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Presentation Sisters Union                          News Update June 2009                             Print Version                          

Sunday, 24 May 2009: After  a great night’s sleep we got up at 7.00 a.m. to go to 9.30 Mass.  We walked the dirt road to the parish church with Rita and the children.  The Mass was a great experience.  It was two and a half hours long with wonderful dance and songs.  It was like nothing we have experienced before.  We felt very welcome and watching these wonderful people celebrate Mass really refreshed us.  It was so spiritual.  We loved the way Mass was less formal than in Ireland, people were lively and enthusiastic and participated fully.  Overall we got a very positive impression of the Zambian people and how they respect their religion.

Monday, 25 May 2009: Today we met with Mrs. Beatrice Nosiku, Principal of Kaoma Community School.  Beatrice is one of the teachers who travelled to our school in April as part of the World Wise School Partnership Project.  We were  very pleased to see her as she has become a very good friend to us all.  She brought with her tomatoes from her farm and the beautiful drought resistant crop, cassava (ground nuts) and also spinach.

Beatrice outlined what she would like us to do in school. We will start on Wednesday and we are so excited and grateful for the opportunity.  Accompanied by Beatrice we walked down to the local market in search of crafts.  On our walk we were truly horrified at the poverty we saw along the way. We had a beautiful lunch of roast chicken plus Beatrice’s tomatoes and cassava.  After lunch we washed our clothes in the back yard.  However our orphanage friends were not impressed!  They decided to give us a lesson in clothes washing!  Rather uncomfortable for us but we did pick up some tips our mothers (and fathers)would be proud of ! Then our favourite part of the day came once again when we played with the beautiful children we have met here.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009: Again today we had an early start - we were eating breakfast by 6.30 a.m   The bus arrived an hour late but we have learned that this is typical for the relaxed Zambians. After 40 mins we arrived in Kabanga and met Patricia.  She is the community development worker organizing Home Based Care for HIV patients and also the programme for the OVCs (orphans and vulnerable children).  We were warmly welcomed by some of the orphans studying in the local school who performed a story for us in the community hall. The hall was restored and redecorated with the aid of funds from Pres Carlow.  We too shared our songs and dances.  Our entire group was moved when the  teacher expressed how amazing it was that students like us from Ireland would be concerned about and visit a people so far away in the bush area of Zambia and he thanked us warmly.

Then we continued our crazy mini bus journey through sandy roads and grass fields to the school in Kandende.  We met with Vincent, the Headmaster and we were overwhelmed by the welcome we received form the whole school body.  The children performed amazing songs and dances in the dusty yard.  We expressed our appreciation by playing some music and dancing the Walls of Limerick.  Today we got a real insight into Zambian culture as they had prepared a fantastic meal.  It was a great experience to eat with our hands in the Zambian way.  We felt so privileged as Vincent thanked us so graciously for the money we gave them to rebuild their school which had been burned down.  We found it really hard to accept the gifts they offered us in a dance procession.  Our bus was packed with bananas, watermelon, ground nuts, sugar cane an so on as we left.

We were all shocked to see the farm Patricia set up for the HIV group as the wattle huts looked to us like something from the stone age.  That people can live in such conditions in so secluded an area was a serious wake up call for us.  One of the Home Based Carers told us that it took her one and a half hours to walk from Kabanga to the farm.

The journey itself was eventful as the food on the roof fell off a few times and we got stuck in the sand once or twice.  It was like “Little Miss Sunshine” - we all pushed the bus and hopped on again!!

Overall everyone has had so much fun today and more importantly we know where our money goes and how grateful the people are for our support.  We all felt inspired when we realised that what seemed like very hard work during the year was minimal really compared to the results achieved.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009: Today we paid our first visit to Kaoma Community School where our friend Beatrice is Head Mistress.  We arrived early for our formal welcome.  Again we were overwhelmed by the song and dance and warmth and excitement.  They sang their national anthem and we did likewise.  Claire played the fiddle and we also danced and sang. Then we moved to the classrooms for our teaching.  We worked in pairs and did some art work.  They rarely do art and craft and they were so excited.  We really enjoyed the teaching and the day was so fulfilling.

Thursday, 28 May 2009: Today we had a lie-in until 6.45 and were woken by Fr Liam’s version of “Who Let the Dogs Out” !!  We walked 20 minutes to the local church to meet the “Youth Alive” group.  They explained their programme of peer education around HIV/AIDS and the message of abstinence and fidelity that they share. We all felt that the work they are doing is amazing and it will certainly help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

We then walked 50 minutes to Kaoma Community School for our second day of teaching!  The sun poured in as we

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