“Okay boys, take a couple of minutes to get some water and we’ll go again!”…
I landed on the 12thof July at Lusaka airport full of excitement. I was ready to spend six weeks coaching in a different country, living with 18 people I had only met once.
I met JP (Hub Site Coordinator) and Sarah (Project Manager) whilst waiting for the rest of the group to get through immigration. We all piled into a minibus buzzing to get to the house. Driving thoroughly M’tendere for the first time was an experience and everyone couldn’t believe we were finally here.
Waking up on day one was exciting; we headed out to collect our sim cards and then watched JP play basketball for Munali Suns. Everyone was getting on so well, laughing and joking throughout the day. Sarah and JP have made everyone feel so comfortable and they created a great vibe within the group from the outset.
Tiffany’s Canyon was AMAZING, the weather was fab and the views over the lake were amazing, Mae was straight off the diving board followed by most of the boys. The higher diving board was a little scary (even for JP) and Alexa was amazing and finally took the plunge and jumped it with me. Sunburnt and tired we headed back after an incredible day at a beautiful location for a quiet night before the big day – INDUCTION.
Everyone woke up excited to discuss the placements with their peer leaders and mentors. Meeting the Zambian volunteers and peer leaders made everything so real, finally after 7 months everything has fallen into place. There were good vibes throughout the day especially when playing Zambian games with everyone!!
On day three the group headed out on the Sport in Action bus to the different placements we would be coaching at. Music blaring from Dec’s speaker, everyone was in a good mood with excitement filing the air. All the placements were so special; Kabwata, Fountain of Hope, Chipata, Munali, M’tendere and K-Town!! Playing with the children at each site and learning about each other’s sites was spectacular.
Day one of placement was nerve racking but exciting. JP, Claire and I headed to Chipata crammed into a tiny bus. Everyone was super friendly to us asking ‘Mwuli Bwanji’ meaning ‘hi how are you’ in Nyanja. Heading towards dusty Chipata was amazing with kids shouting ‘Muzungo’ and holding our hands whilst we walked to our school. JP was great with making Claire and I comfortable by showing us the hub schools and introducing us to all the important people we would be working with during our 6 weeks. After getting back from a long, tiring day – everyone was in such a good mood and couldn’t stop talking about their special first day at placement. The games were in full swing after dinner with the group feeling extremely settled and with everyone getting on so well it was amazing.
Day 2 of placement was amazing! I taught PE with Claire at Chipata Open singing so many songs and playing many games such as Mango Tree and One day, One day!! I also met my peer in the afternoon, an amazing football player and coach called Pasfic. She was motivating and inspiring and is such a lovely person. The two teams I am coaching are fab, the boys are super talented and are such a great group. I already felt like I was their coach and thoroughly enjoy playing and coaching them.
Chipata is such a special place and Claire and I already feel very connected to the community and children we are coaching. Although, I was super excited to get home on Friday night to come back to the house for the fab Texan BBQ that JP, Tom and Jamie cooked for us, the group all ate outside with the music playing and it really felt like everyone was becoming super close and enjoying the opportunity and experience of being in Zambia. Such an amazing first week with the best group of people and a wonderful placement site with great kids, I can’t wait to spend the next 5 weeks with everyone and making such amazing memories I will never forget.
Georgie Yeabsley (Durham)