Saturday, June 21, 2008

Field Trip to Dream Valley with Munali Students

We had an emotional departure from Pioneer Camp this morning. Scrumpy the tiny Jack-Russell Terrier from camp chased our bus out of the gate, locked himself out, and continued to scamper after us. With red dust blowing in his face, he chased and chased while those of us in the bus cried and laughed delightfully, until we realized that he could likely be run over by other careless cars or never find his way back to camp. Alas, we continued on our way.
We picked up some of the Munali students from we are going to be working with in the coming weeks at the school campus. They were dressed in their casual clothing, as it is a Saturday.
Immediately, our bus was filled with more laughter and smiles. Rachel, the spunky and vivacious head of the girls' computer lab, stood in the front of the bus and urged her students to sing something. They broke in and out of song, laughing and shouting throughout. They all wanted to sing "No Air"

We were heading to "Dream Valley," a park with lawns, a pool, and barbecue grills. The weather was wonderful. While the Zambian students felt fine in this "winter" weather, we were sweating and risking sun burns. Rachel and James (the head of the boys' computer lab) and their students treated us to a variety show. Throughout the day the students performed much dancing - traditional as well as hip-hop - and singing in English and Nyanja. There was also a wonderful and poetic rap (of which Cheray took a video which I hope you all get to see!) Nyanja is a tribal language spoken or understood by most Zambians. While on the topic of languages, I also learned today that most of the students know not only English and Nyanja, but also their parents' native tribal languages, such as Bemba or one that sounds like "Soul-ee."

Following some magic tricks with cards, we grouped with the Zambian students to learn some of the games they probably grew up playing in school and with their friends. I had fun trying to mimic and remember some sing-song rhymes and clapping games. We taught them duck-duck goose (yes, this is childish, but it brings forth much laughter and silliness, which everyone loves), and the "quack diddly oh so" clapping game we play in the U.S.

Many of those on the field trip played in the swimming pool, but I stayed back on the grassy lawns with a great girl named Monica Mambo Samikofi. Her friend Given took over the music (they nicknamed her "Miss D.J." for the day) while I embarrassingly learned some of their dance moves. There was much shaking of the hips and twisting of the waist. Apparently, there are MANY different ways to move the hips back and forth. I will practice!

Somewhere within all this activity we managed to have lunch - grilled chicken and sausage from the barbecues, coleslaw, and buns! (P.S. I have, happily and willingly, relinquished my standing as a vegetarian for the sake of this trip. It's just plain easier.)

By the time I had achieved a minor sun burn on my arms, we were boarding the buses to head back home. We dropped the students off in their appropriate neighborhoods, calling out "See you Monday!" to those we remembered the names of, and even those we did not.

Dehydrated and happy, we headed down Great East Highway and turned off onto the dusty red Palabana road toward Pioneer Camp. Scrumpy was there to greet us!

We have now enjoyed a great frittata dinner (accompanied by some watermelon for dessert) prepared by Peter and Mindy.
Good night everyone!

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