Saturday, 30 June 2012

Books, Books and more Books!!

The consignemnet of books from the book in every hand campaign finally reached Livingstone yesterday! Yay!!!

We arrived home from school to find a truck full of books! 8 pallets to be precise! These pallets had been loaded by forklift truck in Lusaka but unfortunately we dont possess one...SO we had to unload box by box by hand! One hour later (and many cokes later!) we had made a box mountain in the carpark!! We are going to make good use of the 2 days public holiday next week and sort out the 24,000 books.

Kelly 30 June 2012

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Indeco & Twabuka - 2 new schools for 2012

Two new schools are on the Bookbus Livingstone timetable this year and both have proved to be great additions over the past 6 weeks. Both are community schools but one in located deep in Livingstone’s Dambwa compound and the other is almost an hour’s drive through the national park in a remote village. Last week on the drive to school we spotted 3 zebras and a giraffe, now not many people can say that on their daily drive to the office!

Indeco community school is located in Dambwa and is housed, believe it or not, in the former Livingstone abattoir. It has around 200 pupils and 4 teachers and has mixed grade classes that are taught in the big hall. Here we have met some of the most dedicated volunteer teachers I have encountered. They have real passion for their job and for the children in their care. Whenever we are teaching they are always around, joining in and doing some of the activities themselves. Last week one of the grade 7 boys beat his teacher on completing a quiz and word search based on comparing Zambian and the UK. Needless to say he was very happy!

We have been doing a lot of map work over the past month because we have had so many different nationalities on board. Already this year we have had volunteers from England, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, China and Brunei. It certainly makes for very interesting lessons and discussions at school.

Last year in the summer holidays we visited the village of Sindi for a week and this year their school, Twabuka, has become one of our regular schools. It is very interesting for the volunteers to see the difference between town and country life. All children here come from homes without power or water. There is a water pump in the centre of the village for all their daily needs but many have to walk far to fetch and then carry home this precious commodity. Almost all homes are traditional mud and straw constructions and one hut may house up to 10 family members. Driving through the surrounding villages we are greeted with a smaile and wave by absolutely everyone from the tiny dusty toddlers dressed in rags to the old women cooking. There is a real sense of community out here.

The head teacher at Twabuka  is one of the most forward thinking I have met in all my time with Bookbus. He has obvious respect from all the pupils and people in the village and he has very clear ideas about the best way to assist children to learn and the challenges teachers face within the Zambian education system. He is passionate about his job and about encouraging as many children to attend school as possible. In the villages, education is not seen as a priority, especially for girls. We have been on several walks around the village with him and he has explained so much about the hardships facing people living in rural areas of Zambia. Last week we were even invited for lunch after lessons and the volunteers had their first taste of nshima prepared by 2 of the teachers and served with many vegetables and extremely fresh fish caught that morning in the Zambezi.

This is a part government, part community school. 3 teachers are paid for by the government and the rest are volunteers, although the school runs a very successful chicken business, selling eggs to nearby tourist lodges, and then using the money from this to pay the teachers a salary. Helping schools that are already looking for ways to help themselves is immensely rewarding.

We are all really enjoying working with the enthusiastic pupils and staff of both of our new 2012 schools.
Kelly June 2012

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Making new tracks with our latest Book Bus

Our latest Book Bus in Africa became a reality thanks to the fundraising efforts of 20 employees from the Google office in London who raised £12,000 in sponsorship by climbing Mt Toubkal in Morocco. 

We purchased the vehicle in Zimbabwe where it had seen previous service as a safari truck with Exodus Expeditions. Now in Zambia and resplendent in its new Quentin Blake livery the truck has become a Book Bus called "Matilda". Matilda can carry 3,000 books, 12 volunteers and camping equipment to support its crew in the field for weeks at a time.

Since joining the Book Bus fleet in April Matilda has taken volunteer crews to five schools in Livingstone, delivered 1,000 books to the public library in Chingola, and is currently working with five schools in Mfuwe in the remote South Luangwa Valley. Matilda will be working at the UNHCR Meheba refugee settlement in Zambia in August and will cross to work in Malawi later in the year.

You can support Matilda by joining her as a volunteer or by donating funds to help the Book Bus keep her fit and well for the journeys that lie ahead.