Two new schools are on the Bookbus Livingstone timetable this year and both have proved to be great additions over the past 6 weeks. Both are community schools but one in located deep in Livingstone’s Dambwa compound and the other is almost an hour’s drive through the national park in a remote village. Last week on the drive to school we spotted 3 zebras and a giraffe, now not many people can say that on their daily drive to the office!
Indeco community school is located in Dambwa and is housed, believe it or not, in the former Livingstone abattoir. It has around 200 pupils and 4 teachers and has mixed grade classes that are taught in the big hall. Here we have met some of the most dedicated volunteer teachers I have encountered. They have real passion for their job and for the children in their care. Whenever we are teaching they are always around, joining in and doing some of the activities themselves. Last week one of the grade 7 boys beat his teacher on completing a quiz and word search based on comparing Zambian and the UK. Needless to say he was very happy!
We have been doing a lot of map work over the past month because we have had so many different nationalities on board. Already this year we have had volunteers from England, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, China and Brunei. It certainly makes for very interesting lessons and discussions at school.
Last year in the summer holidays we visited the village of Sindi for a week and this year their school, Twabuka, has become one of our regular schools. It is very interesting for the volunteers to see the difference between town and country life. All children here come from homes without power or water. There is a water pump in the centre of the village for all their daily needs but many have to walk far to fetch and then carry home this precious commodity. Almost all homes are traditional mud and straw constructions and one hut may house up to 10 family members. Driving through the surrounding villages we are greeted with a smaile and wave by absolutely everyone from the tiny dusty toddlers dressed in rags to the old women cooking. There is a real sense of community out here.
The head teacher at Twabuka is one of the most forward thinking I have met in all my time with Bookbus. He has obvious respect from all the pupils and people in the village and he has very clear ideas about the best way to assist children to learn and the challenges teachers face within the Zambian education system. He is passionate about his job and about encouraging as many children to attend school as possible. In the villages, education is not seen as a priority, especially for girls. We have been on several walks around the village with him and he has explained so much about the hardships facing people living in rural areas of Zambia. Last week we were even invited for lunch after lessons and the volunteers had their first taste of nshima prepared by 2 of the teachers and served with many vegetables and extremely fresh fish caught that morning in the Zambezi.
This is a part government, part community school. 3 teachers are paid for by the government and the rest are volunteers, although the school runs a very successful chicken business, selling eggs to nearby tourist lodges, and then using the money from this to pay the teachers a salary. Helping schools that are already looking for ways to help themselves is immensely rewarding.
We are all really enjoying working with the enthusiastic pupils and staff of both of our new 2012 schools.Kelly June 2012