I am pleased to announce that we have survived our first two weeks at the school! That’s pretty melodramatic but they have been tough; we were given some teaching resources (a few books for English, Maths, Integrated Science and Creative Technology), so we’ve been spending considerable amounts of time pouring over books and online resources when we’ve had the Internet, noting ideas, topics, songs and making lesson plans. Teaching went a lot better in the second week as we were more prepared and therefore able to make some progress (finding a bag of counting cubes made my week…), but we’ve still found it pretty challenging and exhausting. Most of the children have such a basic grasp of English that they simply can’t understand instructions, and some were fairly illiterate to the point of not being able to use a pencil. Still, we have persevered and I have had some rewarding lessons involving basic addition, animals, food, weather etc. Play-doh went down especially well (and none of them ate it which is often the case… Or was that just me?), and they have done some lovely colourings which I’ve put on the walls. The school was painted in the holidays and the walls were totally bare (it would be unheard of to get the books, posters, desks etc out of storage before term starts…) so having a nice colourful alphabet up makes a big difference. We are really looking forward to the new teachers coming though; it’s difficult to really help the kids that are struggling at the same time as managing the whole class so hopefully this will improve when there is two of us.
We have had some domestic triumphs too; enough rat poison has been devoured to make us think at least three rats have been killed, but we are still visited by one or two every night so the conquest continues! We’ve done so much cleaning, sorting and reorganising now that we’ve really made the accommodation ours now which is great, it’s much more pleasant to be happy with where you have to live. Some good friends of ours leant us their truck to do our shopping with; driving a large beeping truck over eight foot wide potholes, some of which are two foot deep, and braving the absurdly dangerous driving of the Zambian main roads was quite an experience, but very fun! We also babysat their children and stayed at their lovely house in the which was a nice change, as was having the first hot shower we’ve had since we arrived!
Later in the week we had the brilliant experience of no running water for three days; again our friends came to the rescue by letting us do some washing (two weeks worth!), shower and cook whatever we wanted whilst they went out to dinner. We made American style pancakes, savoury cheese ones first, followed by cinnamon pancakes topped with natural yoghurt and apples cooked up in brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. I’m being honest when I say it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten! The water eventually came back on and we also know how to get hot water now, yay. I will definitely appreciate being able to wash up and flush the toilet a lot more when I come home!
The weather has also been quite nice recently (the rainiest month is almost over so it should be getting gradually better), so we explored the grounds around the school. They’re very pretty and well kept, with lovely flower beds and trees, so we could sit outside on a blanket reading in the sun which was very relaxing. We’re also hoping to start horse-riding lessons nearby, perhaps in exchange for helping out at the stables, which is very exciting as we’ll be able to do some horse-riding safaris when we’re travelling! So things are definitely looking up and we’re feeling more positive, long may it continue!