When World Challenge Educational Expeditions asked us to organise a project for a team of 18 year old students from Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School in the UK we immediately thought of Kakumbi School
. Remote and neglected, the school was in a poor state of repair and the classrooms in particular were long overdue a lick of paint.
To be driven along potholed tracks deep into rural Africa and know you are to be left there for 5 days is a daunting experience but even more so is to be met with a barrage of cheers from 400 noisy kids hovering between exuberant curiosity and shy terror.
Rarely visited, this was a new experience for the school and local community but with the volunteers camping right next to the village borehole it didn't take long for everyone to overcome their initial shyness and take them into their hearts and homes.
Most of the team from had opted to redecorate a classroom or two and quickly cracked on with cleaning and painting. Two boys painted a magnificent mural on the exterior end of a classroom providing endless entertainment for the children and villagers whom came daily to watch their progress whilst, much to the amusement of the local boys, a couple of girls turned their hand to carpentry and repaired a many of the broken desks.
However it wasn’t all work and the team organised a final afternoon of sport. Wheel barrow and piggy back races are not an everyday occurrence in Zambia but the children proved to be experts and their only problem was trying to stop laughing long enough to win a race.
But it wasn't just a one way cultural experience; both the community and the volunteers all agreed that they learnt much from each other (although I am unsure of the cultural value of the hokey-cokey).
You can find out more about volunteering by taking a look at our volunteer's page