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Day Six - Holiday Club, Reading Club, & Changing Currency

There was a major change to the currency after the New Year's Day holiday and it was causing a lot of turmoil throughout Zambia, as well as locally. I had mentioned that 5,000 Kwacha was roughly equal to $1 USD previously and this would no longer be the case. To avoid confusion with tourists, the government decided to rebase the currency and drop the last three zeroes. 5 KR was now equal to $1 USD. Easier for me, but a little confusing for the locals who are using both as the old bills were phased out. All the ATM's were also shut down for a few days and when they reopened, there were very long lines at each.

With this is mind, I woke up very early and walked to town to beat the rush and use an ATM. While a lot of places accept USD, it's generally easier to carry some Kwacha around. Daily early morning walks downtown had become my ritual as I liked to shower before everyone else and enjoy some coffee as the sun comes up, much unlike myself at home.

The morning project today was Holiday Club. Since it's summer in this hemisphere, the kids are on break for about a month. Holiday Club fills the gap and provide school children with an additional source of education, sports and a creative outlet. Holiday clubs are valuable as they offer students time to catch up on learning missed during a term due to the Zambian “hot seating” system. With limited classroom space and teachers, each class receives a few hours of teaching each day and then goes home so that the next class can come for school; this is what is meant by “hot seating”.

It's up to each group assigned to a project to decide what activities would take place and what materials would be needed. Being a newer volunteer, I took a backseat for Holiday Club and let some of the veteran volunteers plan. Today's lesson focused on seasons of the year and we had the kids draw a season wheel that reflected the changes that they see. One obstacle I found was that the weather doesn't change that much in Zambia. Still, I did what I could to help convey the concept and help them complete the wheels. One thing that took me a while to get used to was being called "Teacher." I'd hear "teacher, teacher, look" and it would take me a minute to realize I was, in fact, the teacher.

Working on the Season Wheel
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Holiday Club Classroom
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Teacher, Look!
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Reading Club was the afternoon project and we went to a very small, one-room school that was the classroom to many orphans from the area. The class was very large, with over 45 children, ranging from 2 years to 10 years of age. We divided the kids into groups based on age, with Lucy and myself taking the youngest of the lot. I was so thankful she was there with me, as she was a teacher from New Zealand and much better prepared to teach such small children with very little understanding of English. We took turns reading and quizzing the kids on various words and letters and it went far better than I was anticipating. This school would turn out to be my favorite.

Reading Club Lesson
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Playing "Do Like I Do"
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Reading Club at Christian Academy
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After dinner, I went with the Kiwis into town for some art supplies and refreshments. Afterward, we had a birthday celebration for one of the volunteers from the Netherlands named Anne. We did some shots and enjoyed a few Mosi on a very warm and festive night.

Day Seven

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