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Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

Alda and Jon Visiting Their Sponsor Child in Zambia

We had talked about a visit to Elizabeth in Zambia for a long time. Trinity College Colac has sponsored her for the past seven years, after the College’s student representative council elected to sponsor a child.

We arrived in Lusaka were impressed with the standard of the roads compared to Kenya and Tanzania. We were picked up at 9am the next morning by a driver and representative from ChildFund. We travelled to Elizabeth’s school, across dirt tracks with many pot holes, very outback but expected.

Here we were first met by the headmaster and introduced to the school accountant. They explained to us that the school was in excess of 650 students and the only was they could accommodate them was by having morning and afternoon classes. Elizabeth was in a class of about 55 students. The buildings are simple open rooms and windows without any adornment. Paper and pencil is the order of the day.

It was very emotional to see her. She was shy and a little overwhelmed as we had taken some school materials such as derwents, brushes, pencils paints paper, sweets and soccer and footballs. It was wonderful! Elizabeth sat with us and tried the materials which were for all the class. We discussed where Australia was and showed how to use all the materials. Then Jon went out with all the class and gave the students a crash lesson in Aussie rules. It was all great fun. We then left the school for the village which was about 2k from the school. She walks to school daily.

Alda and Jon share their visit to Zambia, to meet Elizabeth for the first time …

This was an overwhelming experience, when we arrived all the ladies in the family presented us with a joyous song and dance. Then all the children arrived, they are all “sisters” and aunties. There are no men in the village during the day. The simple mud huts were immaculately kept and we were offered a traditional meal of maize paste and spinach. We talked about our school and our customs through an interpreter but they had very sound English.

We walked in the fields and presented Lizzie with some clothes and personal things for herself. She relaxed more as the day went on and we felt very welcome at all times. Her brothers and sisters along with her beautiful gospel voice sang to us in the hut. The simplicity and lack of worldly goods in this society is an eye opening experience although we did not expect any thing different.

We were shown the project of the water well provided through ChildFund, and the infrastructure of the birth control and the aids awareness at a local level. The school children are also provided with shoes and uniforms by ChildFund, all of them.

Overall it was an amazing experience and so good to be able to visit the children. She is a delightful young lady and now we can correspond more readily.

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