Thursday, 8 July 2010

One down (nearly) - Two to go

So it’s been 3 weeks since my last blog and a lot has happened. Group 1’s stay in Lusaka is almost at an end. There’s just one week more before Hayley and I do the whole thing over again with Group 2. I think it’ll be hard to say goodbye, but at the same time, I’m excited to be working with new faces.

The last few weeks have been fairly routine in terms of placements. The students, as expected, have grown attached to the people at their placements and their departing party will be emotional as its probably the last time they’ll see the peer leaders.

My last few weeks, similarly to the guys, has been fairly uneventful. Everyday I try and do something different just I don’t end up regretting not making the most of my time here, but unfortunately for one reason or another, that’s not always been possible. Chloe, placed at Kalingalinga, unfortunately collapsed one day which gave us all a bit of a fright, so we rushed her to the clinic and had the problem diagnosed (her malaria tablets weren’t compatible with her system).

However, since my last blog, I am pleased to say Hayley, her friend Caitlin from Stirling, her uncle and her father have started work on a big project of theirs at Kalingalinga. They’re building a netball court there which we as a group helped work on. With the help of the British Charity ‘Friends of EduSport’ Hayley and Caitlin, who were both placed at Kalingalinga on the project last year, wanted to give something back to their placement which has offered them so much.

Yesterday I attended an EduSport ‘Kicking Aids Out’ workshop in Bauleni which was ran by Paul and Klevin from the EduSport office. The HIV virus is a massive issue in Africa which I’m sure you all knew. In Africa, 7.3% of the population between 15 and 29 has the HIV virus and over 2,000,000 Africans die of the virus every year. The objectives of Kicking Aids Out is to train peer leaders to pass on the information on the dangers of the virus and how to prevent it – through practicing abstinence and wearing protection. Because of that, I did find it slightly ironic that they held the workshop at a Catholic Church, but perhaps that’s just me.

The work EduSport and Sport In Action never fails to impress me. They tackle the major problems in Zambia (alcohol and drug abuse, gender power imbalance and HIV/AIDS amongst others) through people’s love of sport. Pretty much loves sport, especially young people and because there’s not a lot else to do they are brought together by EduSport’s and Sport In Action’s ability to provide equipment to play and then use this togetherness to educate them. If one film could symbolise their work, it’d be Coach Carter (possibly one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen). Those tht have seen it will understand what I mean, those that haven’t, it’s one of the worst omissions from those 1001 films you have to see before you die books.

Everyday the two NGO’s work impresses me further, the peer leaders are inspirational and I believe in their work and aims so much I’m privileged to be a part of it. There’s this one peer leader at Fountain of Hope (an orphanage) situated near to the Sport In Action office called Jackson, whose story is amazing. Our media student wrote it and I’ll post it on this blog, alternatively, check out our ‘Zambia Project Blog’ here where it’s already posted.

On Monday, he took us to the areas of Lusaka he used to beg, steal and borrow to stay alive. He used us a lifesized model train that he used to sleep in at nights just to attempt to stay warm. He’s starting his own orphanage which would be a permanent home for homeless people as Fountain of Hope is only a home for children until they’ve completed their exams. I’m going to make a short film about it soon so I’ll post it here as well. Anyway, Boel’s article is far more moving than my attempt to sum up his story so read it.

Since the last blog we’ve also hosted Zambian Night (all the students have a traditional Zambian meal) and then British Night (where we treat the guys at the office to a roast dinner) which were both a success. In the words of Elma Fudd (I think), that’s all folks…until next time.

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