Today has been a VERY busy day! We have ticked off quite a portion of our targets and managed to have some really special time with the children.
We started off by going on an orphan hunt, bouncing around in our 4×4 truck we criss-crossed the chiefdom pulling up at schools and homes to find our beloved children. The purpose was to check on their health and wellbeing, seeing as we already had their school reports and had talked through their academic progress with their Head Teachers. It was great to put a face to a name for the newbies in our team and for the more experienced members, it was good for them to see familiar faces. It was quite a scheduled criss-cross as the schools are split into afternoon and morning sessions, and we needed to ensure that we were at the correct school for the correct school period. In most schools, the older children attend in the morning and the younger in the afternoon, though each school does differ.
Stephen shared that school admissions in Zambia used to be subject to a simple test. If the child could stretch their right arm over the top of their head and touch their left ear then they were big enough to go to school… School Admissions is part of Chris’s team back in Bracknell Forest and he is definitely going to include this in the eligibility criteria for applying for a school place back in the UK.
Two more families were interviewed for prospective sponsorship and acceptance onto the Zoe Zambia program, huzzah!!! Wonderful news, and the team are thrilled to be involved in the probable life changing event. The children are wonderful and always seem shy at first until they are encouraged to open up, cheeky sides are then seen 😊
It was an exciting day for Stephen as he was given his very own chauffeur! He was able to relax a little and enjoy being driven around. Caroline very much enjoyed being the chauffeur and bouncing around the red dirt roads all day, and has even considered a 4×4 as her next car in England. Who’s turn will it be tomorrow….. read tomorrows blog to find out!
A huge highlight of our day was visiting Mercers Preschool. We sped along the road to make it in time before the children left for the day and were greeted so beautifully by the children. The team were asked to sit at the front and the children sang several songs which they had practiced to perfection in both English and Chinyanja. How clever for preschool age children! Several children came up to show off their skills, we were treated to colour names, the ABC and each child saying their name and where they are from, all in English. A beautiful girl full of spirit came up and gave the story of Adam and Eve and the rest of the class joined in at several points, although it was in Chinyanja we could follow the story perfectly and it was such a great little performance to watch. After the singing we thought we would impart a great British favourite and asked the children to join in a good old round of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes!! They joined in with us, whether they thought us a little odd is another matter.
Caroline was very much looking forward to this special morning with the children, and it was so good for the team to be able to spend a few hours playing and engaging with the children. Some are shy and some are so funny how they run to the front and make themselves known! As Caroline is a Mummy to 3 little ones she is well versed at toddler group games and so gave a play parachute to the preschool. We spent a bit of time getting children to run underneath and the squeals of joy were delightful! Amy had thoughtfully brought bubbles and the children had such fun chasing them around the playground, tripping over each other whilst trying to get the last bubble before it blew across the bush. It was so funny watching some of the boys run across the playground with the bigger bubble wands, leaving a trail of bubbles for the little ones to pop! Such a soul filling time, the team felt very happy after this experience and Caroline had happy tears!
We are all becoming a little better each day at Chinyanja and can now say simple things like “Good Morning”, “How are you?” and “Thank you”. All of this helps us to get by a little bit and make better connections with the families we meet. Exciting!
Tomorrow is another busy day, with the team splitting in two as there are different agendas to cover, make sure to check the blog tomorrow for more updates.
Animal Of The Day: Pig – Nkhumba
Orphan Total: 38/49
Nshima Eaten: 1