This week brought our much-awaited teaching session with some of the students at Kaande Basic School.
As we wrote a few weeks ago, we met with the headmaster and a few teachers and were very excited to carry out some basic hygiene teaching with the students. We also had school supplies that Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School collected and donated to the teachers at Kaande.
When we arrived at the school, we wrestled a 60-plus pound suitcase containing the assorted classroom items from the road to the school through deep sand. A small entourage of primary school children accompanied us and encouraged us to "push, push, push" the massive bag. When we finally arrived at the classrooms, some of the younger school kids were crowding around the door and hanging in the windows to see what we were doing!
Among the supplies brought by our nursing team was a collection of posters that had various images and facts about Canada, so we shared a little bit about our country with the students. We pointed out Kelowna on a Canadian map, we showed them pictures of beavers and geese and hockey, and we sang them our national anthem. In return they shared some of the sports that they played, some of their local animals, and sang us the Zambian national anthem.
Cass drew a poster of the 5 steps to hand washing:
We brainstormed with the kids about why it is important to wash our hands, times to wash our hands, and adaptations on hand washing based on available supplies. For example, someone suggested that when soap was unavailable, the grit in ashes from a fire offered a good alternative.
This was a challenging experience. The teaching that we had previously done was in a Canadian context with access to laptops, powerpoints, and electricity. However, in Zambia, we had to draw our posters and use available supplies. We relied on a translator to communicate our message to the students. And although we know that the school items collected by Aberdeen were helpful, it felt like it was only a drop in the bucket. There is so much need at Kaande, and in many schools in Zambia, that a suitcase of supplies seemed like pittance. But while it may have felt small, we hope that the items will make a difference for the students at Kaande and make learning more enjoyable and rewarding.
For us personally, it was eye-opening to see what school is like in another country. It was also a good opportunity for us to show initiative and make community connections in Zambia. We were able to use the leadership skills we have developed throughout the program (and especially during our fourth and final year of our degree). Reflecting back on our time at Aberdeen Hall and Kaande Basic School, we now realize that we too were learners in this experience, and we will remember this time as a rich and rewarding piece of our international practicum.
With one week left,
Cass, Laura, and Julianne