Dwankhozi Update…Wed 6/26

It’s already Wednesday night? This week is just flying by. Well, lots to catch you all up on so let’s not waste any time…

We arrived at the school just a little after 8am and were able to spend the morning observing classes and interacting with students and teachers. Our World Reader team continued to meet with teachers Daniel and Maurice, fine tuning their presentation to the rest of the faculty later in the day. By this afternoon, they had successfully completed the teacher instruction, guiding the rest of staff through the ins and outs of the e-readers, while painting a vision for how they can aid classroom learning.

A student wears a locally made Dwankhozi sweater in class today.

A student wears a locally made Dwankhozi sweater in class today.

During this time, our QAE folks brought 10 disposable cameras to the grade 7 class (no one says ‘seventh grade’) to introduce a project for them. 10 students were chosen to each be in charge of a camera, with one simple assignment: go and take pictures of what’s important to you. Their friends, their family, their home, whatever it is. They will return tomorrow with a full roll of photos on the cameras. With quick lesson on how to operate the disposables, we sent them out, excited to see what will return to us tomorrow. The hope is QAE students will also participate in this project this fall, allowing students at each school to get a window into each others’ lives. How they’re the same, how they’re different. Only the QAE partnership makes things like this possible.

Recognize this handsome young man? It's Martin!

Recognize this handsome young man? It’s Martin! And yes, he is in charge of a camera. If you haven’t seen DH’s video about Martin, check it out at: http://dwankhozi-hope.org/martin-video/

We sat down with the grade 9 students one by one this morning, getting to know each of their names, ages, villages, and dreams of what they wish to become. This is a class full of hopeful doctors, lawyers, engineers, veterinarians, pilots, and accountants. Each student will take their graduating exams later this year, with dreams of moving on to secondary school. We are inspired by the commitment and desire each student shows.

Our trusty bus that has taken us everywhere this week! And bravely driven by the wonderful Moses Masala.

Our trusty bus that has taken us everywhere this week! And bravely driven by Moses Masala.

With many teachers participating in World Reader training this morning, the students had some time to kill together in the late morning. We took it as a chance to…hand out the new backpacks we brought for everyone! Students each received a new backpack (through a type of semi-controlled chaos) in either the purple or orange QAE color. The bright colors looked great on each student, acting as a type of symbol of their connection to Dwankhozi. As we drove away from the school in the early evening, we easily spotted a group of students in those bright purple and orange colors…Dwankhozi sighting! Students were obviously very proud and thrilled to be sporting the new bag.

Apparently the new backpacks also make a great new hat.

Apparently the new backpacks also make great new hats.

Our other morning adventure revolved around…you guessed it, cameras. The novelty of picture taking has not worn off for Dwankhozi students yet (not even close), but today we switched it up and put the cameras in THEIR hands. We gave a handful of students a quick lesson on how use the ipad or camera and let them roam. It was quite a sight to see. Some students turned into professional photographers right in front of us, playing with zoom, filters, and styles of shots. We weren’t sure if there would be any room left on our memory cards when they were done!

What was so cool to see were the pictures of students unfiltered, only around their friends, striking funny poses together and being themselves. There is, of course, a certain level of reservedness when we are here. To them, we always are the novelty Americans with lighter skin visiting them at their school. It’s not a problem, it’s just a fact of life. But when it was a more familiar face behind the camera, these kids let loose and it was a beautiful thing to see.

Students had a blast taking over our cameras today.

Students had a blast taking over our cameras today.

Tomorrow we will have a large community celebration at the school. There will be food, speeches, performances (we hear the grade 9 class has been practicing a traditional dance). Parents have been invited to come and we are humbled by the love everyone here has shown us. We’ll also get a chance to sit down with the Dwankhozi teachers and meet together about how this school partnership can continue to grow. Yes, you’re right, tomorrow’s blog post is one to look forward to.

I wasn’t sure if there would be a sunset picture tonight, but wouldn’t you know it, this was staring us in the face as we pulled into the hotel parking lot. Bedtime once more in Zambia. Goodnight.

These sunsets just see to keep finding us here. And you know what? We're not mad about it.

These sunsets just see to keep finding us here. And you know what? We’re not mad about it.

Comments

  1. Enjoying these blog post very much! Looking forward to seeing the pics the students took and hearing your excitement in first person and watching you transmit that excitement to our QAE students when you all get home.

  2. Mark and Becky says

    Wow! So excited to hear these amazing stories! Beautiful photos…nice camera! 🙂

  3. linda cutshall says

    Thank you for inviting us into your world through these posts. Keep ’em coming! Prayers for you all.

  4. Christie Stabelfeldt says

    I love the smiles you are telling us about. Thanks for letting us feel like we are there with you all.

  5. Hello to all of you!! Beautiful pictures – in words and photos… I like how you noticed that when the Zambian kids are behind the cameras, the subjects present and pose in different ways. xo

  6. Heather Lakefish says

    This has been so much fun to follow along on this beautiful trip! We look forward to the next post. Thanks for letting us virtually travel along!

  7. Molly Meck says

    So excited to hear more. What beautiful pictures.

  8. Karen Gigliotti says

    Really enjoying these posts!! Every time I finish one, I can’t wait for the next. Such an amazing experience for all!!

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