Another week and the teachers are still on strike, but this does not affect the enthusiasm of our pupils, every school we visit, whether there are teachers present or not we find kids wanting to learn. A poignant moment yesterday was when I and another volunteer walked into a small straw and mud classroom at Nakatindi community school which we expected to be empty to be confronted by 40 teacher-less grade 5 children sitting quietly who erupted into shouts of “Teach us something madam!” That wouldn’t happen in the UK!!
Later the same day a group of grade 7 boys offered to show us around their village compound. It was real insight into the type of homes these children come from…mud and straw huts with no electricity or running water, but everybody, whatever age, is always ready with a wave and a smile. We picked up some very fresh vegetables for our dinner, which the children made sure we got at fantastic local prices!
Friday mornings we spend at a wonderful preschool with 90 children set up by the determination of one man, Cowboy Cliff, who finances it entirely with his bicycle tour business. The children are really cute but a real handful sometimes! This week we almost started a riot with some jigsaw books we brought, every child wanted the pictures of lions and elephants and no one was interested in the pandas!! However all differences were soon forgotten with some games of musical bumps, the music man song and the now legendry Bookbus anthem of “Peel Banana!!”
This weekend some of the group went on a camping trip to Botswana, where they had an amazing time. The rest of us went jet boating on the Zambezi, although the activity itself was fantastic, the journey there and back was the highlight. We passed through entire villages of mud and straw huts, which seemed untouched by modern Livingstone, merely 30 minutes away. On the way home we stopped for a game of football with locals. We played with an amazing multi-coloured sunset backdrop until bad light stopped play. It was a real pleasure to talk to the children who were all really keen to practice their English on their unexpected guests!!