Zambia 2015: the journey….

The past few weeks have been getting into high gear for Zambia 2015! On November 20 we had the privilege of making a presentation about the program and its effects on intercultural learning of our students at the annual convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Orlando, FL. Three students from the 2014 program accompanied us and did an outstanding job presenting with us. The talk was very well received by the very engaging and thoughtful audience!

Presenting at the ASHA convention

Presenting at the ASHA convention

Applications for the 2015 program are due today (December 5) and we have already started communicating with various community partners in Zambia regarding their needs for 2015. The excitement of talking with our partners makes me reflect on how fortunate I have been to have participated in three previous trips to Zambia and to be getting ready for my 4th time there!

REUNION #2!!

This is a few days late because I have been so busy!!! But last Saturday September 6th we had the 2nd Reunion of the SLHS in Zambia teams! And what was most heartwarming was that SIX of the 12 students from last year’s program came! Including one surprise student (Jordan) who is now in North Carolina but happened to be in town! What an awesome surprise that was!

Here’s the 2014 team:

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And the six students from the 2013 team….

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And all together now :)

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And one final hurrah!!!

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Hope to have as much success  next year also…..

Here we go again!!!

The fearless leaders ready to go again! :)

The fearless leaders ready to go again! :)

Can’t believe it is time to start again – BUT it is!!! Christi and I have started student recruitment efforts in earnest already and there seems to be a LOT of interest this year already! So much to do, but it is great to have such a good partnership – AND we have our 2nd annual reunion this Saturday where a few of the 2013 alumni will be there along with all the 2014 students!!!

Surprise!

We met in class again this morning and wondered where the students were because we were there and nobody else which is unusual! (there’s usually always a couple of students who are early). Then – ALL 12 students walked in together with a surprise for us – flowers, thank you cards and GREAT gifts: a signed group photo and a lovely scrap book for each of us!Image

Words cannot express how much your thoughtful gesture means to us! THANK YOU for YOUR very important part in making the program so successful. We really appreciate how flexible and willing to go with the flow you all were – even when unexpected things happened. Way to go Team Zambia 2014!! Looking forward to our reunion on September 6th!!!!!! 

Wrap-up meeting

Today was the wrap-up class for Team SLHS in Zambia 2014. We started with the course evaluations, then watched the powerful TED Talk “The Danger of a Single Story” (http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story). Then we started our discussion: our grand finale pow-wow. The students shared their thoughts including:

  • The program impacted them both professionally and personally
  • Made them realize how privileged they are
  • Several students said they learned so much more than they gave
  • Several also said that they want to go back and their families are surprised at that 
  • They noted the similarities they saw
  • Several also commented on how they had heard horror stories about safety but they had not experienced any such thing
  • They talked about the culture shock of coming back to the US
  • And about the difficulty of talking to others about the program and its impact because others just do not understand
  • Several said that although nervous at the start, they gained confidence in their clinical skills over the course of the program
  • And they appreciated how there was always someone available to help if needed
  • They commented on how they were looked upon as the “experts” and people asked them questions
  • And how AAC was so useful at several of the sites we visited
  • They appreciated the weekend break which allowed them to get back to work the 2nd week rested and ready to go
  • Finally we spoke about the only negative aspect of the program – the driver who was a “little too forward” 

As suggested by Julia and agreed upon, we then decided to go for our “Fountain Run” – a Purdue tradition, but one that I had never heard about despite having been here for 15 years!

The team BEFORE the run:

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Drinking from the lion’s mouth (another tradition apparently)…

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The fearless leader went first!!

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Followed by the rest of the team:

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Ready for Fountain #2:

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After the 2nd fountain:

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Happy it’s done?!

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Confused?

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The soaked program leaders!

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What a team building way to wrap up the program!! 

Travel and reflections….

Thanks to KLM for two more uneventful flights: from Lusaka to Amsterdam, a brief layover there and then on to O’Hare. The team after we retrieved our baggage: Happy to be back…….

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But sad to be departing the group: 10 of the 12 students were picked up by their families at O’Hare:

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The final four who came to West Lafayette on the shuttle bus:

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What an amazing two weeks we have had again! So many people were involved in the success of the program and in helping our team. In addition to everyone in Zambia, some specific people back home that we would like to thank include:

  • Professor Oliver Wendt at Purdue for providing the SPEAKAll app to be used by individuals in Zambia as an alternative mode of communication

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  • Julie Renshaw and Gordon Stowe Inc. for providing supplies such as immittance and OAE tips and otoscope specula and loaner equipment to use for our screenings
  • Phonak Inc. for providing hearing aid and batteries
  • Clinical Professor Jenn Simpson and the Purdue Audiology Clinic for providing equipment to take to Zambia
  • Purdue University (Dean Liping Cai, David Ayers and others) for providing the Study Abroad and International Learning (SAIL) grant that helped purchase supplies and subsidize student costs for the program

Thoughts of our time in Zambia will remain with us…..the warm and friendly smiles of every Zambian we met……

Isaih at the Mimosa Cafe:

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the inspirational work of the organizations we had the honor and privilege to work with……

the children: typical kids and kids with disabilities from whom we learned so much

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the fun times at Victoria Falls and on safari and at the elephant orphanage….

and all the fun and memorable incidents – some of which I captured on camera :)

The weighing of suitcases and transferring of items to make sure the weight was under 50 pounds!

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Julia and her “jump” photos :)

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The power outage the first night we were there at our welcome dinner!

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Nightly pow-wows and lunch packing in Christi’s room (#16)

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The breakfasts: watermelon, broken toaster one day after a power outage (which thankfully came back to life soon – since this was the NEW toaster purchased during our last trip to Zambia!)

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The mosquito nets :)

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Being little kids :)

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The “gangsta”!

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The team work!

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The “visitors book” – that was a brand new book seemingly started just for us?Image

These signs all around the UNZA campus

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Oliver and his bottle-opening technique!

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Huddling to stay warm on the cool morning we went on safari in Botswana

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The coolest sinks at the lodge in Botswana!

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The butterfly on the hand of a lady on the cruise boat…..

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And Breanne’s attempt to have it come sit on her! :)

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The lilac breasted roller – national bird of Botswana – unfortunately could not get a picture of it in flight when it is even more beautiful!

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Jumping at the banks of the Zambezi

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My first “selfie”!!!

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The fruit and nut lunch on the bus…

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The “disco” bathroom…

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The people crammed into the backs of trucks…

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Jessica being embarrassed :)

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The daily ritual of cutting watermelon at breakfast – this morning with a very small knife given by Damiano!

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The dirt roads and dust clouds!

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The caterpillars for lunch!

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The holding of the python – brave Rachael went first!

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Alexis….not so sure :)

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The funny signs at Kalimba Reptile Farms

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The “prank” on Alyssa – placing stickers on her…

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The making of a snail! New skill…

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The constant search for wifi….

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Meeting Emmie – our driver from last year!

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Our chitenges!

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The triumph of killing a spider!

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The weigh scale in pounds…with a conversion chart to kg above it! (They use kg in Zambia)

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The chicken espetada…

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The children….

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The dessert crepes…

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The winning of the game “2048” at Lusaka airport while waiting to board!!

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And on that sweet and winning note…..we hope we have the opportunity to do this all over again!

Last day in Zambia….shopping for souvenirs

Today is our last day – how two weeks have flown by!

We had our final pow-wow in the morning and discussed yesterday’s last day at Beit Cure Hospital and the farewell dinner which was much appreciated by all the students. More on that later since I am writing this at the airport in Amsterdam.

After the pow-wow we went for our final lunch in Lusaka at the Mimosa Cafe – the same place where we started. Here with our driver Pearson..

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Then on to Kabwata Cultural village for our final dose of souvenir shopping….

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Successful bargaining for some pretty fun souvenirs :) Breanne and Andrea with baby mobiles….

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We got befriended by a group of children as we waited after our shopping….

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We had a final group dinner at everyone’s favorite restaurant: Mint Cafe and enjoyed dessert crepes: this one a Snickers crepe – yum!

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Back to the lodge and the students received their gifts of the Zambian paper bead necklaces!

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Then at 9pm we loaded the bus with our luggage and it was time to go to the airport. Here we are the airport – a bitter sweet moment as always to leave Zambia after a very short and busy two weeks, but glad to be going home to the families we miss…

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