Now it’s school holiday time in Zambia we are doing week long holiday clubs and so far the first two weeks have been amazing. The first week we went to a school, called Chilileko (blessing) right on the outskirts of Livingstone that we have been visiting since the beginning of this year. About 120 pupils turned up everyday which was a great turnout and we had lots of fun, its nice for he volunteers to really get to know a group of kids well, which you can’t do when you are doing a different school everyday! All the teachers came everyday too which showed great commitment as the school is very far from where they live. They were joining it with the crown making, cutting paper people chains and chatting to the volunteers! We set up library corners for the children while they were waiting for their lessons and it was great just to watch them absorbed in the books. Paper maiche made its debut at the school, the older kids really enjoyed it but the little ones just wanted to pinch the balloons!! We had the longest lines ever for a game of “over and under”, thought it was never going to end! And on the Friday we got the glitter out!!! Everyone was covered in green sparkles!!
The second week we went to a brand new school about 20 km outside Livingstone, it was right in the middle of some “real” African villages and we had the best week ever. The way I came across the school was quite bizarre. I was stood at the airport about 3 weeks ago waiting for some new volunteers and holding my Bookbus sign and a woman came across to me and asked if I was in charge of the Bookbus here and so I said yes and she told me about this school that she had helped set up and thought that the kids there would love the things we did and if there was any way that we could visit? It sounded exciting so I arranged a trip out the next week. The lady, Oriel, told me to go to her small lodge first as it was easier to find than the school, so myself and our disco taxi driver, Lungu, took a trip out there. We passed a huge herd of sleeping buffalo on the way!
The lodge is right on the Zambezi river and was beautiful and extremely peaceful, it felt a million miles from the bustle of the city but was only 15km. She them took us all in her landrover as she didn’t want to damage the taxi. About 5km of the main Livingstone to Botswana road is an area known as Sindi, which comprises 5 villages with a population of 1055 split among 111 households. (that’s over 9 people per house on average and the houses are tiny!!) This is REAL Africa. Straw and mud houses, one water pump for everyone to share. Dusty tracks and dry elephant grass, an empty market place and several beer halls!! But surprisingly there is a brand new 5 classroom school and a beautiful preschool with a colourful playground. We decided to hold our week holiday club outside the preschool as there was plenty of shade and the ground was sandy. Quite a few inquisitive kids turned up just as we were looking round but who knew what would happen on Monday morning?
When we arrived on the Monday there were about 100 kids all standing still in small groups just starring at us, there didn’t seem to be an adult in sight, although we had been told we would be met by at least one teacher…as we dismounted from the truck we were just starred at even more intently and all the volunteers were asking, what do we do why aren’t they being friendly like all the other kids? It didn’t take long..we put all the mats down and I invited the kids to sit down which they did and we began with Giraffes cant dance and from then on, they were with us!!! One of the teachers took us on a short village tour on the Monday and it was great to see how these children live day to day. We were “escorted” by most of the kids we had just taught. The “market” was 2 tables that sold cabbage, dry fish and peanuts. Everyday the children got more lively and welcoming and they would greet us a km down the road and then run all the way with us, it was so amazing to see the transformation from the Monday morning. We ended up with about 170 kids on the Friday and they all seemed to genuinely love us being there. It’s weeks like that which make this job so rewarding…I still LOVE it!! Bring on the next 2 weeks of holiday club!!