What you'll find in this Blog:

What you'll find in this Blog:

*Posts by students and faculty (when we have Internet!)
*Our itinerary (right-hand sidebar)
*Links to people and places we visit (below)
*A news feed from the Zambia Times (bottom of page)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

July 14, 2012

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hello parents,
            Sorry we haven’t blogged in a while. Our last week here in Zambia has been filled with donations, goodbyes, and packing. Let us begin where we left off. When we returned from safari, we were greeted with a pleasant candle-lit dinner at the bar at Pioneer Camp. As a result of our twelve hour road trip, we were hungry and extremely tired, so after stuffing ourselves with steak, chicken, and spaghetti Bolognese, we immediately hit the sack. Luckily, on Tuesday morning, we were able to sleep in before a day of shopping. We headed out into Lusaka at around noon and traveled to Northmead market, our final market stop on the trip. Once there, we purchased our last round of African crafts and feasted on Nshima. Of course, being a group of hungry teenagers, our absence for a week warranted yet another trip to Shoprite (the local Zambian grocery store-think Costco, but downsized). At Shoprite, we stocked up on Cornflakes, vegetables, and goodies to bring home to our families. While we were shopping, Josie and Izzy went to Nando’s, a European chain which happens to be the favorite restaurant of Niall Horan (the Irish member of One Direction). This was a very special moment as Nando’s does not exist anywhere in the United States other than in Washington, D.C., and they had been dying to taste it. The food was excellent and exceeded their expectations.
            On Wednesday, we got to sleep in again!! What a nice surprise! We awoke from our slumbers at around 9 in preparation for a shoe drive at the Waterfall Clinic, a small local clinic located at the bottom of Palabana Road. We walked to the clinic and organized the shoes which we brought to Zambia based on size. Children from the surrounding area were already lined up outside the doors of the clinic by the time we arrived. When the shoe drive began, children entered the clinic one by one and each Seattle Academy student helped each of the children find a pair of shoes that fit and that suited them. We were able to give shoes to all of the school children, but we very unfortunately had to turn away many of the local children as we ran out of shoes quickly. When the shoe drive was over, we had to close the doors of the clinic and we distributed pens to the children who were not able to receive shoes. Before we left, they sang us a traditional song and we all sang the Zambia national anthem together. Finally, we said goodbye to the children and walked home for some relaxation followed by dinner. After dinner we had a discussion about our experiences at the clinic. The day was very emotional, especially for those of us who were in the clinic when the local children had to be turned away. We all felt good about helping these children, but the experience was definitely overwhelming.
            On Thursday, the early mornings returned. We got on the bus at our usual time of 8:00am and headed out to Birdland for our last day with the kids. At around 10:00 the assembly began with us singing the Zambian National Anthem. When the Birdland kids joined in the second time, a few of us broke down in tears. Then we sat back and watched an adorable song performed by the kindergarteners and impressive dance, news report, and debate performances done by some of the older kids. Then a group of us got up and sang That Lonesome Road, which the Birdland community seemed to thoroughly enjoy. Finally, during the last dance performance, the children came up to us and dragged us onto the dance floor (Olive even grabbed Jack for a dance!). We were reluctant at first, but we all joined in and ended up having a lot of fun.
            After the assembly ended we stayed back because the teachers apparently had something else to present us. They called us up one by one and presented us with chitengues, bracelets, paintings, jerseys, handmade crafts, and other lovely gifts, which was completely unexpected. We were so grateful and touched by their generosity and kindness. After that we went and grabbed the clothing we had donated and then handed it out to those considered the “vulnerable” children at Birdland. These children are typically children who are orphans or who have HIV. We each presented a child with a bundle of clothing and then chatted with them for awhile. For the rest of the day we played with the Birdland kids for the last time and then had to say goodbye. When we said goodbye to the younger kids they swarmed us and showered us with hugs and kisses. Leaving them was especially heartbreaking because they did not fully understand that we were not coming back. The ride back to Pioneer Camp was pretty quiet because we were all sad and exhausted from the emotional day. But there was no time to rest, as we had important guests to impress at dinner that night. Olive, her husband Phil, and their two children came to the cottage at Pioneer Camp for dinner, and we had a full course meal planned to thank them for welcoming us into the Birdland community. We spent the afternoon cooking tomato and mozzarella bruschetta, mulligatawny soup (a recipe that Josie brought from home), homemade pesto pasta with grilled chicken, salad with caramelized nuts and fruit, and peach/pear cobbler with vanilla ice cream for dessert. Gigi arranged beautiful center pieces made from flowers, candles, and African warthog figurines. The evening was a success, as Olive and her family left with full stomachs. Although we know that the meal wasn’t nearly enough to thank Olive for everything she has done for us on the trip, we all felt that we had managed to communicate our appreciation in our own way.
            On Friday we woke up at our usual time and headed to Birdland (not to see the kids, unfortunately) to meet up with Olive and go see the houses that we provided cement floors for. First, however, we presented the Birdland teachers with thank you cards and gifts of clothing, which they greatly appreciated. Then we hopped on a bus with Olive and Olipa to go to the houses. We were all so amazed to see the finished cement floors in the first two houses and the progress that had been made on the second two houses. It warmed us to see how grateful everyone was for our help. The cement floors will help prevent chest infections caused by dust, will be nicer to sleep on, and will not get damp or wash away in the rainy season, so they are clearly an improvement on the dirt floors that had been in the houses previously.
            After visiting the houses we received our handmade goodies from the tailor (which we are all so happy with), said goodbye to Birdland for the last time, and headed up to Munali. At Munali we were greeted with great enthusiasm from all of the students. We received hugs from practically everyone and then got to just hang out and chat with them for a few hours. Spending a solid chunk of time with our Munali friends was a great way to end our time with them and remember them. Once again, we eventually had to say sorry goodbyes and received may more hugs before heading back to Pioneer Camp. We had our last walk down Palabana Road, which was as beautiful as ever, and our last meal at Pioneer Camp, made by the superb cook team of Carly and Sam.
            Today (Saturday) was our last full day in Zambia,L but it was a very pleasant one. Jack, Sam, Reed, Tommy, and Gabe woke up at 6:00am to do a polar bear swim in the cold pool while the rest of us slept in a little later. Most of us packed when we woke up and then lay outside reading, tanning, chatting, or listening to music and soaking up the last bit of Zambian sun. In the middle of the day we did a writing exercise where we each wrote a letter to ourselves which Tommy will give to us some point in the next year at school. After writing the letters most of us went up to the pool and a few of us jumped in one last time. Jack also demonstrated some of his lifeguarding skills, using Leora as his test dummy.
            At around 5:30 we headed out to a Brai (barbeque) a few minutes away from Pioneer Camp. Paul (the owner of Pioneer Camp) drove us out to a field where we played keep away with a soccer ball until the sun went down and then had a dinner of Nshima with either vegetables, chicken, t-bone, or pork cooked by Paul on an open fire. We enjoyed eating our last delicious dinner under the stars huddled around the warm fire.
            Now, we are back at Pioneer Camp, blogging at the bar for the last time and enjoying the company of the dogs, Paul, and Alfred. Tomorrow, we will wake up slightly earlier, pack up our last few things, and eat an English breakfast at the bar before heading to the Lusaka airport and beginning our long journey back to Seattle. Our flight out to Ethiopia leaves tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 pm. We will arrive in Addis Ababa at around 10 pm, and we expect to go through immigration and then head to our hotel for a good night’s sleep. On Monday morning, we will wake up, walk around Addis Ababa, and have a nice lunch (hopefully with Reed’s family friend) before embarking on our long flight back to the United States. Of course, we won’t actually be home in Seattle until Tuesday night, but don’t forget to come pick up your kids at 9 pm at Seatac airport on Tuesday night (July 17th)!!!! We are not looking forward to our long and sad flights, but we are very excited to see our families when we arrive. Can’t wait to see you there!!! Thanks for keeping up with us on the blog, and we will see you soon!

-Izzy and Josie            

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Guess who's back????

Alice: Hello world! It’s us, a group of 11 teenagers and 4 adults, back from safari! Huzzah!!!!! We had such a good time! I’m running out of my allotted exclamation points because we’re so enthused and happy!!!!!
Grace: Okay no more exclamation points. You’re only allotted three more.  On another note, we really did have a lot of fun. Let’s get to it with some highlights:
Alice: We had such a good time that a blog post describing all of our fun would be never ending and not allow Grace and I to sleep tonight, so this is the highlight reel which will be followed by a surprise.
Grace: We met our friends/safari guides/adventure leaders, Adri and Hendrik at Pioneer Camp to lead us on our adventure. I cannot simply mention Adri and Hendrik, they were the best “guides” ever but they were more than just “guides”, they were our friends and a crucial part of the trip. We drove allllllllllll day and reached the McBride’s Camp at 11 pm.
Alice: We were at the McBride’s for three nights. One night of which was spent at the McBride’s Fly Camp which is a two hours long boat ride away. The McBride’s Camp was so cool, but the actual McBrides are so interesting. If you get the chance, please look up husband and wife, Chris and Charlotte McBride. They’ve lived such amazing lives so far.  Chris took a liking to Tommy and only referred to him as Sir Thomas. He also immensely enjoyed Sam’s clothing. In fact, he brought Sam to Charlotte and said, “Charlotte, I need something like this,” as he pointed at Sam’s clothing.
Grace: Some of the things we did at McBride’s: early morning game walks, long boat rides where we saw elephants and hippos, hearing lions at night from our tents, night game drives, loooooooong walks back from the Fly Camp, and a slideshow of Chris’ work.
Alice: One of my highlights includes seeing a mom leopard and her baby on one of the night drives.
Grace: On the other night game drive we got to see a sevet. Which is a cat like animal with spots similar to a leopard.
Alice: On the 3rd, we left McBride’s. My journal entry for that day is rather short as we spent the whole day driving. We arrived at the Itezi-Tezi dam where we would be camping for the night. We arrived at 8:30 and ate the best meal of safari yet, that included grilled chicken, and delicious mashed potatoes.
Grace: Aaaaand don’t forget the fake soy chicken, which was bomb. The next morning, we woke up and saw some hyrexes around camp. Hyrexes resemble giant hamsters. They’re totally weird. We left Itezi-Tezi and began the most adventurous car ride yet. We drove through Kafue National Park and all the cars were subject to a tsi-tsi fly invasion.  When we stopped for lunch, one of the safari cars was covered in tsi-tsi fly bugs, as a sign of our victory.
Alice: The bigger car was a very different story. We kept all the windows closed so that no flies could have the opportunity to get in. The car was a sauna. Everyone was dripping in sweat. It reminded me of a hot yoga class.
Grace: We stopped for lunch at Nanzhila campsite where we discovered that our trailer was broken. We decided to forego driving for the day, stay at Nanzhila for the night, and fix the trailer.  
Alice: We woke up the next morning and began our drive to the Waterfront Campsite, which is really close to Victoria Falls. We drove all day and reached the Waterfront at night. After setting up camp, we all decided that we needed a change of pace, so we all jumped into the freezing cold pool. It was awesome!
Grace: The time at the Waterfront was our first time since the start of safari, out of the bush. It was strange to be back in ‘society’.  We all felt like we were staying at some Pirates of the Caribbean hotel in Disneyworld.  The next morning we woke up to a show of vervit monkeys creating havoc. Alice loooved it. Jokes.
Alice: Hecka yeah I luhhhed it. We hopped into the safari trucks, renamed Mock Charge and Threat Stare, and headed towards the Zambia Botswana border crossing.
Grace: From the border crossing you could see Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia.
Alice: Typical us, we missed the first ferry which the trucks were on and had to catch the next one. The ferry was unlike any ferry in Seattle. It was small, flat, and could only contain about 4 cars.
Grace: Once we arrived in Botswana we went straight to our boat tour through Chobe National Park. Our guide, Lets, lead us to crocodiles, birds, hippos, and elephants. We even saw an elephant cross the river in the sunset. It was beautiful and all of us have PLENTY of wonderful pictures.
Alice: While on safari, we’ve discovered that our whole group has an affinity for taking ‘selfies’. Selfies are when you hold the camera out in front of your face to catch you and your surroundings in one photograph. The name selfies comes from the fact that you’re taking a picture of yourself.  There were MANY selfies taken with the animals in the water. They’re quite comical.
Grace: After the boat three hour boat ride, we went to our campsite at Senyati Hills Safari Campsite. We arrived just after sunset and we set up camp in the dark. After another delicious meal we headed off to bed to the sounds of a kill. Apparently a pride of lions had caught something where then a group of hyenas wanted to mooch. This caused a huuuge uproar which then upset the elephants and monkeys and practically everything else in the immediate area.
Alice: After practically no sleep due to the noise, we woke up the next morning and headed to Chobe National Park. While we boated through Chobe the day before, we got into the car and drove through the park. We saw lions, elephants, impalas, kudu, guinea fowl, giraffes, water buck, and warthogs. We drove all day and saw all sorts of amazing things.
Grace: We spent another night at Senyati Safari Camp and the next day headed back into Zambia to visit Victoria Falls. The falls were incredible and we were all soaked by the end of our time there. The falls are so massive and powerful that it was raining upwards from all of the pressure.
Alice: After touring the falls we went to the adjacent market where we tried our best to haggle with the locals. After being removed for so long from human interaction we were all sadly taken advantage of and were ripped off.
Grace: We spent one last night at the Waterfront and then drove back to Pioneer camp.
Alice: And now for the main event! The 1st Annual Safari Awards!!!!! And now, in no particular order….
Safari Awards:
Gabe: MVP
Gabe is a superstar. He’s always on his game and knows exactly what to do and how to do it. Gabe’s the one who will always be there when you need a lil joke or some nice words to make you happy.  The safari would not have been the same without him. Gabe, you’ve done so much work for us to be here, we appreciate every bit of it. You’re the best!!

As mentioned earlier, selfies have become a trend among everyone here, but Jackson Gode’s selfie skills have surpassed everyone’s skills. We watch in awe as Jack takes selfies with fellow trip members, in front of Victoria Falls, with friends from Birdland, and with dangerous animals in the bush. Our favorite Jack selfie moment from the trip occurred when he was practically hanging out of the boat to get a selfie with a crocodile. As a professional selfie photographer, he was totally safe (I promise Mrs. Gode!).

Alice Flood is absolutely terrified of the monkeys. Exposure therapy hasn’t been going as smoothly as we had hoped seeing as she was nearly reduced to tears at Victoria Falls when the baboons would not move off the path. Fortunately she had a big group of muzungos (white people in chnyanga) to help her out, and we are sure that she will be able to conquer her fear.

We all were told that there was no way that we’d be able to stay dry at Victoria Falls, but Gigi and her super raincoat proved everyone wrong. The top half of Gigi’s body was completely dry by the end of our walk through the falls. It was rather impressive.

We all were trying our best to spot animals on safari, but no one could surpass Reed who was the first to find all of the elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and more on the trip. Seriously though, a safari isn’t a safari without some hawk eyes.

Everyone who is anyone knows that Carly is the best in the business when it comes to jewelry, but Chris McBride was recently exposed to her talent. Although he called her “Chadwick” until he learned it was Barwick, he really took a liking to Carly and her talent. Chris was super enthused with the prospect of Carly’s jewelry business and as a token of gratitude for his support, Carly made a bracelet for Chris’ wife, Charlotte.

Samuel Edward Sparer Zieve is destined to walk the runways in Paris, Milan, and London. With his special trademark, his cheekbones, there is no ad campaign that can refuse him. Calvin Klein called Pioneer Camp and asked for Sam’s resume. Being the caring boy that he is, Sam refused the modeling contract so that he could hang out with the pupils at Birdland. Whatta boy!

Josie Parks is a true athletic superstar. She even went on a few runs before 6 o’clock on safari, but the most epic Josie moment occurred when she beat EVERYONE up the path from the basin of Victoria Falls. The path up is incredible steep and strenuous for even the most fit muzungos. But Josie dominated and unfortunately had to wait for 15 minutes at the top for the rest of us to finally catch up.

We arrive at a campsite late at night. We’re all sitting around the campfire as Gabe lays out the ground rules for the campsite, but before we’re allowed to leave, Sonja states, “I don’t mean to scare you, but….”The following phrase depicts the fact that either a cobra was spotted in the campsite years ago, or last year a crocodile roamed camp at night, or something else of the same nature. She has good intentions and we now know that her ‘precautionary’ tales are never to be missed.

Hendrik: BEST CALM
Hendrik is the most laid back person in the world. Once Leora put her chair on top of his bare foot (by accident) and sat down, his response being “Ow. That is my foot” while continuing to cook. We all thought that nothing could break his calm but one night around the campfire a honey badger tried to break into our food supply and Hendrik sprinted across the campfire screaming “Honey badger, honey badger!!” we all had a good laugh.

Not much to say about Adri’s food besides that it was amazing. We had more food each meal on safari than we have ever had at Pioneer camp! Everything from spaghetti, to amazing salads, to post roasts, to custard with fresh fruit. We miss Adri and her cooking now that we’re back at Pioneer Camp and I’m sure we’ll continue to miss her at home too.

Day three of safari. We haven’t showered since we left Pioneer. Everyone is walking around talking about how dirty we are, but all chatter stops once Grace shows off her feet. Grace’s feet are awesome. Dust coated her feet in cool patterns. We all have pictures of intricate designs on her epidermis. Unfortunately now that we’re back at Pioneer Camp, her feet are clean L

Thomas Adams, Tadams, Thomas (TOE-MAH),  Taaaaaahhhh Meeeeeee, Tommy, is a great guy. He also happens to be super coordinated and loves to break out the dance moves whenever he can. My favorite move of his is the head bob/upper body spasm, while the arms sway at awkward angles. Imagine someone trying to get a kink in their neck and you have the Tadams Dance.

Leora eats, as she likes to put it: everything. Leora eats, as we like to put it: anything green, organic, and sugarless. From the start of the trip we all knew she would have plenty of snacks to munch on considering most thought her snack bag was her clothing bag! Without our girl Leora, we all would have been without cranberries in our oatmeal, almonds in our muesli, and much MUCH more.

As we left for safari, Izzy pulled out a new book, but not just any book. On safari, Izzy ventured into the world of the Hunger Games. If you haven’t heard of the Hunger Games, you’ve been living under a rock as everyone on this trip loves the Hunger Games. And now, Izzy has joined the majority of us as a huuuuge fan.  Izzy loved it so much that she was pacing herself, making the book last longer.  The debate about Peeta vs. Gale vs. One Direction is soon to ensue…

Grace and I have come to realize that you don’t really know Emma Paige Yuh Coleman until you’ve heard her English accent. Over this safari we’ve all caught a glimpse of the real Emma. The Emma that engages in spit wars with Jack, mini brawls with Alice, native Zambian dances, and a tumultuous relationship with her Uglydoll, Brad. Besides all of these things, Emma’s English accent is our favorite as it tends to come out during long safari drives as Emma begins to lose her mind. It’s great.

Mercy likes birds. No. False. Mercy LOVES birds. Whenever we’re driving and there’s a bird on the side of the road, we have to pull over and get some pictures of it. Sure there’s a huge elephant on the left, but THERE’S A FLOCK OF BEAUTIFUL SPARROWS ON THE RIGHT. HURRY ADRI! PULL OVER!!!!!!!!

As mentioned earlier, Brad is Emma’s stuffed animal, but since the beginning of the trip we’ve all fell in love with him. We’re all so in love with him that we’ve created a game where we hide Brad all over the place.  Emma loves to find Brad in the bathroom at McBrides, taking selfies with Jack in Chobe, hiding in the fridge, and hanging on the clothesline. Unfortunately, Emma and Brad decided to end things together as Brad was, “too clingy.” We considered throwing Brad into Victoria Falls and burning him on the 4th of July to say goodbye, but we forgot him. We’ll let you know if we give him an epic goodbye…

We’re so sorry this post is so late. As you can imagine it took awhile to write about ten amazing days in one post. 

Thank you, and Goodnight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Much love,

Alice and Grace

Friday, June 29, 2012

Our days here have been busy but also rewarding and exciting.  In
addition, the students are doing a superb job of extending themselves
wherever we go.  We could not be prouder of them all!
       Mornings here typically start with a bowl of cereal eaten outside on
the verandah, listening to the sounds of Africa –the unmistakable call
of the Cape turtledove, the twitterings of various other species, the
mooing of nearby cows, and the occasional calls of local children
setting off for school.  For the earliest risers there is the wonder
of watching the sun come up over the nearest hill, slowly topping
those quintessentially African umbrella-topped trees.  Dawn here at
Pioneer Camp is nothing short of magical.
       Our first week, as you no doubt are aware, was spent at Birdland
School, where the Head treated us to several traditional meals of
nshima with sides (relishes) of chicken, tilapia, visash (pumpkin
leaves cooked with a peanut sauce), and much, much more.  Students
gamely tried it all and, in most cases, loved it.  Again, it has been
an example of the very adventurous spirit of this group.
       Interacting with the Birdland pupils is always one of the highlights
for the group.  On the first day they helped the seventh graders get
started writing short stories.  Their help was invaluable since the
children are accustomed to learning by rote and found it hard to
invent plot and characters.  However, they were very excited to each
receive a notebook of their own in which to record stories.  In the
process of working with the children, many bonds were forged.  For
example, a little boy named Blessings fell in love with Josie and Izzy
and wrote them a special letter telling them more about himself and
declaring that they were his BFF’s (best friends forever).  Jack also
received several similar letters, and no doubt others in our group
have received some I am unaware of.  This past week whenever I have
gone down to the Birdland campus alone, children come up to me, asking
“Where is Jack?  Where is Carly?  When are Reed and Gigi coming back?”
 You get the picture: the youngsters adore each and every SAAS
       We had an amazing experience visiting the families of four recent
graduates of Birdland.  These were children that the Middle School
Zambia Club specifically supported this year by paying tuition for
them to continue their education.  All of them lived in the poorest of
poor compounds.  In each case the families had only dirt floors in
their huts/homes.  Particularly moving was the grandmother who was
single-handedly raising five children.  She earns a few kwacha by
crushing rocks, a brutally hard form of work.  A painful injury to her
leg, which was still very swollen after some weeks, has kept her from
working.  She feeds the children by gleaning from others’ garden
plots.  Our contribution was to pay for the cement for all four
families to put down a decent floor on which to sleep.  Perhaps the
most sobering aspect of it all was to see the excruciating poverty of
these homes and then to meet the children in the context of school,
where they looked just like any other student dressed neatly in a
uniform.  It made us wonder just how many of the children we see every
day go home to such difficult circumstances.
       Although I have not been personally involved in the technology
training at Munali this week, it appears to be going well.   Both Gabe
and Mercy have commented on how effectively the SAAS students work
with peers who have had very little exposure with computers.  They are
kind and infinitely patient.  Just yesterday they had a chance to
teach some computer skills to the Special Needs students at Munali,
which can be even more challenging since they must communicate in sign
language.  Yesterday outside the computer lab I watched Sam, Reed,
Alice, Grace, and Emma either individually or collectively carrying on
conversations with students in sign.  Sam even managed to sign the
national anthem!  Our group comments repeatedly on how sweet these
particular Munali students are and they have requested as much time as
possible to continue engaging with them.
       Visiting St. Clare’s Church last Sunday was another highlight.  Leora
particularly vocal loved the nuns’ singing.  As it turned out, our
long-time friend there, Sister Lilato, had composed one of the
beautiful liturgical pieces herself.  After the service, we were
welcomed as a group and then individually greeted by every single
member of the congregation!  Sister Lilato visited with us afterwards,
and Gabe and I managed to meet again with her yesterday evening.  She
is one of the loveliest people you could ever hope to meet, and so
intriguing with her perfect English.  Yesterday I asked her about that
and learned that she had gone to school with mostly white children
since her parents were well educated and her father had been involved
(presumably with whites) in collecting data on the impact of tse-tse
flies on local cattle.  When I asked if it was difficult being in a
white school, she winked and said, “No, but then I worked hard and did
very well!”  She has a wide range of interests and is very active in
the local community, occasionally even taking on various
bureaucracies; for example, she seems to have extracted a promise from
some official to actually pave the deeply rutted road that is
thoroughfare near the church!
       On Saturday we head out on safari, for which we are incredibly
excited!  We all send love and greetings to friends and family and of
course look forward to sharing more once we return from safari.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I’m Back!

It seems that blog writing has taken a backseat for most in our busy schedule but seeing that I had some downtime I decided I would write the blog for the second day in a row.
Today we woke up and had our earliest pickup time of the entire trip (7:30). It almost felt like a normal school morning but luckily we had a bit more fun in store. For the second day in a row we visited Munali Secondary School to do more computer training with the Munali monitors.  Because of the amount of students at the school it splits its schedule into morning and afternoon classes. The more advanced students go to classes in the morning and the less advanced students go to classes in the afternoon. Because the monitors are evenly dispersed between all levels we held our first session from 9-11 and our second from 1-3 in order to accommodate for all monitors.
For the first hour of the training we work on teaching the students touch typing. Many do not have the daily access to computers like we do so they are not often able to practice their typing skills. We started this part of the training with a short presentation by Mercy and then taught them about the home row keys and some of the other easy letters such as h and e. Some of the exercises we did included blind folding the students and then reading the exercises to them in order to make sure they were not cheating and looking down at the keys as they were typing.
For the second hour of the training we listened to another presentation by Mercy about internet safety practices.  (In short, there is no such thing as a free Ipad on the internet.)  Second we started the training that we will be doing with them for Microsoft excel programs. This included measuring everyone’s height and wingspans and starting to enter the information into a data sheet. We did the same thing in both of the Munali monitors trainings.
The final training that we did today was with the special needs school at Munali. We spent about an hour and a half at their computer lab doing more touch typing training and then we started teaching them about the parts of a letter and how to format one correctly. Mercy, Gigi, and Grace led the charge being some of our more advanced sign language “speakers.”
Another highlight of today was the visits we made to the campuses “tuck” shops. Tuck shops are basically snack shops that are available to the students throughout the day. They are basically the SAAS equivalent to the Chatterbox but in my opinion the snacks are much better. Some of our favorites were the popcorn (Emma and Jack), the meat pies (Gigi), and the fried pastry dough (Jack, Carly, Mercy, and many others). We were graciously introduced to these by one of our friends Joshua (a monitor from Munali last year).
Reed has recovered from her illness but is continuing to watch her wheat intake in order to keep her immune system healthy.
Right now most of us are huddled around the T.V. watching SPAIN hopefully BEAT Portugal. We’ll keep you updated with more blog posts and we leave for safari in (3) days!!!!!
Shout out to Yaniv Shier! It’s me Jack from your Spanish Class!

Over and Out!
~Jack a.k.a. Rabbid Cat

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday, June 26th

Dear Families,
To tell the truth we are all exhausted. The week has been incredibly busy already and there has been hardly any down time to rest.  Reed has been feeling a bit under the weather (but Andrea don’t worry she is doing fine and her condition is improving). Jack hurt his back scissor slide tackling Sam and is enduring some well deserved back pain. Unfortunately we are all going to have to wait to the safari  (4 days) for some time of relaxation.
Now we’ll talk about the exciting news.  Today we waited an hour for our bus because of a communication between bus drivers. Then we went to Munali High School and started our laptop training sessions. We did a couple of ice-breakers with the student monitors (similar to student facilitators at SAAS) and then we shared power points that we had worked on together as a group.  Carly and Reed did a Native Animals PowerPoint, Sam, Gigi, and Josie talked about the Olympics, and Emma and Izzy shared information about the extracurricular activities found at SAAS. The power points by the monitors at Munali consisted of information about Zambian customs, tourism, and the recent championship at the African Cup of Nations. Finally Mercy taught the students about the correct ways to “baby a laptop.” All in all it was a decent day and we are looking forward to wake up at 6:00 tomorrow morning…NOT!
Shout out to the Godes, Barwicks, and Charlotte Leblond.
A very tired and grumpy Jack and an extremely attractive Carly

Monday, June 25, 2012

Well hello there again!
It’s been a while! Unfortunately, Jack and Sam were too wrapped up in their soccer game to blog so here we are filling you in on the past 2 days.
On Saturday the 23rd, we went to the Munali High School eager to see the kids and take a field trip. To our surprise, the kids were all dressed up (one of our friends, Lolanji, was wearing 8 inch heels. OY!)  when we were told that this would be a very casual outing. After chatting for a bit, we boarded 2 Munali school buses and managed to fit 40 people in each bus along with cases of soda, drums, and a sound system. People were smushed 6 to a row when there technically were supposed to be 4… Although we all had our moments of claustrophobia, it was an efficient way to get close with people (in more than one way).
On our way to the game park, we were able to see a different part of Lusaka. We passed the industrial district and saw families (including toddlers) crushing and selling rocks on the side of the road for construction purposes. Although we were all aware of the severe poverty, it was eye opening to experience it in person.
Finally, after 2 long hours (we got lost and had to take a detour), we reached our destination. At the gate, the guards boarded the bus and took a head count. Although many saw this a normal, Sam believed it was a way to later check if anyone had been eaten by lions while visiting the park.
While waiting for lunch to arrive, most of us went on a ride around the park and saw zebras, buffalo, weird birds (Grace thought they were African chickens), kudu, antelope, impala, and wild tires. There were mixed feelings about the park. Our deaf friend, Limbikani, was terrified that he would get eaten alive by the lions while others, including Enock, wanted the lions to poke their heads the bus and say hello!
Lunch was still not there so we decided to start the program. Sam and Carly (yes, the 2 most talented vocalists in the group) were randomly chosen to sing for everyone. Their choice song? Call Me Maybe. Tendai, the coordinator of the outing, sang Killing Me Softly while Gabe and Tommy sang backup harmonies. We were also excited to watch the performances which were also narrated in sign for the deaf. We watched plays, poetry, dances with traditional (but revealing) clothing, and songs and plays from the deaf. By the end of the performances, we had all been pulled up to participate in the dances and embarrassed ourselves with our white moves. I guess we’ve got some learning to do! Afterwards, people stripped into their bathing suits and jumped in the pool.

Lunch finally arrived at 3 pm and the portions were as large as our heads. There was pork, chicken, coleslaw, pasta, soda, fruit, two different types of rice and potato salad. Despite the large portions, we all managed to finish every last crumb on our plates.

After a long day of activities, the ride back was surprisingly peaceful and pleasant. We arrived back at Munali, said our goodbyes, and headed back home as the sun started to set.

NEXT DAY (aka today, Sunday the 24th):

Today was a mellow day. We had a late start and got dressed in our Sunday best. We walked to Saint Clare’s and attended a once-in-a-life-time church service. It was full of traditional songs with drumming, dancing, and harmonic parts. Saint Clare’s had beautiful brick walls and large windows allowing the light to shine in. We listened to the priest give a sermon in Nyanga.  Afterwards, we gathered in the courtyard outside the church and mingled with church goers and one of the Sisters. Some of the kids from church walked back to Pioneer Camp with us as we made our way to lunch.

After a quick bite to eat, we loaded the bus and drove down to the Arcades; an open air craft’s market with several rows of shops and stalls. We shopped for an hour, bargaining with the local merchants, succeeding some of the time. Our favorite item was the 100% M’zungu t-shirt. The largest purchase of the day came from Sonja, who bought a 40 pound wooden elephant after much bargaining. While the hecklers were not as intense as some in other countries, our bargaining skills were put to the test and we had to be aware of scams.

Just before our dinner of burgers and sweet potato fries, the power went out and we were forced to eat in candlelight (very romantic I know). Our group discussion was held in utter darkness, an interesting way to reflect on the day’s events. But alas, power came on a mere 40 minutes before the kickoff of the England-Italy game, so Sam, Reed, and Josie did the dishes in record time (22 minutes to be exact) and rushed over to the bar where we are now enjoying this thrilling match. Allez England!

Tiza Onana,
Grace, Leora, and Sam

P.S. Happy Birthday Carol Spare! Sam loves you!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wrap-up of Week One

Highlights from June 22nd, 2012:
  • Making Alphabet books with Kindergarten class
  • Leora getting locked in the bathroom
  • Eating caterpillars
  • Playing with kids at recess
  • Meeting Alex, Aaron, Joyce, and Gift
  • Jumping in the pool
  • Tea time

June 22, 2012
            The day started off in the usual way. We woke up and went to the Birdland school around 8:30 this morning. Jack and Gigi planned an activity for us to do with the Kindergarteners at Birdland, which involved making alphabet books. We began by greeting Olive Mumba, and then Alice, Grace, Carly, Sam, Reed, and Emma worked with the Birdland seventh graders on continuing their short story projects in writing groups. Unfortunately, many of the kids were absent because they were at the school field training for sports. They taught the seventh graders how to write stories based on prompts, and then how to critique the stories written by their friends. Generally, they were very successful and the students worked well. Meanwhile, the rest of us were working on preparing construction paper and tape for the alphabet books. Once all the preparation was complete, we began to work in the kindergarten classrooms. We split ourselves into two groups and began to work in two different classrooms. We asked the kids to pick a letter of the alphabet from the pile of construction paper letters which we had previously compiled, and then we asked them to draw pictures of words which began with the letter that they had picked. At first, we had some struggles. Some of the kids were shy at first, or they were not able to recognize some of the words. As they got more comfortable with us, and as we received help from the teachers, we were able to complete the project successfully.
When we finished the project, we had our “tea time” break. The cooks at Birdland school provided us with tea, traditional Zambian cookies, and corn porridge, which were all delicious. However, during our snacking, a catastrophe occurred. Our dear friend Leora went to the bathroom in the Birdland kitchen and she got trapped inside the stall! Using her wit and agility, she climbed to the top of the toilet, opened the window, and cried to the cooks (luckily stationed right outside) for their help. Using their strength, the cooks freed her from the stall and she was able to rejoin the group just in time for recess.
It is safe to say that everyone had so far some of the most fun on this trip today at recess. After we had our tea break we went out on to the playground just as the kindergarten through third graders came outside for lunch. They came running out of their classrooms and greeted us with hugs and high fives and we proceeded to play with them for at least an hour. Izzy and Reed played with the kindergarteners on the slide and the merry-go-round. Gigi, Josie, Leora, Sam, and Grace played games with the older kids such as tag, hide and go seek, red light/green light, Simon says, duck duck goose, and then some of their fun singing/dancing circle games. Since it was a half day, the students got out of school at 12:30, so we eventually had to end our play and say goodbye. We were sad to leave them because we are not going to see them for two more weeks! Watching the kids get picked up by their siblings and parents at the end of the day was a great experience. As Gabe said, “It’s like watching the cars come to pick kids up from the Temple, except better!” We all cannot believe how sweet, adorable, and happy these kids are, and we know already that leaving them to go home is going to be so hard!
While most of us were on the playground with the little kids, Grace, Alice, and Emma were talking to Aaron and Alex, who were two of the students that we funded to go on to grade 8. They really enjoyed talking to the boys and said that it was nice to just sit and have real conversations with them and felt that they got to know them better than if they had just asked conventional questions.
After playing with the kids we were hungry so we went back into Olive’s office to eat our sandwiches. However, in the middle of our eating, Olive mentioned that in her culture when one takes out food and begins eating it is custom to share with those around you. Jack and Leora immediately offered their food to her, and she accepted some dried fruit. Olive told us not to feel bad about it, but we appreciate learning something new and will make sure to act differently next time. After we stuffed ourselves with sandwiches, Olive told us that the cooks had actually prepared a lunch for us, which was waiting in the kitchen. Of course, we were grateful for this offering, but we were already so full that we were unable to eat as much of the food as we had eaten in the past. Today’s Zambian meal consisted of Kudu meat, pork, rice, vegetables, and of course…Nshima! A true African meal could not be complete without something even more exotic. Today, we all tried fried caterpillars. The overall consensus was that the caterpillars were salty and the taste resembled that of tortilla chips. The meal was delicious as usual, and we certainly tried new things. We also established a new motto, a twist on the original teenage slanf term “YOLO,” which means, “You Only Live Once,” and usually justifies taking risks and having new experiences. Tommy suggested that we change this motto to “YOGZO,” meaning “You Only Go to Zambia Once.” We plan to use this motto throughout the duration of the trip, especially when tasting foods like friend rats and caterpillars! But we do hope that we will be in Zambia more than once, as we have already become very attached to the people and to the culture here.
We ended the day with a beautiful walk down Palabana Road and then Jack, Sam, Carly, Josie, and Reed (pulled in by Jack with her clothes on) jumped into the pool and we practiced the Zambian National Anthem (which we will perform for Munali tomorrow). As we write this most of us are at the bar watching the Germany/Greece Euro Cup game.
A special note to our parents: don’t worry, One Direction is working its way into many of our conversations, one of our bffls at Birdland – Blessing – even knows What Makes You Beautiful and we got a video of us singing it with him! I bet you now know who is writing this…
All in all, it’s been an AMAZING first week here in Lusaka. It is great to have our close friends nearby, and we are becoming even closer as a group as time goes on. Zikomo for reading!!!
Lots of love,
Izzy and Josie