It’s Monday 23rd June 2008 and Get On Your Bikes

It’s Monday 23rd June 2008 and Get On Your Bikes

This past weekend we had some exceptional guests staying at Kawaza Village – 3 guys and 1 gal who are cycling across Africa raising awareness (and money!) for difficulties faced by communities and conservationists across Africa, Cycle of Life. They have partnered with Tusk, Centrepoint and PACE to create a unique experience – for themselves as well as the many people they have met along the way. Welcomes are of several types varying from open mouthed shock, great hilarity, dancing and shouting at a bunch of white people on bikes (more usually seen in the back of car). Cycling into communities has allowed the team to meet some fabulous characters who may have been missed while passing through in the luxury of a vehicle.

Just after our cycle trip around the schoolsTree planting

After facing a few mechanical problems through the corridor road between North and South Luangwa Park, they arrived at Kawaza to the harmonious sound of the school choir. After catching up on some well needed sleep the Kawaza School and Village had an action packed day planned for the team. It started with tree planting for the Reforest Nsefu Project, learning about the Kawaza School Fund, explaining to the community what “Cycle of Life” is all about as well as spending time with the kids and community learning about their feelings towards the wildlife that surrounds them. I even joined them on a short cycle trip to visit the other schools – to the great amusement of everyone (especially when my skirt became caught up in the brake pads). They were off to Chipata on Sunday and are cycling north through Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya. Good luck and safe travels to Barty, Jess, Craig & Chris. (more info from a Telegraph article)

Pumping waterPlanting more trees

The Kawaza Volunteer house has been very busy – not only were we visited by the Cycle of Life team we also had our first volunteer at the school – Brenda Edwards from Canada. I asked her to share her experience with us … over to Brenda:

I had the very great honour of being the first volunteer to live in the lovely new “volunteer’s house” at Kawaza when I taught at Kawaza school in May and June. What an incredible experience that was for me! From the moment that I arrived I was greeted warmly by everyone. Constance took fabulous care of feeding me and keeping our little house spotlessly clean and caring for my every need. She also became a great friend and went out of her way to introduce me to as many of her family and the local villagers as she possibly could. She taught me as much Kunda as my poor little Canadian brain could handle and constantly exclaimed “Brenda, you make me laugh” when I shocked her with some new cultural idiosyncracy or stubborn trait.

Constance cleaning fish for dinnerGrade 6 at Kawaza

The teachers at Kawaza were fabulous! Each and every one of them went out of their way to assist me and I look on many of them as friends now. No matter how many times I protested that I was “not a teacher” but a lawyer at home and really not suited to teaching the Zambian curriculum, they simply smiled, offered words of encouragement and handed over the textbooks and told me what my next assignment was to be! So… I “taught” everything from Grade 6 social studies to Grade 2 English to Grade 9 Mathematics and all sorts of other things in between. What a challenge! How I wished that I could speak Kunda and that I had the gift for story telling and dancing and singing that the teachers do! They make learning so much more interesting and exciting to the children.

Brenda teachingBrenda and lots of  students and teachers

I eagerly watched the girls as they practiced netball on a daily basis and then cheered them on when they met rivals from a nearby school and was ecstatic when they emerged victorious. Much picture taking occurred and the girls were delighted by that! Equally exciting was the boys victory in soccer (oops, that’s football in Zambia isn’t it!) again more picture taking occurred).No matter where I walked or wandered I was always followed by masses of children who constantly asked “what’s your name? how old are you? where are you going?” over and over and over again…. I was never alone and never lonely! I was cared for, accepted and welcomed every step of the way.

Netball matchSoccer match

When it was time for this “not a teacher” to go home, the school threw me a wonderful going away party, complete with purple toilet paper decorations, dancing, food, drink and a going away gift presented by the teachers. I was moved to tears. The children sang and danced and I carried away memories that I will cherish for a lifetime!”

Thanks Brenda! Ann Curtis is arriving later this week and will be joined by Erin Houlihan for the first part and her daughter Hazel for the second part. Lots of action at the school this (northern hemisphere) summer.

Cheers for now

Elephants drinking - Alex Paul

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