Zambian Visit Presented by Merton School Staff

On Thursday 25th April, parents and pupils were invited to an exhibition of the visit made by five members of staff and a representative from the U Foundation to SianKaba, a nursery school in Zambia.

The evening started with a brief introduction by the head, Mrs Thomson, with the aid of a powerpoint presentation showing aspects of their journey. Their visit was made more special because ex-president Kenneth Kaunda joined them and made them feel like VIPs as they for a short while became part of his entourage. People still queue to shake his hand even though he has not been president since 1991. At the school during his visit he sang with the children and played guitar and keyboard, which everyone enjoyed. Although he is 88 years old he is still very forward thinking and embraces life to the full.

While at the school the staff taught some classes and also accompanied some of the children on their walk to school which for some is over an hour long journey in very hot temperatures. The youngest on this journey was three. The teachers enjoyed the walk and their only regret was that as they walked along the children were showing them interesting things along the way but unfortunately, they didn’t understand the children’s local language.

After the first week with the school, the party enjoyed a safari. They were extremely lucky to see all of the major animals there including Elephants, Lions, Cheetah, Giraffes, Hippos etc. They met seven semi-wild Elephants who are used to educate local people about Elephants to help protect them from poachers. They were able to feed the Elephants by hand, and after meeting with visitors the Elephants can roam freely within the park. The group had brought back a footprint of one of the Elephant’s called Bob! They then had a lion encounter, well cubs actually, this is part of a long-term scheme to re-introduce lions into the wild. They hope to put a large fence around the national park to enable the lions when grown to roam free, but currently the cubs are being hand reared. The group had quite a few adventures and encounters with different animals as well as visiting the Victoria falls, which is a mile wide and has 108 metre drop at its centre point. Some teachers Zip wired across the Zambezi, including Head teacher Mrs Thomson, and Mr Conin jumped off the bridge that crosses the river – very impressive!

Then they flew from Livingstone to Lusaka and by road to Mfuwe Lodge where their guide Peter, a Zulu and head man for the area took them to his village and treated them like VIPs, with the teachers enjoying some dancing with the villagers. They also visited three schools in this area and enjoyed interacting with the children. The group found that in every school and village they are very proud of their country and sing their national anthem with pride. The teachers and volunteers finished their presentation with their version of the Zambian National anthem, a fitting end to a very interesting presentation of their visit to Zambia.

Our picture shows the group dressed in safari gear, they include Head Teacher Shelagh Thomson, Margaret Russell, Gary Trzcibski, Simon Cronin, Kathryn Eames and Sarah Elton.