Monday, 13 May 2013

Zambia 2013 - The BookBus is Back!!

The Bookbus is back on the road in Livingstone, Zambia for the 2013 season!

The first two weeks of project this year have been during the school holidays so we have been running holiday clubs which, as always, attract so many children, the number increasing steadily over the week.
The Bookbus is here!

The two weeks have been very different but with the same fun, enthusiasm and cries of “bookbussy” following wherever we have been.

Week one, we spent at Zweilopili community school in the Dambwa area of Livingstone. This is one of the more densely populated areas of town and many families will be living in one room, maybe the parents are selling at market to raise some money leaving the older children to take care of the younger ones. We were expecting maybe 50 or so on our first day but there were over 100 and by the Friday is was almost 300!! A lot of flexibility and preparation each night from the volunteers ensured that the week went smoothly and no child was left out, despite the huge numbers!

With the younger children we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear and made Bear headbands after being on a “Bear Hunt”. We made 280 sets of lions’ paws after reading “Cats cats and more cats.” Elephant heads and colourful birds appeared after the “Rumble in the Jungle.” The bigger kids read about bears, lions and snakes and attempted quizzes, anagrams and word searches, some even making up their own.

Every day we left accompanied by smiles, waves and shouts of see you tomorrow, but the week sped by and soon it was Friday and time to say bye for the last time during these holidays.

During the second week we were based out in the village of Sinde, only about 15km from town but a world away from town life. On the way to school we have to drive through the national park and we saw giraffe, zebra and wildebeest, not bad for the morning commute!  In the village the families live mostly in mud and thatched homes and there is no running water or electricity. In charge there is a headman, who the volunteers were lucky enough to meet during a village tour, which one of the preschool teachers took them on, so they could see firsthand how people life in these Zambian villages.

Every day we were greeted by kids all along the way, waving and smiling and then running along behind the Book Bus, eager for the activities to start. We parked up outside the village pre-school and soon more children emerged from the bush, we started with about 30and ended on Friday with 150! Word spreads fast when the Book Bus is around. We taught the children under the big trees, dividing the big and small ones and encouraging reading, creative skills and imagination!

On Friday we continued our “Book in Every Hand” program and gave each child their very own book to take home, we had to have some strategic lining up, organised by the big kids, to ensure the children got the right level of book and that chaos didn’t erupt. The children were very excited and it was great to see them all walking off into the elephant grass with their colourful crowns, proudly holding their new book. This is literacy in motion at it’s best!

Kelly - May 2013