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First Day of School

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Hi Everyone! It is a sweltering day here, but I’m thrilled at the progress that has been made over the last day.

The North Park students worked on planning the clinic yesterday after getting to the office from the church service. I was excited to see Nurse Margaret, the Zambian nurse who has worked with every one of the clinics at Hope Community School since Hope began offering them. We got to chat a bit over dinner, and I was absolutely floored by her life story. She has been a widow for 22 years and has raised four children almost entirely on her own, all of whom have been able to find secure and even prestigious jobs in Zambia, the US or the UK. In her spare time, she’s managed to have an incredibly successful 33-year career in nursing. Absolutely amazing.

We all had dinner together at one of the host homes, the home of Ba Silvia, and as always, we were treated to a delicious and abundant meal, and we ended the meal with some delicious mangoes, which are in season in Zambia right now and seem to be coming at us from all over the place. (The Mulandos have two mango trees, so Nkhongono and I go to the garden every morning to pick fresh ones…one of the many benefits of being in Zambia! Sadly my favorites, the guavas, won’t be in season until I’m gone!)

After a good night’s rest, I started the morning early today and headed to the school in time to observe all of the first-day festivities. The first day of school is mostly an administrative day, so the teachers had a brief assembly (what they call a parade) with the students, took attendance and had the students clean and beautify the campus. After all the work was done and the children and staff were waiting for lunch to be served, I was excited to be able to observe each of the classrooms. Because the first day here is largely an administrative day, most of the classrooms used the time to read books, set up the classrooms and review some lessons from the previous year. It was really great to see how each of the classrooms had a different personality as influenced by the difference in teaching styles, and I have never been as confident as I am now in the teaching staff currently assembled for Hope. They recently hired two new teachers, both government trained, who will add to the already high-caliber staff at the school. I wish I could add some pics from the first day, but I seem to still be having some problems uploading photos with the internet here. I’ll try again soon!

I’m spending the rest of the day in the office, and I’ve already been able to work through some changes that we’ll be working with Hope to make on some reporting processes and content. I’m looking forward to a discussion this afternoon with the accounting staff on the bookkeeping processes as well. It should be a productive afternoon!

By the way, thanks for the e-mails from everyone who’s been worried about my suitcase! It did in fact arrive…it took a couple trips to the airport, a number of calls to Lusaka and quite a bit of keeping my fingers crossed, but the bag managed to make it. And not a moment too soon because washing my hair with a bar of Dove soap was starting to get old. 🙂 Nkhongono is very excited that the strawberry cake mix and frosting I promised him have arrived. We’ll see how it turns out in the somewhat unreliable Zambian ovens. Until tomorrow!

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