July 15, 2019

Day 6 - Visiting Hoya

Discover & Learn Zambia HANDS Team:

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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