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ZAMBIA

TEACH ORPHANS AND VERY POOR CHILDREN IN LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA

Work with children ranging from 6 to 18, in Grades 1 to 7, in a mixed school that is quite small and very basic, but makes you feel part of the family immediately! You can teach the children conversational English as well as other academic subjects. The Centre also has a class of nursery children from ages 3 to 6 years.

If you have some know-how, some initiative and lots of enthusiasm, you can also get involved with teaching Drama, Music, Dance or Arts and Crafts lessons. Also, if you have an interest in Sports, you can utilise that as well. A worthwhile, enjoyable placement.

SUMMARY: THE BASICS

Price: £795 (approx. US$1,015) for 1 week
£300 (approx. US$385) for each additional week.
Excludes flights. Please see Full Price List & Other Currencies
Duration: From 1 week to 12 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements.
Start Dates and Availability: All year round - you choose your start and finish dates.
Requirements: Minimum age 18. No qualifications required, just lots of enthusiasm.
What's included: Arranging your Programme
Full pre-departure support and assistance
Payment Protection insurance
Accommodation
Meeting you at the nearest Airport
Transfer to your accommodation
Daily transport to and from your Project
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support
Free T-Shirt
Certificate of Completion
What's not included: Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas, Food, Return transfer to the airport.
Who can do this Project? All projects are open to all nationalities.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in teaching or working with children overseas while doing voluntary work, teaching projects abroad, or study abroad.
Also available as a summer placement in Zambia or Africa, short breaks or for those wanting to do TEFL teaching.

WHAT YOU'LL GAIN FROM DOING THIS PROJECT

  • An exciting opportunity to travel, see the world and experience a foreign culture first-hand.
  • New skills, more confidence and invaluable personal and professional development.
  • The enormous satisfaction of helping disadvantaged children and knowing that you made a difference to them.
  • An opportunity to take a break from the traditional academic track or your current career path in order to gain life experience and global cultural awareness
  • An entry on your CV or Résumé that will enhance your career opportunities and make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Make friends, form relationships and build memories that will last a lifetime.
  • Opportunities to enjoy some exciting adventure and cultural activities while on your programme.
  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!
BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN ZAMBIA info@travellersworldwide.com

ANY QUESTIONS?

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WORK CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION

The kids are so keen to learn and were without a doubt the best part of the trip! My time in Zambia was perfect. Joseph Sladen

Teach in a mixed school that is quite small and very basic, but makes you feel part of the family immediately! The school has approximately 57 boys and 68 girls between the ages of 6 and 18. The schools themselves are quite small and very basic.

You'll normally assist the teachers with informal teaching to start with, but, depending on your ability, you may be given complete control of a particular class or group. You can teach English or any other subjects, as well as assisting with sports during games periods.You will receive a lot of help and support from the teachers and staff at the schools to help you prepare for your lessons and settle you into your role.

Most of the children are very shy to speak English and it’s in this area that the help of our volunteers is needed – to give the children to confidence to speak the language. They ask for your support to help push the children’s’ education forward, and to help improve teaching techniques for the existing teachers, where possible.

If you enjoy sports, that, too, is a very popular subject for the children and the schools would love for you to help out with the game periods. The facilities are poor, but football and volleyball have quite a following. Some sports coaching takes place throughout the day, but most is after 3pm for an hour or two.

The school also sometimes need help with administration (e.g. marking books). As this is part of a Teachers role, you may also be asked to help with this at some point.

TEACHING ARTS, DRAMA, MUSIC AND OTHER SUBJECTS
If you have some know-how, some initiative and lots of enthusiasm, you can also get involved with teaching Drama, Music, Dance or Arts and Crafts lessons. If you enjoy being creative, then you can share your talents and enthusiasm at the various schools we work with.

Teaching Arts subjects is an excellent way of engaging children’s imaginations and encourages them to communicate with few constraints. What’s more, it is very satisfying to watch their confidence grow as they learn and develop new skills.

At some of our schools in our other destinations, volunteers and pupils together have produced plays and concerts, and performances have been put on in the evenings for parents, students and visitors. Because the schools are poor, the volunteers and children have had to be very creative in putting together costumes and sets – but all productions have been a resounding success!

Volunteers have found that producing short plays written by the children that address local social issues has been a successful means in educating the children on issues such as AIDS awareness, cultural relationships, peer pressures, and bullying. It gives the children an informal forum and a means of sharing their concerns and learning to deal with issues.

If you have skills or knowledge in an area not listed above, please email or call us (+44 (0)1903 502595) for more details – we will certainly be able to find a way to utilise your talents, ensuring a fulfilling placement for both yourself and your students.

SCHOOL HOLIDAYS:
Teaching is not available during school holidays, so if you're planning to participate in a placement, please take the school term dates into account when planning the timing of your project. On the other hand, if a holiday falls during your proposed placement, you could use this time to do any independent travelling and sightseeing.

Dates for the 2017 school terms (semesters) are as follows:

  • Term 1: 16 January – 13 April
  • Term 2: 15 May – 11 August
  • Term 3: 11 September – 8 December

Thank you so much for organising everything in Zambia! I had an unbelievable time! It was such a wonderful school and the pupils were so friendly and willing to learn (as were the teachers). I made so many new friends and discovered that I really did enjoy doing this kind of thing! Livingstone was a great place to be as it had amazing character and was so close to Victoria Falls. It was an amazing experience and one which I will never forget, I'll be sure to pass on the word to people. Hamish Brown

ACCOMMODATION

You'll live in a small, modern, and lively hostel situated in the center of Livingstone. The hostel has a very large private garden shaded with huge mango trees, and a crystal clear swimming pool. It also has a lively, sociable bar area where many activities are arranged.

Livingstone has a Colonial feel to it and you will find a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and shops. Your accommodation is ideally situated and can offer excellent trips to places such as Lusaka.

You'll share a room with other other volunteers or guests of mixed gender.

Food and drink is not provided on this placement. There is a local supermarket for you to buy food from and the hostel has cooking facilities for you to use or you can pay for meals at the hostel if you wish. Even better still why not try out some local dishes for a real Zambian experience!

At the time of writing, facilities at the hostel include; a swimming pool, recreation room with TV, a dining and kitchen area where food can be stored. There is also access to telephones.

Wi-Fi / Internet: There is Wi-Fi / Internet access available in the hostel.

The hostel also has an in-house booking centre, where many local activities can be booked (wildlife safaris, river cruises, river gorges, bungee jumping, white water rafting, treks, etc). They guarantee to offer the best deals in town and to beat any other lodge or booking centre!

Many guests comment on the quality of the Hostel staff. They are their greatest asset and many have worked for them for over four years and some have been there since the Hostel opened. Staff turnover is very low and a family atmosphere has been created that adds tremendously to their guests' enjoyment.

The Hostel is also involved in a number of community projects. Recently they raised over US $2,000 for a local school. They sponsor a local youth football team, the police regatta team, local fund raising events and an annual day out for orphaned children on World tourism Day. They also sponsor Independence day celebrations.

There are plenty of opportunities to socialise with other volunteers and tourists.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

YOUR SAFETY, SUPPORT AND BACKUP:
Read important information about the Support & Backup you receive before you leave and during your programme.

Read about the Safety and Security measures we take to ensure your safety and wellbeing while on our programme.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT?
Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

On Your Arrival: When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of staff who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

VOLUNTEERING WITH CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
As well as protecting all our volunteers, Travellers Worldwide is committed to all our projects and dedicated to practices which protect children and vulnerable adults from harm. Read Travellers' Child Care and Vulnerable Adults Policy.

BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN ZAMBIA info@travellersworldwide.com DOWNLOAD THIS INFORMATION in .pdf How to Fundraise for your Program

ANY QUESTIONS?

Please with any questions and include your phone number, if possible, to help us give you the best possible response.

We'll get back to you very shortly, but if you haven't heard from us within one working day, please check your Junk Mail / Spam folder. Thank you.

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OPTIONAL ADD-ON ACTIVITIES:

Make the most of your time there! To help you do that, we've put together some exciting activities, courses and tours that you can add to your itinerary. These are designed to be fun, but also to enable you to learn, and expand your personal and professional development enjoyment ... but mostly for your enjoyment! :-)

Coming Soon!

Terms and Conditions apply for Add-Ons, please see here.

SEE ALL PROJECTS IN ZAMBIA info@travellersworldwide.com

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LOCATION | SIGHTSEEING:

It'is an unbelievable experience to go down the river on a boat and watch a herd of elephant bathing in the shallows and throwing water in their with their trunks while they keep a wary eye on you to ensure you don't get too close to their babies - it's an experience you never forget. I never have!

LOCATION - LIVINGSTONE AND VICTORIA FALLS:
All our projects take place in Livingstone town, a quaint but lively area very close to Victoria Falls. You'll have plenty of opportunities to participate in the multitude of activities that surround the Falls, from white-water rafting and canoeing on the magnificent Zambezi River to bungy-jumping or game spotting in the Reserve.

Livingstone is the capital of the Southern Province and is situated just north of the Zambezi River, which forms the border with Zimbabwe. It is a major tourist centre serving visitors to Victoria Falls, but the main streets of this colonial town, Mosi-oa-Tunya, are lined with classic colonial buildings, with Victorian tin roofed houses and wooden verandas.

he spectacular Victoria Falls Bridge is only about 10km away from Livingstone, and the area surrounding the Falls and Livingstone town have given it the name of ‘adrenaline capital of the world’.

Livingstone is a fun town where tourists come for adventure, sports and an adrenalin kick. Being so close to the powerful Zambezi River, water sports are everywhere!

ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES:

  • White water rafting is a must! If you are keen for the ultimate thrill then a multi-day trip along the Zambezi is it! The Zambezi provides the best rafting trip on the planet! You'll crash through some of the biggest commercially run rapids in the world. Batoka Gorge provides one of the most intense sensory thrills imaginable. Its twenty three whitewater rapids and striking scenery deep within the sheer black cliffs afford the adrenaline junkie a wild roller coaster ride along a route carved over millenia by the Great Zambezi.
  • Bungee Jumping for the very brave: The highest commercial bridge jump in the world in the most spectacular setting over the Zambezi River! This must be the ultimate adrenaline rush. It’s an indescribable feeling that will probably change your life!
  • And more: You can do riverboarding, abseiling, kayaking, canoeing, walking safaris, elephant back safaris, fishing, flights over Victoria Falls, quadbiking, golf and scuba diving. This is a real adventure playground!

TRAVEL:

Read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country.

REVIEWS AND FEEDBACK:

HELEN CLAYPHAN
British
Teaching in Schools and Orphanages in Livingstone

: I wanted to volunteer in Zambia because I was born there. 56 years after leaving Africa and living in the UK I wanted to return to the country I was born in but not just as a tourist. I wanted to meet the people of Zambia and find out more about the culture and way of life. What better way of doing that than in a school with 400 children. I learnt about how different the Zambian education system is, how many children get so little education and the obstacles in the way of so many youngsters of getting an education at all. A school place is highly prized in Zambia.

I knew that with a two-week placement I was not going to be making a big impact on their learning so I spent a lot of time before I went choosing school equipment to take with me that could really make a difference. The pens, pencils, colouring books, paper, rulers, stickers, protractors, chalk, gaffa tape, sellotape, blue tac, story books, maths books etc etc were enormously appreciated by a school that had so little of anything.

I'm not a trained teacher so at times I felt a bit out of my depth. However, armed with lots of English magazines the children could always ask me questions about my way of life. They all wanted to know if I had children (one daughter) and if she has a boyfriend (yes) and did I have a car and a mobile phone. They also wanted to know what animals there are in England. Cats, dogs, foxes and squirrels seemed a sorry inadequate lot versus their lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffe, hippos, crocs, buffalo, zebras, rhinos and elephants! And the children were thrilled every time I brought a new football out at break time....and a pump!

...and then, of course, there were my days off which I spent as a typical tourist. You'd be hard pushed to beat the Victoria Falls from a helicopter for its WOW! factor or a safari walk to track the white rhino, or a gentle morning stroll through the bush with lions...holding onto their tails!..and cheetahs...and the elephants forever holding up the traffic. So much awe and wonder, such lovely gentle people. Zambia is a beautiful country.

RONIEL TESSLER
American
Teaching in Schools and Orphanages in Livingstone

I have always appreciated the fact that you have taken what I or the other volunteers have suggested and tried to make our experience with Travellers as enjoyable and as positive as possible.

I would definitely recommend this experience to others! There is so much that can be done and the teachers are more than willing to allow volunteers to teach lessons and instruct the children. Also, the school can use all the help they can get.

Keep the volunteers coming! I love the place where I am working. I feel that I am making a difference.

CHRISTINE RABBETTS
British
Teaching in Schools and Orphanages in Livingstone

I think Zambia is an amazing country and that Livingstone is a very safe, friendly place. The locals were very good to us and appreciated what we were doing as volunteers.

The school was beautiful and I loved working there. The children and staff were inspirational, surviving on what they had and by funding the school entirely through donations. The staff and children were so welcoming and they were very accommodating to us. Lameck, the Zambia Organiser, was very good. He was a lovely man who did his utmost to help us all out in any way he could. He was always on call and visited us regularly and provided support when our group experienced a few problems, such as someone becoming ill.

The experiences I gained from volunteering in Livingstone are priceless and I hope to one day revisit the school and town as we made so many friends and memories.

I think most people would love the placement, especially if you like children and working in challenging environments which lack valuable resources. But, most of all, for people who would like to see a very welcoming country in Africa and help

Can you describe a typical day?
We would generally be picked up at 7.15am by our driver Watson. Watson drove us the 17km out of Livingstone to the school, which involved driving through the local game park, so giraffe sightings were a regular occurrence. The school was next to Tongabezi Lodge and the Zambezi River.

The children had to be in school at 7.30am, although teachers didn't arrive until 8am as the children would read with the assistants till 8am. If we arrived in time I would go to the classroom and help with the reading.

The duties varied between the different grades but were mainly assisting the teacher. I was asked to take a lot of the English lessons for grade 6, as well as marking and working with the slower learners.

All of the lessons were planned and used text books so we didn't have to do any planning. Lessons would sometimes take place outside in the morning as it was too cold in the classrooms. We would have break at 10.30am for 30 minutes where we sat in the library/staffroom with the teachers and had bread and tea. Lessons would then continue until 1pm.

Every day grade 6 would have English and Maths, then a mixture of French, Tonga, Science, Religious Studies and PE.

At 1pm we had lunch for 1 hour in the lodge canteen. At 2pm the children were meant to come back to school for afternoon activities, although not all of them did! The activities ranged from sport, although this was mainly clearing the field and marking out a track, art, poetry and performing arts.

We set up an art club and a music club where we taught recorders and keyboard. It was great teaching the kids something new and seeing them develop from your teaching. We also did cricket and football with the older kids, and games with the younger children. Afternoon activities ended at 3.30pm.

CRAIG & CORRINE COPES
Australian
Teaching in Schools and Orphanages in Livingstone

WEEK ONE:
It has now been a full week of volunteering at the Community School. If we said we have loved every minute of it so far, that would be a big, fat, hot and sweaty lie! It has been pretty tough. Both physically and emotionally.

The only thing that we would change would be the heat though. It is getting to about 45 degrees Celsius. The school doesn't have any cooling system in place including fans.

We got to the school on Monday we glad we had worn our walking shoes. The first thing we did was go for a walk to see how some of the children lived.

One child lives an hour walk from the school and sleeps in a tiny little mud and straw hut that he has to share with his brother. The hut would be about half the size of a disabled toilet cubicle you would find in a shopping centre. His three sisters share a slightly bigger hut that is also the kitchen.

There is no electricity and the closest source of water is about a kilometre and a half away at the communal pump. This pump also occasionally breaks, so the village has no real access to water when that happens. The pump was not working for a couple of days this week. When that is the case the school attendance drops dramatically until people are able to access water again.

The school is lucky that it has its own water pump so the children have access to water all day. This pump also provides half of the community with water too.

A lot of the children at the school are orphans who are being cared for by relatives. One child is being cared for by his uncle who is only 21 himself. Not only has he cared for this boy by himself since we was 15 he also has a small farm that is his only source of income.

The children only go to school for half a day so that they can work for the other half and help their parents or relatives if they need to. The kids might be put to work on the small farms, collecting firewood to sell or even crushing rock in extreme heat that is sold by the wheelbarrow full for the equivalent of $1.

It sounds as if these kids live a pretty bleak existence but they all come to school with bright smiles and are ready to learn.

When asking the kids what they want to be when they grow up their answers are the same as kids in Australia. They want to be pilots, soldiers, teachers, nurses and farmers when they grow up.

For the next couple of weeks the school is a couple of teachers short for various reasons. There are no substitute teachers so we have been given the grade six class to teach. The highlight of the day for both them and us would have to be the sport. This week they learned how to kick an Australian Rules footy.

There are some kids there that I imagine talent scouts would take a keen interest in. They seem to be naturals. Today they played T-Ball... Well a very modified rules version. It must have been quite a sight as we gathered a pretty strong crowd of kids and adults from the community. It was great fun. The Wombat Team beat the Platypus Team.....

WEEK 2:
We learned so much this past week while volunteering at the school.

We helped them with maths, science, social studies, English and of course more sport. We helped the kids write letters to students in Australian schools.

We were also able to put the money that everyone donated back at home to good use by going shopping with the principal of the school. We were able to buy much needed items such as teachers guides, work books, dusters for the black board, poster paper, reams of A4 paper, story books, cleaning supplies for the toilets, dictionaries, bags for all the balls that we took over and other bits and pieces.

We were still unable to spend all the money so we gave the principal the rest to spend on more books and to go towards supplies for the new vegetable garden.

The money will even go towards one boy who doesn't have any shoes as his family are unable to afford to buy him any, that is if an old pair of Corrine's runners that she has given to the principal don't fit him.

We are in two minds about the shoes that we have left. We hope that they fit him because they are still in good condition, and at the same time we are hoping that they don't fit him because boys of that age should not have to wear second hand ladies shoes and will get a new pair from the money. Either way it will be an improvement on his current shoes that have been hand stitched back together.

We were able to see how some of the items we purchased make a direct impact on the school. The cleaning products for the toilets were put to immediate use as the toilets were in such a bad shape. After a hard work, and a few buckets of water along with the new disinfectant the toilets were now available for use by the students, the first time in months.

For our last day we gave the kids a special treat. We took in oranges, watermelon and fairy bread for them to enjoy but not before one of the kids (the one with out shoes) lead the rest of the class in a prayer to say thanks for us visiting the school and providing the food.

It was amazing how much a couple of pieces of oranges and watermelon meant to the kids. Fruit such as oranges should not be seen as a treat for children, it should be something that any kid has the opportunity to enjoy. Some children even put the second piece of orange into their pockets for later on in the day but made sure it was out of sight from others so that they would be able to enjoy it on their own later on.

This simple act of providing some fruit really highlighted to us the dire situation these kids face and some of the basics we accept as normal is not the norm for other places in the world. It was a huge reality check even after we thought we understood the situations the children faced.

We are absolutely amazed by the children and their ability to survive some heart wrenching conditions in their home environments and still turn up to class with a smile on their face and want to learn.

We give a huge praise to Catherine, the head teacher at the school and the work she does, not only from an academic sense but also from a social welfare perspective.

Although we have been out of the schooling system in Australia for a few years, the lengths that Catherine has had to go to encourage the children to attend school and be involved, would surpass any community involvement that a principal would be required to complete in Australia.

The experience and time we spent with Linda Community School and the children is difficult to put into words, but one thing for sure is there will be a fund raiser held next year to raise funds for this school and to hopefully allow the teachers at the school to provide a more enriching learning environment for the children.

We now pack our bags for the last time on this journey, where we will then head to Johannesburg, a stop over for less than 24 hours, where we will catch up with some friends, before heading home.

ROSS L. HOROWITZ
American
Teaching in Schools and Orphanages in Livingstone

I know that I would not have felt comfortable making a trip like this on my own. Travellers Worldwide was a good guide to enable me to see a part of the world I likely would not have seen without their help and enabled me to meet people that I would not have met otherwise. The experience is one that will stay with me forever.

First of all, a couple of thanks: Liz Tratt at Travellers Worldwide was exceptionally helpful and patient with all my questions and anxieties. I have just filled out my completion questionaire and I emphasized that I would not have made this trip without them.

HAMISH BROWN
British
Teaching in Schools and Orphanages in Livingstone

I taught at a school in Livingstone, Zambia and from the first day I knew I was going to be happy. Every single person, from the nursery children right up to the owner of the school, gave me an incredibly warm welcome!

The children were amazing as they were always attentive and willing to learn, which made it so much easier for someone with no teaching experience whatsoever! Every child, whether in the classroom or outside doing P.E gave everything, which was really refreshing to see.

The relationship I formed with the children and teachers made it hard to leave, but at the same time makes me determined to return.

ABBY PALMER
British
Teaching in Schools and Orphanages in Livingstone

The best thing about this placement is being with the children because they want to learn and are so happy all the time! Also just being in Zambia - its a lovely place and everyone is so friendly.

I feel that I am gaining lots of experience working and teaching the children! I think teaching is definitely what I want to do after University!

I think this project would suit a very relaxed, down to earth person who is up for anything and doesn’t mind where they sleep, what they eat or what they do, and will talk to anyone! And someone who wants to help others out!

MATT RIDDELL
British
Teaching in Schools and Orphanages in Livingstone

I'm having a fantastic time so far! I went to the school on Wednesday morning after having arrived Tuesday afternoon. It is so depressing to see the state of the School - the ceilings are falling down, holes in the walls etc, but the people there are so friendly and brilliant! I am starting teaching properly on Tuesday - just observing for the time being.

Earlier on today in one of the lessons, Mrs Mumbita, a fantastic and helpful teacher, got me to teach for half of a lesson. After a little while I got the hang of it - well, apart from writing on the chalkboard! Then I had to mark what they had done - around 40/50 kids holding their hands up/holding their books in your face will take a while to get used to!

The other volunteers here are so nice and have done their best to help me fit in, for which I am so grateful!!

JANICE IMRIE
British
Teaching in Schools and Orphanages in Livingstone

After a holiday in South Africa with a friend I had just 2 weeks additional holiday from work to devote to a voluntary project so I was very happy to discover the Travellers website and the possibility of being able to teach in a community school in Livingstone, Zambia.

Travellers provided the infrastructure, safe accommodation and very friendly UK and local staff that made the difference, especially to someone like myself travelling on their own.

I particularly wanted to visit Zambia, where I had lived as a child and teenager but had not returned for 30 years, but it was too personal a journey just to go there as an ordinary tourist so carrying out voluntary work in the community seemed the ideal solution.

Despite my long absence from Zambia, after 30 years it all still seemed very familiar when I stepped off the plane at Livingstone airport. I think this familiarity with the country, the culture and the customs made my short project time much more productive and meaningful as I did not have to spend a long time adapting.

Livingstone is a small town with a colonial feel due to its main street of single storey buildings dating from the early 1900s and the Victoria Falls and surrounding area with all the activities on offer, makes it an ideal place for discovering Zambia and its people. The backpackers accommodation hostel offered a great central situation - safe, comfortable, good food and welcoming and an ideal place for meeting other tourists and volunteers, as well as having its own centre on-site for organising trips and activities.

During my 2 week stay, I took the opportunity to visit the capital city Lusaka (where I had lived with my family) for the weekend for a trip down memory lane and also managed to do a few activities and tours in my free time in the Livingstone area.

Lameck (the local friendly face of Travellers in Livingstone) provided an excellent walk-about induction tour of Livingstone on my first day, pointing out places of local interest, providing essential information and advice and, as a retired headmaster of a school in Livingstone, seemed to be known by everyone as we walked about. Having such a wise and knowledgeable person on hand to help made integration into the local community so much easier.

I carried out my project at the Community School which, just before my arrival, had been undergoing some renovation and building works as it had previously been a community centre and now was being used as a school. This work had been made possible by a combination of local funding and donations from a Norwegian aid organisation and an Irish school. I did not see any photos of the hall and rooms before renovation but I understand they had been in a pretty poor and basic state and that the roof had needed replacing.

I learned that the community schools in Zambia play a vital role in providing education to those children that are excluded from attending government schools because their parents or guardians cannot afford to pay the fees or buy them school books or uniforms, or because they are orphans, many of their parents having died of Aids-related illnesses. Some of the children had missed years of schooling, for example to look after younger brothers or sisters, and so this meant that many teenagers had not had the opportunity to complete primary education.

At this School, according to the head teacher Cathy, the only compulsory requirement (apart from there being enough places) was that the children had to wear clothes to school! The Zambian government does provide some funding to the school but they are never sure how much they will have for each school year, and when I was there for the beginning of the school year the only staff member that was currently being paid was the head teacher. The other teachers are all local Zambian volunteers who are very keen and dedicated but also suffering personal hardships due to not receiving a salary.

I believe that the time I spent discussing issues, supporting and encouraging the teachers at the school was as useful, rewarding and appreciated as the time I spent with the pupils.

After a few days’ delay due to the finishing of the renovation works and the official handing over ceremony of the school to the community by the Deputy Mayor of Livingstone, the new term and school year started. The school covers the primary classes of grades 1 to 7 and also has a nursery class, but due to some children having missed out on some of their schooling, the actual ages of the pupils ranged from 5 to 17.

When it is possible for the children and voluntary teachers to return in the afternoon, sports are organised. Most of the children are keen to do sport - football and netball being the most popular - and there are tournaments organised between the different schools in the area. This was my first experience of teaching in a school and although I was a bit apprehensive, in fact everything went fine and I enjoyed the challenge of being creative and innovative in a classroom and school with limited resources.

The children have generally a good level of English but do not have the opportunity to practice speaking with native speakers. I found patience and lots of encouragement worked, especially if some fun elements were added to the lesson. I told them about my British culture, my home and work in France, Europe and the other continents I’d visited, and invited them to share their country and culture with me. They were very interested in the fact that I had lived in Zambia as a child and gone to primary school in Lusaka.

As I live and work in France, the head teacher Cathy asked me if I would be prepared to teach some basic French to the older children and also to some of the teachers that were interested so I gave a few lessons and was very impressed how quickly some of them picked up the basic greetings, numbers etc. I was happy to be greeted in the morning by some of my students with a cheerful “Bonjour, comment ça va ?”! I said I would try to find a beginners French language textbook and CD/cassette to send to them so that they could continue learning after I’d left.

Singing was very popular with the children (I had quite a few occasions to listen to them performing), so when I noticed the French lesson was getting a bit too difficult for some of them to follow, I taught them the English and French versions of Frère Jacques which seemed to go down well and they could all join in.

The children were very enthusiastic about learning and obtaining an education which was refreshing to see, coming from Europe where we take our right to education for granted. They also had a long and sometimes difficult walk just to get to school every day – I had walked with the head teacher one day to the village where most of them lived just to see the conditions they were living in and to give me an idea of their situation and how it might affect their performance in the classroom.

It took us about 45 minutes to walk to the village along dirt roads, and after a heavy rainstorm on the way back it took us an extra half an hour squelching through mud! Sometimes, in the rainy season if the water is too high in the river, the children cannot get to school because the one small bridge they have to use is covered over.

Most of the families are living in small one room mud huts, with parents if they’re lucky, maybe with a grandmother looking after several grandchildren whose parents have died. The school sometimes has boy orphans staying in the hall if there is no one to look after them in their village. The living conditions for many in the village are very basic - one poor woman we visited was surviving with her children under a plastic sheet shelter that had been hastily put up because her mud hut had just collapsed. Even under all these very difficult conditions, we received such a warm and hospitable welcome and thanks for the work we were doing to educate the children.

The Community School does in fact do more than educate the children, there is a wide social work aspect that the head teacher and teachers have taken upon themselves to carry out, to make sure that the vulnerable children have basic food, security and shelter, and it is very humbling to see this, coming as a foreign volunteer who has access to so many opportunities in my own country. The steady reliable funding is not there however from the government, and one extremely vital project they hope will happen soon is to have chemical latrines built as at present they only have 2 toilets for all the pupils and staff and they have to carry water in buckets to flush the toilets and for hand washing as they do not have the funds for connecting to the mains supply and paying the water bills.

Given the campaigns the government were running about prevention of cholera when I was there, there was no monetary support given to the community schools to allow them to implement the procedures so the teachers were doing their best with disinfectant, buckets, soap and water.

During the two weeks I was in Livingstone, two funerals were held in the community, one for a pupil of the school who I understand had died of an aids-related illness, and one for two local boys from another school who had been tragically killed after being out on a bicycle in a thunderstorm and struck by lightning near the railway line. These tragedies brought home to me the reality of the life of many people in Africa and the fact that at present the average life expectancy in many African countries is less than 40 years old. It did make me reflect on my own attitude to my 50th birthday coming up at the beginning of next year and I think I will adopt the African positive attitude of appreciating and enjoying each day and on my 50th birthday celebrating that I have had the good fortune to reach such a “wise” old age and had such a fantastic journey on the way!

I would like to return to Zambia and the Community School in the not too distant future when I am able to take some unpaid leave from my work in France and possibly go there for a whole school term. To start to prepare for this I have decided to enroll on the TEFL weekend course in London through TEFL time, followed by the distance learning course with the aim of finishing the qualification by the end of this year. I will then look forward to putting those teaching skills into practice.

Can you describe a typical day?
► 6.00am – Get up, shower and have breakfast.
► 7.15 am – Robert, the driver, picks up myself and the other volunteer Hamish (coaching sports at another Livingstone school) to drop us off at our respective schools.
► 8.00 am – The pupils who’ve arrived early have cleaned and tidied the classrooms and the hall and Assembly is then held. The children line up by class in the hall, the national anthem and usually a hymn or gospel song is sung, followed by a motivational talk from the head teacher or one of the other teachers.
► 8.15 am – The children split into their different classes, 3 classes have to be held in the hall, as there are only 4 classrooms, so it is quite a challenge concentrating with 3 different lessons going on at the same time.
► 10.00 am – 10.15 am Break. When they have sufficient funding the school also provides porridge for the children who may not have had anything to eat before coming to school and may have very little to eat the rest of the day.
► 1.00 pm approximately - Classes finish for the day.

LINDSAY BLACK
British
Teaching in Schools and Orphanages in Livingstone

Livingstone is an amazing place to be, there is so much to do. The Travellers' accommodation at Jolly Boys Hostel is really good accommodation, I think it is seen by all here as the best place to stay. And the atmosphere here is great, really laid back and sociable, and Sue, Kim and Bex on reception are so helpful with organising trips and giving advice.

The food is also really good, very nice and really big portions, which is just what you need after a day out!

The school has been a good experience. It has been really nice meeting all the kids and they are so welcoming and interested in us.

VERITY, SHONA, HARRIETTE and WANDA
British
Teaching in Schools and Orphanages in Livingstone

We are all fine and having a lovely time. We started teaching yesterday and although it was hard to wake up so early, the kids love us and we are readily accepted.

After school we all make some lunch and rest by the pool together. Today most of us napped.

The hostel is wonderful (honestly, the picture online did not do it any justice). It is perfect and so gorgeous.

We plan on going to Victoria Falls tomorrow and maybe do some activities there this weekend. Our wildlife sighting has consisted of two lizards and the residential cats that roam the hostel and we are so anxious to see some elephants.

This is so amazing and we love it. Thanks!!