This morning we made a visit to the school uniform shop in Chipata which makes the uniforms for the children. Stephen brings them into town from the villages and this is a day out which the children really enjoy, coming from the rural villages into the big town.
We found a small enterprise making sandals from old car tyres and Claire and Caroline with ever an eye for a bargain have made purchases of these. These sandals have good road holding and safe cornering and are very effective in the wet.
In 2015 we helped Makaaza village build a pre-school building which is known as Mercers House after the generous donation from the Mercers Livery Company that made this possible. The pre school is now full of 60-70 small children and due to the distance to the nearest primary school the time has come to look at providing a primary school facility at Makaaza. John has been in touch with some UK fundraisers and has been liaising with the Zambian District Education Board (DEB) who we went to see today. They made us welcome and are interested in this possible future project. The idea is that if we can provide the classrooms etc DEBs will adopt the school and supply the teachers. We met the DEBs Building Officer and he and Chris talked about how to commission and construct the school buildings required. We went with the Buildings Officer to see a similar new school being built by DEBs which is currently under construction in another location, and we hope that this proposed new project will go ahead.
In the afternoon we went to visit Mwazangulu school which when Chris and Claire were last here in 2017 was a struggling community school being paid for as best they could by the village. Zoe helped pay for the roof to be provided on the school building and Mwazangulu has since been adopted by the Zambian Ministry of Education and now proudly flies the Zambian flag. They are also now receiving learning resources from DEBs including new text books and have constructed new toilets.
Whilst we are driving through the bush we see lots of domestic animals like pigs, goats and cows which are all free range and sometimes run into the road. So far we have managed to avoid them all. The Yanga word for a goat is Mbuzi and we saw them again today being taken to market on the back of bicycles.
We mostly drive with the windows down because of the heat which means we are also sometimes visited by what Chris calls “critters” or non-domestic wildlife including crickets, grasshoppers and other creepy crawlies and flying insects. This can sometimes be quite alarming especially when they decide to jump or fly in through the car window and land on your face.
We found out today that Zambia has 73 different languages but the common tongue is English which makes it easier for us to understand and be understood here. Zambian schools teach English as part of the national curriculum in Key Stage 2 and so all children learn to speak, read and write in English.
We had an evening out this evening and went to Mamarulas which is a local campsite run by South Africans who we have known for some years now. They have a friendly Labrador dog called Frankie who likes to stand up on his back legs and eat ice cubes off the bar. Caroline was introduced to Amarula which is an African liqueur from which the campsite apparently bears its name because the mother of the current owners was apparently so partial to it. Caroline is now also partial to it….