at Maanu Mbwami (vernacular for Knowledge is Power!)Friday we returned to our old favourite, Cowboy Cliffs preschool where we went on a bear hunt and did the animal bop!

We have been busy in our free time too with sunset cruises, tea at the Royal Livingstone, bike rides with Cliff coming back with lots of local produce from the markets…including caterpillars! And on Saturday we went to Maramba Stadium to watch the Zambian National Football Team! As the match was free it was completely packed and we actually got turned away at the gates but managed to sneak in a back door after following a group of Zambians that were determined they weren’t going to miss this! The game ended 0-0 but the atmosphere was great and the little girls walking around with blocks of ice on their heads to keep cool were the highlight!

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