Dwankhozi Update…Mon 6/24

First full day in Zambia…check.

We woke up this morning with much more energy, anxious to finally visit Dwankhozi Basic School. And honestly, words can hardly do justice to our time there with the students and teachers (sidenote: I would include more pictures in these posts, but our flaky internet connection only allows for a small handful each night before bed). Regardless, we want to give a small glimpse into our day today:

The Dwankhozi sign off the highway. English majors: don’t freak out. The alternate spelling is interchangeable here in Zambia (but be honest, how many of you actually caught it the first time?).

We arrived at the school sometime after 9:00am, although students had already begun their day at 7am (yep, 1st-9th graders). Immediately we were welcomed by the faculty, and were so glad we fought through our tiredness the night before to have a meal together. Sharing handshakes (a special kind here in Zambia, be sure to ask us to teach it to you when we return) with friends felt so natural, rather than meeting for the first time then and there.

We toured around the school, checking out all the classrooms as teachers taught lessons (for some reason, students seemed less focused on the lessons when we walked in). We then got a chance to sit an observe some classes, with some of our QAE teachers stepping in to help teach from time to time!

Students can hardly contain their amazement as Katie shows them how to take pictures.

Students then break for lunch around 12:40pm (most of whom don’t have any lunch to eat), have an hour of self-directed learning/studying from 2-3pm, and then are often assigned various tasks from 3-4pm (cleaning, recreation, etc). During these breaks, most students were very interested in checking out our cameras, posing for pictures, and seeing themselves on a screen.

QAE Principal David Elliott drew quite a crowd this morning…

Can you guess which one is the Principal from QAE Elementary?

A handful of parents prepared us lunch at the school, and we ate traditional Zambian food with some of the teachers. A traditional meal consists of: a big slab of Nshima, a cornmeal-like product that you break little pieces off, flatten them in your hand and use as your silverware (we’re trying our best to use forks as little as possible during these meals, it takes practice!), some kind of meat, rice, and a vegetable-based dish. A-mazing. Let’s just say we haven’t lost any weight as group yet.

 

Today also gave us a chance to see the ever-present needs of Dwankhozi Basic School firsthand, and continue meeting with teachers and faculty about how our community can help meet those needs. We are particularly excited for the beginning of the E-reader training tomorrow with our World Reader friends, Zev and Kimmie. Zambian Project Managers will be trained on the ins and outs of the Kindle, so they can continue to be a key resource when we leave at the end of the week. More on this project as it unfolds over the next few days.

Students strike a pose for the camera.

At the end of the day, all of the students gathered together and sang beautifully together about how “we are happy in our school” now that our group had arrived. Each of us also formally introduced ourselves to students, although some names were a little more difficult for them to catch on with: Renee was a little tricky and “No, not neck…it’s Nick.” David Elliott then stood and shared a few words about the vision for this partnership between schools: students learning about a world outside of their own neighborhood, each community teaching the other about education and values, and dreaming a little about how this partnership can evolve in the future.

Beth and Moses were especially rockstars today, spending hours and hours in the car driving to Malawi to pick up our luggage while the rest of us stayed at the school. Everyone give them a cyber high five!

Kids play soccer until the very last drop of light disappears.

Kids play football (soccer) until the very last drop of light disappears.

And there is another beautiful Zambian sunset to end with. Things we’re excited for tomorrow: distributing QAE-colored backpacks to every student, donating medical supplies, introducing “Forver Futbols” (see last week’s post), beginning World Reader Kindle training, and much, much more.

Bedtime in Zambia. See you here tomorrow.

Comments

  1. victoria nunes says

    *tears* If they’re that excited about taking pictures, I cannot wait to see their faces when they get the backpacks and futebols!! Loving this blog. Thanks for taking the time at the end of your busy days to do this!

  2. Alden and Beverly Harris says

    Hi Nick and all of your team…loved hearing from you…sounds like you are busy and enjoying wonderful experiences. The kids are adorable and I’m sure love having all of you there.
    We’ll look for more blog entries…great job !!!!

    Bev and Alden (G & B)

  3. Love! The picture of Katie! I’m feeling the children and your joy here in Seattle!

  4. We’re following your travels from Los Angeles… such good stuff! Prayers and love for each of you and all those you greet. Anne & Dan xo

  5. Sounds like you’re off to a great start (despite luggage)! Loving the posts Nick! Prayers for the remainder! Lots of love from the Olmsteds!

  6. LOVE these update! Praying, praying, praying…..

  7. Absolutely fantastic! The picture of Katie and the kids is amazing. I want to see the pictures the kids take – will there be a photostream?

  8. Becky and Mark says

    Wonderful blog, Nick! Thanks to everyone for all you are doing for Dwankhozi! We continue to look forward to your posts. Maria is excited to hear back from her pen pal!! Hope she is doing well!
    The Russo’s

  9. Kari Minas says

    Looks amazing, so fun and good to see a different reality than ours. I think we all wish we too could have that firsthand experience!

  10. Wonderful to read the blog, Nick! Took Eric and I a while to figure out this was you (our neighbor from Blaine Street). Ava and Reed are thrilled with the stories of the trip so far and happy to know you are part of the adventure! ~The Sandersons

  11. Kristin Teske says

    I got a little teary looking at these pictures. Knowing you are giving the same thoughtful energy and love to children in Africa that you give to our kids here, makes me all warm and mushy inside.

  12. holly detels says

    We love hearing about the trip and how much joy you are experiencing and bringing.

  13. Sooooo exciting!!! Thank you for everything you’re doing! I wish I could’ve gone with you! Thank you for the posts! Can’t wait to hear about what you see and learn! Please tell everyone that I send big hugs (if they remember me)!

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