The first week of the second school term in Zambia is over and we have had a mixed week of previously visited schools and new schools, of large crowds of youngsters and small classes of big kids, of books that are old favourites and brand new ones. The volunteers have come from England, Scotland, Wales, USA and Germany and have ranged in age from mid 20’s to late 60’s! The one thing they have in common is a love of books and a desire to share this passion with the children of Zambia.
The first week of term is always slightly chaotic, the teachers seem to need a few days to get going, the children have to sweep and clean the school (no caretakers here!) and school fees have to be paid or the requirements brought in. We began the week at some of our established schools and the pupils and teachers were very excited to see the Bookbus back in their communities.
On Thursday it was time for a brand new school, Simoonga Primary school is situated about 15km from Livingstone in the village of Simoonga, on the way to Sinde village where the Bookbus has been visiting for the past year. The headteacher of the school approached me last year to ask for inclusion on our programme, so he was very happy when I arrived at school to ask if Bookbus could start visiting.
We have been driving through this village for months accompanied by the shouts of “one book, one book!” So now hopefully the “one book” village as it is known will be able to benefit from the resources of the Bookbus both in term time and with a holiday programme, featuring the Book in every hand scheme.
We worked with grades 5 and 6, each class having about 40 pupils. They were intrigued by the yellow shirted m’zungus and our books and activities. We began every group with a globe and a few stories about the countries that all the different volunteers came from. The children were eager to see and it was great to witness them all crowding round the globes and the books. Hopefully over the next 5 months these kids will become more confident readers and will get used to being creative and imaginative. Both the class teachers were really happy with the sessions and loved looking at the books themselves. Another good partnership is underway.