Phase 1 – The Project

Zambia Expedition The Project

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The wonder woman – Mary herself

The bus finally arrived in Mwandi after an hour and a half wait – the expected time of travel – that turned into three hours. With no water, hot air been blown out of the air vents and no entertainment apart from Ellen peeling the skin off her face.

Our first day in Mwandi consisted of church. Oh my, those people can sing! The passion for their faith made me almost want to be a part of it. However it was particularly funny when they began singing about destroying satins soul and when some elderly nuns began dancing around. We ended up leaving the service at hour three, who knows how long it went on after that.

On our departure from the church there was the unfortunate mishap of Anna flashing the congregation; as in many deeply Christian countries such as this one, it was not allowed for woman to show anywhere above their knees, so as Anna had a sarong and she thought she would wear it. Unfortunately for her she had not tucked it in properly and much to her dismay had the girls outside the church laugh at her ‘short shorts’ showing when her sarong fell from the back….
This incident saw Anna claim the first ‘wally of the day’, to later be claimed by Maddy using Kwacha (local currency) instead of toilet paper, Ellen’s continues falling over fire logs, jenny’s misunderstanding of kwacha land (which was brought about perhaps by the black bag of doom).

I must also thank the lady who sat outside Benton’s bakery and sold those doughnuts, as they were fattyublous .

My first memory of the project phase was god there’s a lot of sand (this was most definitely my last thought as well). And there was. The roads were all sand, and there were children. EVERYWHERE. They liked to cling to you. Like that time me David and Anna went to get elevenses and whilst lost, gained a small army of children. Me and Anna trying to figure out where we were and to turn around to David towing along too many children, was something I never expected.

The project consisted of us building a house for the lovely Mary, who for an elderly woman who could well have been superman (just a guess). This woman not only looked after herself and has already raised her daughter (and several other children) but now has fostered seven children and looks after them in their 2 room house. She also helps at the orphanage which homes 270 children, which we worked out to be all of the children in our 2000 population village. That wasn’t even all the orphans in the village. But we were given some money by the rotary club for buying things for Mary. So we bought her pots, pans, blankets etc. But I was surprised at how emotional I got whilst giving her these items that you and I would just pick up or order off the internet and get annoyed when they come a day late. This woman started crying because we gave her a blanket. It makes you take a step back and wonder.

But seeing our almost complete house, that we had been part of making was really something I felt proud of. That we had done it as a team and actually made a difference in someone’s life.
That week was one the best and hardest experiences in my life. Not only physically but emotionally. Seeing the people with next to nothing. I expected poverty. There was poverty but not in the sense I imagined. They had little clothing and by the looks of it food was sparse and from the mud house we were building, living space wasn’t much. Yet they didn’t elude the picture so often shown to us in the adverts. Where the children have no hope. Perishing, a child dying every minute. Don’t get me wrong I’m not down playing the poverty; I mean the children living in this house are all orphans. And there are still people who need help. But I realised in those days, the materialist attitude of our culture, these people don’t have anything. Yet they have everything.

More is less.

why don’t we take note of that?

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Me and my friend Marka (who first told me her name was Sophia)
  1. When the leaders would take our items that had been left out and not give them back until we had noticed they were gone. Many curses were used against certain people during these days.
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