Today I finished up my last day at Libala Basic School and it was career day for the students. Basically, they paid 1000K (about twenty cents) and then they were able to dress up like the career they wanted to be when they grew up—there were lots of nurses, pilots, teachers, accountants, and doctors. We had a quick assembly where all three hundred kids gathered before splitting off to their classes for the day. Teaching has been going well—in science we have learned about game management areas the past two days and we have continued division in math… we even learned about remainders today—so slowly by slowly they’re starting to get the concepts! Before I left, the head teacher, the senior teacher, and many of the teachers came together to say goodbye—they thanked me for my time and asked when I would be back! Although I’ve never taught a day before in my life, it was definitely a good experience and very rewarding. As a gift, they gave me jewelry and chitange to remind me of Libala—not necessary what-so-ever but a very nice gesture. They also gave me the African name of Tabo which means joyfulness… love it 🙂 !
Lubasi = Love… that about sums it up. I have had such a beneficial experience seeing the reality of their life while getting to meet the children as we became friends. We have done lots of playing—the swing set seems to be their favorite but we’ve played lots of games and gone on walks outside around the orphanage as well. I brought bubbles for the kids today and let me tell you, they were a hit! They loved these “magical” things and running after the bubbles to pop them… it obviously wasn’t the first time they had seen bubbles but by the look on their face, it was pretty evident that it was a rarity in their lives. It kills you to see the children wearing just about the same clothes everyday or every other day as they don’t have an abundance to choose from—most of which are filled with holes. It also dawned on me as we played in the dirt filled with glass shards how many of the children were barefoot—definitely not a good combination… it blows my mind how none of them cut themselves on the pieces of glass, especially without school. It was been great getting to know Fargo, another volunteer at Lubasi, as well and we all have had a lot of fun playing some “futbol.” It was hard saying goodbye to the children as they have become accustom to my arrival—meeting the taxi to give me lots of hugs! Because of the language barrier, many of the children didn’t understand the concept that I had to leave and that I wouldn’t be back tomorrow to play… I’m definitely going to miss them all—they are just about the sweetest kids you could ever meet and the unfortunate thing is that it isn’t any of their faults that they are in the orphanage—they did nothing to deserve a life like this but rather they were just born into a not-so-lucky life. It makes you question “why me”… why was I given such an easy life while these kids have maybe all of two or three clothing outfits, don’t get to experience the family aspect of life, and are put in the orphanage to live—fortunately most get to go to school but that is about the extent of their life… heart breaking. I have grown to love these kids and will miss them so, so much but they forever have a special place in my heart!
Yesterday for lunch, Sister Mary (the grade four teacher that I work with) invited me over for lunch. It was really cool to see the convent and compound (neighborhood) that she lives in. Of course this lunch is Zambian style where time and the sense of urgency do not seem to of any importance what-so-ever… but that was completely fine. We knocked off at school at 10:30 and headed via taxi to her convent—we enjoyed a nice, relaxed cup of coffee with cake before she gave me a tour. Her convent was huge—the “house” portion consisted of a few bedrooms, a few sitting areas, a welcome area, and an entire guest section. They had a house worker who cooked for them, did their laundry, and cleaned. She showed me the outskirts of her convent—they had lots of gardening space and grew vegetables of all sorts that they used in their daily cooking. There were fruit trees galore as well with an abundance fruit including oranges, bananas, and popo. Lunch was ready about 12:30 when the rest of the sisters arrived and it was a full-out meal that included chicken, nshima, mashed potatoes, sweet potato leaves, another vegetable, and a tomato based sauce—absolutely delicious and I ate far too much… oops! For dessert, we had popo… an interesting fruit to say the least. It was neat seeing how they actually lived while eating a very traditional meal! Then Sister drove me in her stick-shift Toyota truck (yep just picture a nun driving a stick shift truck for a minute… it was priceless) and dropped me off at Lubasi… another highlight of the day. Ha.
Also, funny thing: they installed their first traffic lights here in Livingstone this week and people literally refer to the stop lights as robots… kind of funny! But I cannot believe that my time here in Livingstone is almost up—where did the 2+ weeks go? I’ve seen a lot, met a lot of really neat people, and had once-in-a-lifetime experiences. I can definitely say that I really enjoyed working at the orphanage and even though I’ve seen a lot around the world, it gave me an even deeper appreciation of all that I have been given.
Two more days here in Zambia then off to Zimbabwe—so excited!
Miss you all, Susan