Acquiring new phrases from market traders to peer leaders, students began piecing together their Nianja in preparation for placements. Though English is the national language of Zambia, directing children during coaching sessions has proved difficult. Communication barriers exist not only from the misunderstanding of words, but also from the unfamiliarity of phrases used. This has meant peer leaders occasionally becoming translators between coaches and children, acting as a strong motivation for coaches to become more familiar with more suitable expressions in the mother tongue.
These experiences have helped the group become accustomed to the Zambian way of life which was further explored by our first evening of Zambian entertainment hosted by the peer leaders from all four sites. Students experienced authentic cuisine, including fried caterpillars and boiled chicken. Amongst the colourful dishes were a variety of relishes, made of pumpkin leaves and chillies, used as a dipping sauce for nshima, the staple food for Zambians. Made from boiling water and maize meal, it is the most popular food in Zambia as it is inexpensive and filling. A comparison to British cuisine would be mash potatoes with the texture of porridge and a very neutral taste. The girls were treated to lessons in African dancing whilst other members of the group rehearsed the Zambian games they would be taking to placement the following week. The night was enjoyed by all and our first taste of Zambian culture wetted an appetite for more of what is to come.
The following morning, students participated in the Edusafe clean up operations at Kalingalinga and Chawama, removing glass, plastic and clothing rags that littered the pitches. Though the Zambian government have initiatives in place to ‘Keep Zambia Clean,’ the signs of these campaigns are seen only in larger towns and cities. Residential homes are charged for waste removal which has resulted in the public dumping for rubbish by roads and on sports fields. After a morning of shovelling the litter away, students spent the afternoon watching a Lusaka rugby 7’s tournament at the national Showgrounds stadium.
The media students visited the Zambian National Broadcasting Co-operation (ZNBC) studios with Kelch, one of the peer leaders to watch a live broadcast of ZNBC Kids, a children’s programme that EduSport have occasional slots on. Broadcast every Sunday morning, the contrast to a British studio was visible in everything from the production to presenting. The studio was left with the promise of another visit and hopes of an interview in the coming weeks.
Getting involved with activities in Zambia is key to experiencing all that life here has to offer and so the boys joined the EduSport United and the Sport In Action squads to rehearse the skills they coach on placement. Unfortunately, both teams suffered losses, which was put down to the lack of opportunity to train in the heat, as summer vast approaches students will experience the hottest days of the year.
Though the weather was quickly reaching great heights, this did not bring activities to a standstill. Students attended the opening of a basketball court at Kazemba school, Chongwe, a rural village two hours outside of Lusaka. At the ceremony students were greeted by the friendly face of Dr Peter Warburton, founder of The IDEALS project. Officially presenting the court to the school, Dr Warburton represented Team Durham, whom had generously funded the construction of the court. Situated in the depths of the community, it would be the centre of recreation for hundreds of children.
Basketball coaching at placements resumed after the opening and with two weeks experience, coaches were beginning to understand the difficulties preceding students had explained in transferring coaching drills from Britain to Zambia. Coaches have found themselves adapting planned sessions to cater for the players needs and to include the varied levels of skill at the different placements. The coaching sessions have gradually became geared towards training teams in preparation for the Wallace Tournament, a huge occasion which provides an opportunity for children to compete in four different sports.
Netball coaches and IDEALS students formed a netball squad for the morning to play a team from the HIV/AIDS clinic, run by Team Bath staff member, Naomi Taylor. Aiming to empower victims through sport, the team succeeded in a close victory against the students, which was again put down to the lack of training in the heat.
With each day starting at 7am and ending around 7pm, the days are long but pass surprisingly quickly. With a trip to Livingstone approaching, a weekend of extreme adrenaline sports marks the halfway point of our visit.
Zambian Superstar Title Up For Grabs
Promising to develop sport internationally following the UK’s successful 2012 Olympic Bid, UK Sport and the British Council employed an expert in the sports development field to implement a program which would help to develop performance Sport throughout Zambia. Working with the International Inspirations Initiative and the IDEALS project, Rona Mcintosh travelled to Zambia to develop performance sport through the creation of training schedules for talented young performers.
Libala High School Football Sensation Sarah Chungu
photos Janos Schmidt