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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Day 8 - Firsts and Lasts 0 comments

Our Team:

It’s 5:30 a.m. and the doors start opening, the rooster starts cock-a-doodling, the fires are started, the showers turn on, the red dirt is being swept, the call to prayer is heard and the horns start honking.  Everyday has been the same.  We may not WANT to wake up that early, but this is when the day starts here in Lundazi.  Now that we are getting used to it, we are soon to say goodbye. Tonight will be our last night here at the CCAP guest house.

Today was our last school visits day.  What we have learned and discovered is that each day and each school visit brings something new.  Today we visited Msuzi Primary and Secondary school.  We wondered what more we would or could learn at this school. God provided a new learning yet again.  Today we were able to have rich, personal and professional conversations with our Zambian colleagues.   We met them in their “staffroom” which consisted of tables under a tree as they do not have any indoor spaces built due to budget limitations.  They graciously offered us refreshments that they had purchased out of their very limited budget as a gesture of welcome and an expectation to share stories and resources.  Once again, we were blessed and inspired by them and their amazing hopes, dreams, drive and enthusiasm for the teaching profession, their schools and their community.

 Mphamba Primary and Secondary school was the next and last place on our visiting schedule for our entire trip.  This school had the largest school population that we had seen thus far with over 1000 students. We specifically went there to see the well that was built in the spring.  What has always struck us was how one well can impact an entire community in a positive way, which then impacts their student learning. 

This afternoon we spent time debriefing and filling out our evaluations.  We were given our first traditional Zambian chitenge (skirt) and a farewell cake.  Some of our team for the first time, butchered and plucked our gift of chickens from yesterday’s school visit.  We proudly ate the chicken for supper having a Zambian KFC dinner which included French fries, fried chicken, coleslaw and coke.

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain. (…) Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. – Psalm 127:1a, 3a

These verses from God’s word summarizes some of our ‘whys’ for coming on this Discover and Learn trip.  God needs to be the centre of all the things including building schools here in Zambia.  We discovered and learned that God is real here and is the centre of all the teaching here.  We discovered that the futures of the children of Zambia is very important to the families and communities to be sure that their children will have a better life. 

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Day 7 - Visiting Mwase and Dancing 0 comments

Wow. I do not know where to begin. The words are failing me as I try to come up with ways to describe what we have experienced. How will I convey today to you when there are few English words that would be sufficient? I will do my best though as I tell you.

I will start off true Canadian style – by talking about the weather. The day started off cloudy. It has been a week since we have seen a cloud in the vast Zambian sky, so seeing them today unsettled a few of us, but alas, it did not stop us from hopping into the vehicles to head to Mwase primary and secondary school, 45 minutes away. We were looking forward to driving untravelled roads, as we were getting too familiar with the bumps on the other well-travelled roads. We were introduced to these bumps graciously by our drivers, and before we knew it, we were at the school.

Before stepping foot out of the vehicles, the excitement in the air was palpable. There were enthusiastic students everywhere, streaming out of classrooms, down the paths, from behind the trees to welcome us. If one of us pulled out a camera, or gave a high-five to one of the children, the group of children would grow from 7 to 52 before you could say “Zambia”. It was overwhelming yet wonderful.

We split up into groups and visited the classrooms, where the average number of students in a class would be 45.  Although English is not taught until Gr. 5 here, the children’s smiles and bright eyes communicated to us their joy in having us in their classrooms. After visiting the primary school for a bit, we were brought to the secondary school which was 5 minutes away. There we sat in some classes and took a tour of the dormitories. We then were brought back to the primary school, where we were treated not only to a delicious meal, but by a few presentations of the students, which included poems and singing. It was quite the treat!

There was a village up the road that had invited us to come, as they wanted to welcome us with some of their traditional drumming and dancing. We headed there, and this is where it will be too hard to describe what we witnessed. The dancing by 2 different women’s groups, as well as 2 children left us sitting in awe of their rhythm, creativity and passion. We were humbled by their welcome. This ceremony went on for about an hour and a half; an opportunity for us to enjoy a bit of their culture, and for us to give them much laughter as most of us joined in the dancing, trying to keep up with the rhythm and moves these dancers were doing. There may or may not be a video on YouTube in the near future. We sang to them, choosing "Days of Elijah" as this song inclulded actions - our attempt of dance moves. ;) 

With the ceremony done, and our gifts of cake and 2 chickens from the school collected, we made the journey home in the setting sun with the events of today going through our minds. What a day. It was a long one, but one filled with amazing memories that will never be forgotten.

To see God so evident in the people here in Zambia is humbling and a rich blessing. He is in their speech and actions, as well as in the beautiful, immense land that we travelled over today. We praise our Creator for today and for the people we met. May He continue to bless each of them with Himself and His gifts. We are thankful for safe travels and for the opportunities presented to learn from fellow colleagues. May God bless what we have learned and participated in today, and may it bring glory to Him.

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Day 5 - Unity in Christ 1 comment

Today started in a unique way - a motorcycle “alarm clock” revved outside our bedroom windows, waking most of us up at 6 AM. The noises have been an adjustment for our sleep schedules, but they have also made it so that we sit together in the living area before breakfast, chatting about how we slept, what we’ve been learning, and what the day will hold - and sometimes we all sit, quietly reading. Such is travel with teachers. 

After breakfast, we walked over to an exciting church service. In Lundazi, five different churches meet together for one big ecumenical service. The United Church of Zambia, the Reformed Church of Zambia, the Presbyterian Church of America, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, and the Anglican Church of Zambia all come together at one church to praise the Lord. 

 We were so grateful to witness this unity in Christ — and to be a part of that unity in a small way. At this church service, seven different choirs performed - complete with dancing, audience participation, clapping, and joyful worship. We were choir number six - described by Jacqueline later as “God’s Chosen Frozen”, because of our lack of dancing. We sang “Holy, Holy, Holy” and were delighted to find out that “Holy, Holy, Holy” was the first hymn in their songbooks. That small unifying detail was a highlight of the day for many. We heard a great sermon on Samson and Delilah, second chances, and healing second touches. Our team was impacted by how involved the congregation was in the sermon, with call and response language throughout the sermon. (If you yell “Second!” at any Discover and Learn team member, they should yell “CHANCE!” back, no problem.) 

After this four hour and 15 minute church service (is that an EduDeo record for longest church service in the field?), we walked back to the base, where we ate lunch and rested for an hour - reading books, taking power naps, and chatting. Soon after, Collins came to escort us on a walk to the Lundazi Castle and dam. It was impressive - although a little jarring - to walk through a castle, particularly because it looked quite different than much of the infrastructure we’ve seen. He also taught us about Zambian smiling - like a Canadian smile, but just a little bit more. The dam was beautiful, and we enjoyed being out in the beautiful weather, enjoying God’s creation. 

This evening, we read books, chatted, watched a soccer game at the nearby field, and ate dinner. Our amazing cook, Dorothy, created Zambian KFC - coleslaw, french fries, and chicken. It was delicious, and we are so grateful for her continued care for us through food.  

Devotions continued on the theme of unity in Christ - Teresa led us in a devotion that reflected on Psalm 133, and we chatted about unity in the body of Christ, unity with those back home, and unity with each other. 

We’re grateful for our last two days of rest, but we are excited to be back to visiting schools tomorrow. Thank you for your continued encouragement and prayers as we continue on this journey! 

Psalm 133: 1-3

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore. 


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Monday, July 15, 2019

Day 6 - Visiting Hoya 0 comments

It was another bright and sunny day, but with a slight breeze that cooled us off and tricked us into believing it wasn’t as hot as previous days. We were all pretty excited about today’s school visit. This was partly because visiting schools is what we travelled all this way for, but also because Hoya Day Primary and Secondary School is one of the schools that was able to dig a new well with the support of EduDeo’s Well Project. It was extra exciting for us because many of our schools back in Canada participated in fundraising for this project. And when we arrived at the school, we could see children filling buckets and placing them in a wheelbarrow to cart them away.  

We visited classrooms at the primary school first. We divided ourselves between a grade 4 math class, a grade 6 technology studies class, and a grade 7 English class, where they were preparing to read a selection called “The Waitress is not Your Servant.” The teacher reviewed what a restaurant is and what kind of actions are expected – placing an order and paying, etc, which turned out to be a very good thing because when the teacher asked who had been to a restaurant before, only three of the students in the class had actually been to one.

After the primary school visits, we were invited back to the well to meet with community leaders and members, local children, and school leaders and to hear about its impact on the school and surrounding community. The well, dug in March of this year, has already improved the quality of life of the people using it. Even in these few months, there have been fewer students suffering from diarrhea. Members of the surrounding communities have also benefitted. Although many people still have to walk about the same distance to get water, this well is an astonishing 60 metres deep which dramatically reduces the danger of waterborne diseases.

We visited the secondary school next. Some of us chose to visit a grade 12 math class, others a grade 11 biology class, and still others a tour of the computer lab. The computer lab does double duty as a classroom – grade 9 art and design during our visit. While this is definitely an efficient use of space, it means that the computers are not always available for other students – even if the four desktop and six Raspberry Pi computers were enough for classes of up to sixty students – and that’s if the power is even working, which today, it wasn’t.

We toured the girls’ and boys’ dorms. The girls’ dorm houses seventy girls in the main dorm and an additional twenty-five in what used to be their kitchen – students bring food from home and prepare it themselves. Thirty boys live in the boys’ dorm, so they still have the use of their kitchen. Other boys pay to stay in family homes in the surrounding communities.

Accompanied by students, teachers, and school administrators, we walked down to the stream where the community used to get their water. On the way, we heard about other projects the school is hoping to establish, including a mill on the school property, so they can grind their own maize, as well as raise money for school programs through community use of the mill. Beside the stream was an amazing garden: masses of tomatoes, peppers, okra, and more. This project allows students to develop life skills and helps fund other school programs.

When we returned to the school, we got to hear from the teachers about the challenges they face, often regarding the lack of resources – one English teacher is doing a novel study with her class of seventy students with only one copy of the novel. We got to see something of the creativity of Hoya’s students through a poetry performance by a group of students. The Expressive Arts department had a display of student work – paintings, collages, pottery, and more – all of which was for sale to support the purchase of more art supplies and resources.

After lunch and mingling with our Zambian colleagues and buying student artwork -- souvenirs and supporting the school at the same time – we returned to Lundazi, stopping only once on the way to see another borehole well at a community school.

It was an inspiring, amazing, heartbreaking, encouraging kind of day.

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