Week 2… what a week!
I am based at two sites, Fountain of Hope and Mutendere, teaching Maths and English. At Fountain of Hope I am in an older class most of the time, whereas at Mutendere I am in a variety of age groups. Working with the children is one of the most challenging yet rewarding things I have done – you can plan what to do but it does not always work out exactly as you envisage. The teaching methods they use here are slightly different to back in the UK, and the classrooms are not as well equipped. Despite this the children are eager to learn. I have noticed especially at Fountain of Hope, which is an orphanage school and community centre, the children have so little but have so much enthusiasm to learn and improve themselves.
It has definitely made me realise how fortunate we are to have grown up with a roof over our heads, hot food on the table and, what I have realised is one of the most vital and powerful things any child could have is a quality education.
On Tuesday I was invited by the science teacher to watch their practical lesson. We had to walk around 40 minutes to get to a private secondary school where they pay to use the facilities for their practical work. I have also had the opportunity to visit some of the sports placements and see what the other people I have come out with are doing. It is amazing to see how happy the children and young adults are and how much of a difference this project is making to their lives.
After another week of placement had flown by, we had the weekend to enjoy. There was a female handball tournament taking place at the Olympic Youth Development Centre. We joined the crowd as we cheered on the Zambian team – I wish I had the words to describe the atmosphere, but it is not like anything I have seen at a sports match back home. The locals have so much love and enthusiasm for their team and country, it was an amazing experience just to be there in the crowd. We ended the day with the largest pizza order from Pizza Hut I have ever seen and many happy volunteers.
The Sunday was another unique experience. We ventured into the markets at Arcade to do some hard bargaining, not like anything you would see at your local farmer’s market. You can be walking by and just take a glance and they will delve into the stories of how they have handcrafted their products in their local village. They don’t start by telling you a price either, you must suggest one which you don’t know is realistic or not, and then haggle!
All in all, this has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I have had challenges I did not expect; made friends for life, and made memories I hope to never forget.
Not to mention the creation of Zam-opoly (Zambian Monopoly)!