Monday, 27 August 2012

Zambia Portraits

I can't believe I've been back from Zambia for over 6 weeks. Now I look back and I can't believe I actually went! I hope this small selection (yes, I know there are a lot but it is only a small selection!) will tell a little of the story of my time spent in Zambia as part of the IDEALS project

Over the 6 weeks I had the privilege of visiting most of the placements (I do regret not visiting all of them!) and recording it all in photograph and film. But it wasn't all about coaching children in Lusaka. We were able to spend a weekend in Livingstone as one of my previous posts states, getting to know the group and being tourists. We had a day out on a rural placement helping at a football tournament and a morning at the showgrounds in Lusaka keeping the kids entertained at the Inter-Company Games. 

The story starts where it should, at the beginning. We arrived at Lusaka Airport early Monday morning and were treated to our first experience of Zambian Time - or as we say in South Africa, African Time. We got used to this throughout our time in Zambia and I know some of the students enjoyed the more laid back way of life where things happened as they happened. I think we waited for about an hour or so outside the airport as the sun rose in the spotless blue sky - an African sky I had not seen for 4 years. I took the opportunity to take my camera out and take a few snaps, as did Rob Brown who joined me as part of the media team. Everyone looked tired but a few mustered a smile or 2 for the camera.

After relaxing for the rest of the first day and learning a bit more about Zambia, the project and the culture on day 2 at the Sport In Action offices, we went on a tour of all the placements on the back of a truck. 

David was one of our team leaders but when he was one of us, as it were, in 2010, his placement was Fountain of Hope.

Our first weekend in Zambia we spent in Livingstone getting to know each other and doing the tourist stuff. Once I had done my own tourist things (see post on Zambian animals) I joined the team for a walk around Mosi-Ao-Tunya (Victoria Falls) and a sunset cruise on the Zambezi.

I followed the crazy ones to the bungi jump but I definitely didn't jump myself! I documented the whole morning on camera. From signing their lives away to the final jumps. Before the signing and paying they were all nervously excited and joking about the rope breaking as it did earlier this year!

But once they had signed, everything became a bit more real and they realised what they were about to do!

Emma was too excited to be nervous like the others.

So much so that she hopped to the edge! I would love to have known was going through the crew member's mind at that moment!! Most people shuffle to the edge, Emma.

After the jump we all looked back at the bridge and the enormity of what they had just done!

They were all relieved to have survived! Emily was the most scared, Emma the craziest and Eli the calmest - he showed no nerves.

After Livingstone the work started. There were 2 students per placement, some of them doubling up at 2 placements. Tom and Reece were at Chipata and Kalingalinga. I didn't get any photos at Kalingalinga because it was too windy and dusty for my camera! But I got a few at Chipata. This game was great fun. They went around the circle counting but when they got a multiple of 5 they had to say a word (Can't remember what it was) instead of the number. It's more difficult than it seems!

Fountain of Hope was my favourite placement. An orphanage and street kids centre with a small school, here you really saw the difference we were making. I spent a lot of time here and got the most photos here. Although one of those days was because we were meant to be watching Fountain play a sports tournament against Munali. It didn't happen.

Josie from Northumbria University was one of the coaches at Fountain. She coached these girls netball. They went on to win the age group netball at the Wallace Tournament in our group and in group 2. Group 3's Wallace Tournament hasn't happened yet.

James: He came up to Rob on our placement tour and said he wanted to be a camera man. Rob let him use his camera and taught him a few tricks about filming, photography and putting it all on the mac. James was my official photographer for the Wallace Tournament while I filmed. He has a good eye and I can't wait to find out how he progresses.

Sport wasn't the only thing our students taught while in Zambia. Josie took every opportunity to teach guitar.

And James took every opportunity to take a good photo!

The kids at Fountain are amazingly photogenic and I couldn't resist on the failed Munali tournament day to take out my camera and photograph them.

James was always willing to be in a photo!

Steven is a peer leader at Fountain of Hope. He was on the streets and Fountain of Hope took him in and now he works there for Sport in Action.

Josie wasn't the only one to get her hair braided. Emma and Cat were also brave enough to let the kids braid their hair, with varying results. We were told the kids wanted Josie's to look like Rihanna.

Parachute games were a favourite with the kids. Although playing under the parachute was not really allowed!

University of Bath's Emily was placed at Munali and G'Nombe. This was at Munali on a day when Zambian media decided to show up when Chris and Emily had to deal with over 100 kids!

The "I Have the Ball Game" was a firm favourite with our students.

While the sports students were coaching and leading Zambian games and us media team were filming, photographing and editing footage, the construction team from Northumbria were sorting out details for the fixing up of a sports court at a school in Lusaka. These are from the first day on site.

One of the big events we helped at was the Lusaka Inter-Company Games. We entertained kids with Zambian games and a few track races while they were also taught about a couple of different issues facing the Zambian people.

We spent a day out in Chongwe, at a rural school where a couple of our students would be spending a few extra weeks after our 6 week placement. It meant another trip on the back of the big truck. This time with our matresses to make the journey more comfortable. The 45 minute journey turned into an hour and then two (Zambian time again!) but it was a fun journey with a good view of the african bush and a fun time chatting, singing and playing games.

When we had been shown around the school we were taken to the football field to help out at the local finals day where 2 matches were to be played. The students who could ref football helped in that way while the rest of us watched or explored the surrounding sites.

Near the end of the day 3 children were playing a Zambian circle game called "meh, meh" and Chris from Stirling decided to join them. Soon he had a group of 10 or kids playing I Have the Ball and other circle games, with the help of Haley Barr, an ex IDEALS student who had joined us for the trip.

Our drive back was enjoyable and also gave us a very pretty sunset in the clear sky.

Wallace Tournament. The final event of our six weeks. Organised by the students and involving the kids they have coached and got to know over the six weeks, the Wallace Tournament is a chance for the kids to showcase what they have learnt and for the coaches to see the improvement that has been made. Netball, Football, Volleyball and Basketball all took place and it was an enjoyable day and a challenge for me to film and photograph. I didn't take many photos as I decided to film most of the day but here are a small selection.

Apologies for the amount of photos here but I hope they have told a bit of the story. I also apologise for the time it has taken to put this blog up. I have been working on the film side of things and hopefully soon I will be able to put the short films on here to give a bigger picture of my Zambia trip.