It’s Monday 19th October 2009 and Katapilla rises up!

I have been trying to get my word in about the new school, Katapilla, but with so much news I keep missing the slot. This time…..many thanks to everyone for the donations that have come in. I am delighted to announce that we have received US$25,429 over the last three months. We still have a further $44,571 to go to finish the basics for a school (a 3 classroom block, 2 teachers’ houses) so if you forgot last time……please donate to help me finish off the buildings.

Katapilla School new classroom block going upStarting the new computer/library at Kawaza

The status of the building….the foundation and slab are in, and the walls up. Roof next. There is a race against the rain as we have to complete the project by the end of December. I hope to have it ready for the new school year. We have received a specific donation to build a computer/library for the senior years at Kawaza and we are also starting this. Someone seems happy about it!

Staying on the school/community front….

Its Monday 13 July was the first newsletter written by Lise, a French intern working at Kawaza. Here is her follow up……

“A stunning experience: volunteering for Robin Pope Safaris, under the Kawaza School Fund in Zambia – Part 2″
By Lise Broussard

“Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The end of my internship has arrived and I can hardly describe how I feel to leave this magical place –
Kawaza! The Kundas! The Valley! … I will carry in my heart your names and sing your songs.

I have had the most beautiful experience I could have ever dreamt of. I believe that my work here went further than “evaluating the impact of the tourist industry on the local economy”. What I learnt is that it takes all the communities in the Valley to work towards the same goals: sustain the wildlife and the environment! It takes time, tolerance, communication and patience.

Among other things, I see now that without basic education (which is sometimes taken for granted in Europe) the understanding of other environments and cultures can be a burden. What do you do when you have nothing and you must make a living with just a few crops? Some people say “they are used to this”. When the elephants come at night to destroy your trees and eat your only crops stored in the granary, there is nothing worse than this and eternity will never tame fear. Animal conflict is a real problem and tourism can fill the gap, at least reduce the tension.

I spent four months in Kawaza, mainly working with the school fund and the cultural village. The kids are willing and hope for a better chance

you always have fun with the childrenAbel - a strong member of the Kawaza School teachers team

The Fun Run

The South Luangwa Conservation Society organised the first community day/fun run in Mfuwe, on Saturday the 1st August 2009. This was a wonderful amazing day. The camps and the community took part in a 10km charity run. All the local game camps got together to pay for the prizes for the winners. The place was crowded! Expectation and excitement filled the air… everyone must win! When the starting alarm rang, the crowd started off faster than I would start my usual 4 km morning jog! Through my torment, someone caught my eye. This was Abel, a 17 year old boy, the conductor of the Kawaza Choir. What a voice! He is a sweet, polite and educated young man! Abel was running today, with flip-flop’s and a tremendous will power.

Abel won a prize K50 000! (10$) which he was going to use towards his next term fees. He was happy, even with the few minor injuries (which you can imagine running within a stampede). He came in 20th!

The day was fantastic, gathering schools, communities of the whole Mfuwe area. School dances and art competitions took place. Kawaza School won the first price for art. Traditional dances all along the day were being performed.

 

Kawaza Village Traditional dancesJo explaining the new systems to the new non excutive board and the village committee

 

What is responsible tourism?

During the second half of my stay at Kawaza, I concentrated on bringing full transparency into the Kawaza Village Tourism Project. The systems that had been set up ten years ago at the start were long forgotten. It has been amazing to see how the members of the project and the community have been supporting these changes and how concerned they are to bring transparency into their future. In co-ordination with Jo and the village committee we developed a full accounting procedure in order to make sure that all accounts are transparent. We now good systems again and also a non executive board who will audit the project every 4 months. Kawaza Cultural Village is now fully transparent again!

Jo and member signing the revised constitutionLise with the members of the Kawaza Village

The cultural village needed support, ideas and external intervention in order to boost and “freshen” the project. I wanted to make sure that the changes I suggested and introduced would not be too far from the local vision. I spent three months observing and introducing a few notions of responsible tourism. This was a dynamic process which took observation on my side and one month to implement through meetings and trainings. This was made fruitful, as the village has a strong core of willing members who are very keen in running this project and offering visitors an authentic experience. The Kawaza Village Cultural Project has seen my intervention as an opportunity for them to improve their services and catch up with their original goals.

Kawaza School teachersRodwell with members of family (and others!)

I would particularly like to express my gratitude to Mrs Jo Pope. She offered me the incredible chance to do my internship within her fund, at the heart of her company. I would also like to thank the whole community who allowed me to live amongst them and for their trust and support in improving their village tourism.

Lastly, I am grateful to have seen that luxury tourism represents a great opportunity for local development at grass root level. If you go to Kawaza, please give my love to everyone in the community; tell them that “Lizzy” is carrying with her the sound of their songs, the happiness of the moments we shared together.

Thank you! Zikomo! Lise.

Fonscena and her five childrenRaphael Mwanza in front of his home

I miss Lise – such a great dedication to the work she did with the community. But for me…..her timing was perfect. It forced me to address a number of issues at the schools and the village for which I had been “too busy”. My plan for next year is to develop a wider reaching community project run full time by someone. Lise made me realise how crucial it is to have 100% focus on the work. But more on that later…..so meanwhile the building goes on as the storm clouds will soon gather…..do donate if you can.

All the best

PS – help needed! We are looking for a name for the new project. Kawaza School Fund is no longer relevant as we currently work with four schools and next year this will increase to over ten. Working title is “Luangwa Community Project” but that is dull and not sparky enough. I thought of “Luangwa Action” but was told it sounded too military. Any ideas? Send whatever comes to mind. Thanks.

 

many blocks to be made!

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