Part 3 by Yvonne – 23rd April
Right now I am sitting in a Boeing 737-800 somewhere over Tanzania or Kenya, on my way back to Addis Ababa. I finally found some time to write my part of the blog to tell you more about our last days.
I woke up on Tuesday morning and somehow had the feeling I had aged overnight. Quickly I realised why: It’s my birthday!! The day started with sunshine, but without running water in the shower (which was now the 3rd day in a row). Luckily we were going to the school anyway, so we could take a shower at Larry & Leah’s house. After watching a birthday video that my husband Ben had created for me (with birthday wishes from my family & friends), we went over to the Secondary School to meet the boys from pre-grade 8 (a preparation class before secondary school), who were working on projects about Ireland and Germany. This lesson we focused on Ireland and the Irish language (I learnt a lot of new words – Conas atá tú? Tá mé go maith!) In the afternoon we played games again with the girls from the 8th grade and got to know them better.
When I came back to the house afterwards, another Zambian Birthday tradition was waiting for me: a surprise shower with buckets of water. It was very refreshing! 😉 In the evening, we celebrated with wraps and chicken, and a chocolate cake for dessert.
That day started again without water, so we decided to move out of the lodge and into the spare room in the Seamans’ house. Chloe & Amy went to the baby class to help them try on school uniforms and I went back to the lodge to get our remaining stuff.
In the evening we had another highlight of our trip: a meal with a local Zambian family. Charity, a teacher from the secondary school, invited us over to her house. We were expecting Nshima again, but to our surprise we had rice, chicken, cabbage and homemade bread. It was delicious! We had an very interesting evening and enjoyed learning more about Zambian culture.
After a great hot shower, we spent another hour with the boys from pre-grade 8 and I told them about German traditions and German language. I tried to teach them to say “Binnenschifffahrtsverkehrsschiff”, which only Amy mastered in the end.
In the afternoon, Chloe & Amy continued painting the mural while I was minding the kids, who tried out the school’s new gardening tools that we brought over. Afterwards we met with a teacher from secondary school for tea and got to know him better.
In the evening we fed the kids with bread & beans, and went out after they went to bed, to get a burger, pizza and chips. Amy and I had to say goodbye to Larry and Leah already as they were going away for the next two days (and we would be taking care of the kids).
As good parents do, we got up very early to get the kids ready for school. But to our surprise the kids were already awake, dressed and playing UNO in the living room. Not sure if they were more excited about us staying with them without their parents, or because it was traditional clothes day at primary school (or a combination of both!).
After putting on our brand new chitenge skirts, we went to the primary assembly to see hundreds of beautifully dressed children. I took pictures of the school and every class wearing their colourful chitenge dresses. We then also spent some time with the baby class, playing with them and listening to some songs they sang for us. Afterwards we went to the secondary assembly. That day they had a special teacher quiz with science questions, prepared by the students. It was fun for the students (and us!) to see the teachers struggling with some questions. Amy and I also said goodbye to the school. For lunch we had Nshima again with sausages and vegetables from the school kitchen, which was our last chance before going back to Ireland. In the afternoon we mainly spent time with the kids from the two families and watched Swallows & Amazons with them, which was great fun for the kids and us.
Goodbye Zambia! The last 16 days flew by so fast, and for Amy and me it was time to go home again. After packing our bags and enjoying last moments with the kids, we had to say goodbye to everyone (which was super sad) and head back to Ndola Airport, a 2 hour drive from Kapiri. We are now flying back to Addis Ababa and then directly to Dublin.
The time in Zambia has been amazing again and I enjoyed deepening relationships with the families and students that I met last year. I also appreciated getting to know the Zambian culture better by visiting Charity’s family and seeing the local hospital that Leah works in. I had the feeling that it was more adventurous this time due to the lack of water and our fights with frogs and grasshoppers (and snake skin!). I feel like I’ve been out of my comfort zone for the last two weeks (which has been so good!) and had a lot of new experiences, for example leading the kids teaching in church on Sundays, and speaking about some Bible verses in secondary assembly. It’s been amazing to spend so much time with Karolyn, Martin, Leah, Larry and their kids again and I miss them all already. For everyone who is considering going on a trip like this, I would highly recommend it! 🙂
Part 2 by Amy – 17th April
Frog update…. We arrived back to the house on Wednesday night to find Mr Frog sitting on our basin. We tried trapping him under a tub, but then Chloe managed to get him into a bag (she is now the official frog catcher).
We headed to the school at 9 and had planned quite a chilled day. We spent most of the time at the house and the primary school getting the grade 4s to draw pictures for the Zambia mural. That night we found the first grasshopper in our room…
We went to primary assembly first. I spent the morning finishing the maths assessments with grade 1s, and Yvonne and Chloe stayed at home to prepare for the mural and church on Sunday. Chloe and I also went to secondary assembly while Yvonne went shopping with Naomi and Leah. After assembly we had a chat with one of the teachers and he showed us the grade 12s doing their Biology mock exams.
When we got back we found another frog (aka Mrs Frog) in the bathroom and two grasshoppers on our door. Chloe did her job and I got a mop to get the grasshoppers out!
When we woke up that morning we were greeted by yet another frog! We painted some of the playground tyres and the sandpit in the primary school most of the morning. Later we held a teen event which joined the girl and boy study group, we mostly played games with them, and afterwards Chloe did a brief talk on making decisions for the future.
Later that night we had dinner at the Simbeyes and then played games with Martin, Karolyn and the teens when the kids had gone to bed. It was a hilarious evening.
We went to the church service on Sunday morning, followed by a trip to a small dam where I managed to drop my shoe into the water… while we were crossing the river to get to a village nearby. After that we went to get ice cream and visited our good friend Mr Nyimba and his bread oven (he gave me a free loaf for being Chloe’s sister).
Today started with a nice trip to Kabwe and the Fig Tree café. We bought some souvenirs and bartered a bit with the owner. They had amazing chips there. We had to get back by 3pm for the kids and for secondary school assembly where Chloe and Yvonne were speaking. Straight after that we went to Priscilla the dressmaker, for our chitenge skirts that we are wearing on Friday. My skirt didn’t quite fit, but after some alterations it fit perfectly. She even made us bags with the spare fabric we had left. We then went home, had dinner and lovely banana cake and now I am just finishing the blog post. Yvonne will be writing the next one!
Update on Chloe’s wrist: It is a lot better, nearly back to normal with no scarring or anything!
Part 1 by Chloe – 11th April
After leaving Dublin on Thursday evening, we finally arrived on Friday afternoon to be met with a blast of warm air getting off the plane! Leah was waiting for us as we left the airport to bring us from Ndola to Kapiri Mposhi. It lashed rain most of the way home, signalling the arrival of the Irish (and the German) in Zambia. We were warmly welcomed by the hoard of Simbeye and Seaman children who waited up to greet us!
We chilled out most of Saturday and caught up with both families. Then disaster stuck when I went to try make a coffee for myself! Maybe lack of sleep or I don’t know what, but I ended up getting boiling hot water all over my right arm. Thankfully Doctor Leah (which she doesn’t appreciate being called) was there and has my arm all wrapped up. My wrist is yet to heal but it’s getting there.
Straight after that happened a group of six girls arrived at the house for a girls group. We had a great time getting to know them while making bracelets together.
On Sunday we had the weekly church service. The church is led by Larry and Leah. Larry leads the main service part and Leah the kids’ group. They have 30-40 kids each week from all around the area, a lot of which only speak Bemba. This is the local language and we can only really say hello and how are you in it!
Yvonne led the kids’ group and spoke about the trial of Jesus in the main service, and then we brought the kids out to play games, colour and learn a bit more! It was great fun getting to know them and trying to speak while a translator, translated everything we said into Bemba.
We hung out with the families and teenagers the rest of the afternoon and went into town to the market to get sorted for the week. I got to go with Leah to drop in supplies to a local orphanage run by an amazing woman called Mary. She looks after 22 kids ranging from 5 month old twins upwards. She manages to put all the kids into school and the older ones through college. She really is an incredible lady!
Our first day of school! We started with a tour of the school and then straight into town. We got to visit the local hospital where Leah helps out, and we delivered some items bought with your donations. It was very interesting to see the difference in a rural Zambian hospital and an Irish one. They have four wards and Leah mainly works in the maternity ward.
After that we went into town to buy our own Chitenge (African fabric) and then to someone’s house to get the fabric made into skirts for the end of term traditional day. We’re looking forward to seeing how they turn out! We also went to visit Mr Nyimba who makes the best bread in Kapiri, and maybe Zambia – it’s that good! We finished the day by cycling home in the late afternoon and getting some nice burgers in town. Then we walked home in the pitch black, which rarely happens in Dublin with all the street lights.
‘Bootcamp Zambia’ started on Tuesday, where we had two eggs for breakfast followed by 20 minutes cardio to get to school and then we decided enough of that! We helped with Maths assessments in grade 2, which went on for half the day. Then we talked to the pre-grade 8 class about Germany and Ireland so they could do projects on us. After school we held a club for the grade 8 girls to get to know them. We introduced them to classic youth games like Bong-Shabong, which is always a hit. Followed by selfies outside afterwards!
Later that evening we were joined by Mr Frog, who has taken up residence in our bathroom and refuses to leave. We are hoping that the lodge staff have gotten rid of him when we return tonight… updates to follow!
After a sunny 45 min walk to school, we were a bit late so we ran into the grade 1 classroom all gross and sweaty for their Maths assessments. Then we went back to the pre-grades 8s for more Ireland and Germany chat and questions. After finishing Mr Nyimba delish bread, we helped out with grade 4s coat hook project. Then it was an afternoon of playing Uno and watching movies to entertain the kids.
At this moment Suwi is preparing Nshima for our dinner tonight. Amy is a bit sceptical about eating it with her hands but the kids have promised to teach her how it’s done! I’ve just been called to dinner so I’m afraid that’s it for now, but there will be another blog post in the next few days.