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Flag of Zambia  ,
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gosh!  The time has galloped by here - they same time flies when you're having fun.  Really looking forward to seeing Sophie and two days later Paul when they arrive next week.  Fortunately, it won't be proper goodbyes here until we return from our safari trips.  We're staying in tree houses somewhre in Zim (yes, it's safe to go there!) and we've also booked a tented safari in Chobe National Park in nearby Botswana for three days.

I've been busy finishing off at school this week and trying to make sure that the things I've been involved with will continue after I leave Tujatane.  It's great that a couple of teachers from their link school in Surrey will be here just before I leave - hopefully we'll get time to share our thoughts at some point.  Also, I'm really chuffed that the tailor here at the lodge has been asked to make me a Zambian style top and long skirt, from the school.  I'll definitely need a Zambian party when I'm home so that I can wear it!! 

As you'll all know, the moon is particularly large and bright at the moment as it's circuit has hit a spot which is nearer the Earth.  It's a shame that Paul and Sophie weren't here last weekend but it was lucky timing for me that I could go and see an amazing lunar rainbow at Victoria Falls (which only happens when there's a full moon).  Someone kindly sent me the picure as my camera wasn't up to photographing it.  The photo doesn't really do it justice - you can see a bit of the Falls on the right.  It was a particularly clear night - in fact we nearly ran into a hippo crossing the road as we drove there - apparantly grazing further in the brighter moonlight.

I think one of the best things about this experience here is how 'at home' I've felt.  It is a particulary warm, positive community and it's prompted lots of childhood memories from when I lived near Freetown in Africa as a child for 3 years.  The smell of the place, hot sun, rains and sounds of the bush are deep routed!  My parents met and married in Bulawayo, just a few hours down the road, and I will have been to Victoria Falls before when I was about one!  The school has also provoked memories of my school life in Africa.  I remember holding up my skirt, to receive a scoop of roasted nuts from a lady who sat near the playground area.  There was endless reciting of the alphabet and times tables - which would have meant nothing to me at the age of four or five.  It was a great outdoors life though - we had midnight feasts on the compound (in pitch darkness with snakes around) and we used to meet on a friend's verandah, where bread or biscuits had been stored away in her wendy house.  Our parents never actually believed that we did this!

Good news for the Performing Arts Group, last Sunday ... they came first in their competiiton for drama and also their dancing/drumming. It was a birlliant day that started at 6.30am with a ride in the bus to another school in Livingstone.  The singing and drumming was at full energy from the moment we set off, along with several extra little bodies being passed in through the winddows to join us on the ride.  The competition went on all day and there were choral events too but our little stars really came up trumps.  They have definitely got 'it' and they more than rose to the occasion.  The only real rivals in the event were ex-pupils who were now at a secondary school.  The chldren wore costumes made by the tailor at the lodge - as you can see in the photo, - it's the boys in the red hata and traditional skirts.  The drama pieces confront 'full on' very real issues and they acted out a short play about a young girl becoming pregnant as a result of an uncle's abuse.  These kind of problems are not far away - particularly with some of the large families  and fathers with more than one wife.  The grades in the upper school had a workshop addressing rape - taken by an organisation that look after abused children in Livingstone.

On a happier note, we had jelly today (photographic evidence below).  We realised when doing the sound work for 'j' that several hadn't tasted it!  I've also got a video of 'Montherama' that some of you may recognise!  We did it in the amphitheatre which was set up for the dress rehearsal of the play with tables and chairs.

Can't be sure whether there'll be another blog - we'll see - but thank you to all who've read them!!  It's great to be able to share these experiences.   


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juliet on

wow! moon rainbow surreal. bill will be very jealous!
will be sad when these blogs stop - i have really enjoyed reading them. you definitely have a gift for writing!
enjoy your last days at the school - i am sure they will miss you when you leave - and enjoy a well-earned break on safari.

Cathy on

Hi Sheila
Can't believe you are nearly done! Best bit still to come with the safari. It has been great reading your blogs and looking forward to seeing you in June. I'm in UK on a business trip at the moment visiting with the boys which is lovely.

Have a wondrful time,
Love C x

Carol on

Shelia: I have loved reading reports of all your adventures. Sounds like a great experience. Hope we will get to see you in the not too distant future. Love Carol (USA)

Sue M on

Hi Sheila,I have loved reading your blog, you make the experiences very easy to read and bring them to life. Im glad you are back to your roots, Id forgotten that about you! Enjoy your family, love to Paul and Sophie and I' ll await the book! xx

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