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Presentation Sisters Union                          News Update June 2009                             Print Version                          

taught the Zambian girls Irish dance!  They were very eager and quick to learn.  We danced until we were ready to drop!  After lunch we played with the children; this has become our favourite part of the day.  Before supper we got a chance to wash our hair!  Such a treat even though we used a bucket and dish and cold water.

Friday, 29 May 2009: Every day is so full of adventure that it is difficult to describe them because it not easy to put our feelings into words.  This morning after breakfast at 6.15 we set off on our 45 minute walk to Kaoma Community School.  Today was Sports Day, so we were looking forward to seeing the similarities between Kaoma Community School Sports Day and the Presentation College Sports Day!

Firstly, the students lined up to sing the National Anthem.  We were surprised to learn that in Zambia, before each sports event, the students get a talk on HIV AIDS.  Even after the first race it was obvious that the Zambian students athletic ability is far superior to  the Irish, even in the heat of the Zambian sun.  The first race was the  Irish teachers with Fr. Liam and Sr. Jo against the Community School teachers and Fr Liam came 1st – or 2nd - we’ re not sure!  Mid morning the teachers provided us with a lovely picnic  which we ate under the shade of a tree.  We left at 1.30 as the long jump competition continued.  We had a quick dinner after our long trudge home, followed by a very short rest.

Then we piled into a mini bus and  headed off to visit a women’s co-op.  These women support themselves  by weaving, keeping poultry and farming.  They are now in the process of building a shelter for women who are suffering domestic abuse and also a home for orphaned teenagers.  We spent the rest of the evening playing with the children in the orphanage.

Saturday, 30 May 2009: Today we had a lie in until 10.00 a.m.   It was our first rest day, so we spent it playing with the children.  At 4.00 we made our way to the High School where we played soccer against their girls’ team.  We were out for revenge because in 2006 the same team annihilated our boys team!!!  When the final whistle blew the score was 0-0; then the two teams went head to head in penalties.  Revenge was sweet as we won 5-3!  We finished off the evening in our usual way – playing with the children until supper at 7.00 pm.

Sunday, 31 May 2009: This morning we rushed to Church for 9.00 a.m. Mass but it was nearly 10.00 before it began!  It was Pentecost Sunday, so it was longer than the usual 2½ hour Mass.  It began outside with a procession.  Mass is so enjoyable here - everyone celebrates through dance and song.  It’s a strange sight to see a priest dancing on the altar!

We were invited to participate with an English hymn and also a Prayer of the Faithful in Irish. At the end of the Mass we were welcomed officially as by now we are a familiar sight in Kaoma and everyone knows about us.  All in all the Mass  was an unforgettable experience  and nearly impossible to describe.

In the afternoon we went to Boys Town.  This is another of Sr Molly’s orphanages, set up for 40 boys.  It was obvious that the boys were delighted to see us.  They sang some Zambian songs and treated us to an ABBA medley!  They showed us around the farm and the gardens which the boys themselves cultivate and are so proud of - and deservedly so.  Then we played soccer for a while. Tonight we had a party in Judith House, where all the children live.  It was to celebrate Sr Molly’s 70th birthday.  The children had put so much effort into the preparations and were so enthusiastic about performing for us and once again we were very humbled.  It was an extremely busy day but so enjoyable

Monday, 1 June 2009: On Monday we paid our official visit to Kaoma High School where Mr. Pythius Tembo is Head of the Geography Department.  Kaoma High School is also our partner school since Pythius’ visit to Presentation College, Carlow in April of this year.   Sr Angela Brennan also teaches in the school.  It was good to finally set foot inside after walking past so many times on our way to the Community school.

The welcome we received was absolutely unbelievable.  Most of the school’s 1700 pupils were packed into the Assembly Hall, which was decorated  with  Irish flags and posters welcoming us.  They sang their National Anthem and the sheer volume of it was chilling.  The thirteen of us singing our National Anthem wasn’t quite as impressive!  We enjoyed many performance from the students, including singing, traditional dance and drumming.  We’re still amazed at the rhythm and movement of the Zambian people.  Then  Claire played the violin and Orla the guitar and we did some Irish dancing.

When the Headmaster gave his official speech he complemented us on cherishing our Irish culture and traditions. He expressed his joy at the developing partnership between our two schools. He also thanked us for the help for the help that Pres College has given to their school.  The Head girl also spoke and then Fr. Liam and Emma gave thanks on our behalf and reiterated how we have been enriched by being a partner school with them. We got a grand tour of the school, including a few classrooms.  We learned that the money raised for the 2006 trip went towards repairing chairs and windows and also towards the purchase of a photocopier and a ricograph which is the envy of the whole Western Province.  In our school we take these things for granted but they told us that they have made such and impact in their school, which was nice to hear.  Everyone who contributed to the fundraising in Carlow would be so pleased to see how

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