Day 3: Elephant Orphanage and Mthunzi Centre

Both happy and sad news at the Elephant Orphanage that FOUR students write about below (yes folks: get ready for a LONG post): we learned that two of the baby elephants we saw last year (Musolele and Zambezi) have been transferred to the Kafue Release Facility. This is the next step in the long process that may span more than 15 years until the elephants become independent in the forest – yay! But we also learned that little Suni that we had also met last year wearing a boot to help her walk after she had been partially paralyzed had been put to sleep because her leg got severely infected and could not be treated😦 Several of us bought Suni elephant dolls that are made by local women and the proceeds help the women as well as the elephant orphanage…


Words cannot describe how inspirational Mr. Malama is – we are so fortunate that Alfred introduced him to us three years ago and we have had the opportunity to work with him and his children each year. Can’t post videos on this blog (or can’t figure out how) so see our facebook page at SLHS in Zambia for videos.

Read on…….

From Kelsey:

Day 3 and a successful day indeed! Today our group visited the Elephant Orphanage Project where we got to watch two baby elephants eat and interact with one another!

Here, abandoned elephants are taken in and nurtured until they are ready for release back into the wild. The action was a bit anticlimactic until little Nkala had a flare up of flatulence, which we caught on video thanks to Ellen. Nevertheless, it was quite the experience to learn the elephants’ eating schedules, how they got to the orphanage, and their deep attachment to the “mothers”/ elephant keepers.

The most eye opening fact came from the orphanage manager who explained to us that elephants could be extinct in less than ten years due to poachers. It’s incredibly sad to think that such a gentle animal that many people have grown up loving could possibly disappear from the earth so quickly. Poachers hunt these animals for their ivory tusks, skin, and even their meat. Many efforts have been made against poachers to stop this unnecessary catastrophe towards the elephants, but with little success the elephants remain in grave danger throughout Africa. The Elephant Orphanage Project is a safe haven for these animals to receive love and nurturing until ready to be returned to their natural habitat.

Next, we arrived at Mthuzi Center, and orphanage for young children to provide otoscopy, pure tone screenings and OAEs.


With welcoming spirits, we were graciously introduced to the students by the coordinator of the orphanage, Mr. Malama. The amount of mutual and genuine respect the children and Mr. Malama shared was amazing to witness. Knowing that these children don’t have immediate families but have a staff who love and care about them, specifically Mr. Malama, touched my heart. They are orphans, but they are one big family.


Mr. Malama – an inspiration to all of us!

We split up into five pairs, four with pure tone screens and one pair doing otoscopy in the courtyard between the classrooms. I was assigned to pure tones for the first half of the day with Amber…


and then had the opportunity to do otoscopy for the second half.

With very few complications, everything ran smoothly and the our team machine was flowing efficiently. Our average time screening a child was about one minute for all 85 children! In the words of Dr. Krishnan, “Go team!”

I was impressed at the level of maturity and respect they had for each other. There was one young child who didn’t speak English, but he had three other little boys holding his hand and explaining my instructions to him in Nyanja before I performed otoscopy on him. It was heart warming to see how these children interact with one another and have each others’ backs. They are so loved, not only by Mr. Malama and the staff, but by one another.

The highlight of my day was getting to play futbol with the kids when we were all finished! Because we completed the screenings earlier than expected, we had some spare time. Yes, hearing screenings are fun, but letting out some energy with these kids was a way to end this day perfectly. Everyone was running around on the dust field and having a good time. I think the kids enjoyed making us look like the less athletic/ experienced bunch on the field (i.e. when I got a ball square to the face). It was so fun to interact with them on a whole new level and to see them having a good time.

Day 3 was a huge success for our team! Today could not have gone any better:)

From Liz:

Today was another great day of exploring Zambia’s Elephant Orphanage and performing hearing screenings at Mthunzi Center. The elephant orphanage was such a cool experience, and we learned that this organization takes in elephants who have been abandoned, left behind, or disoriented and nourishes them for many years until they are able to eventually wean them from human contact and ensure their independence and survival back into nature where they belong. Elephants could be extinct in the next 10 years, and what this organization is doing is truly remarkable. They have 9 elephant keepers who rotate and take turns taking care of the elephants to give them emotional support and help them feel secure and less distraught. They cannot stay with one keeper for too long because they do not want the elephant to become too attached and not able to survive without them, so that is why the keepers have shifts and rotate throughout each day. They even sleep with the elephants and cover them with blankets at night to help them feel secure and well accompanied. It was important and surprising for me to learn that elephant hunting is illegal, but people still do it for the money they can make from ivory. Additionally, some have begun to eat elephant meat, and, in the United States, apparently some companies have even used elephant skin to make shoes!
We all stood on an overlook and viewed these baby elephants as they were fed milk by their keepers, ate leaves, and interacted with each other.

At the elephant orphanage, we even ran into the former Vice President of Zambia!! Although we could not remember his name, and he didn’t seem too thrilled, it was an exciting moment for us!
Next, we spent the day after lunch at Mthunzi Center and Orphanage. When we first got off the bus, friendly children and staff greeted us. They gave us an introduction and told us that some of these kids stay at the orphanage and receive schooling, counseling, and other services until they are old enough to find work on their own or until their family situation improves. Some other kids live at home and just come during the day, and then they return home at night. This was really awesome to hear that Mthunzi really does try their best to find a different family member for the child or eventually allow the child go back with their original family if the situation improves. They do not want to deprive them of that relationship. As the head of Mthunzi, Mr. Malama, told us about their mission, all the kids sat in complete silence. I was amazed at the respect and admiration they had for Mr. Malama, as he is probably the closest thing to a father figure they have ever had. He could easily laugh with them, yet he could also silence the room by just saying one word. Children in the United States often do not listen to the parental figures or authority the very first time they are asked to do something, and it was neat to see the mutual bond and respect that Mr. Malama had with each of the children.
It made me comfortable to be there, especially knowing that these children are very loved and accepted into Mthunzi as family. I had always associated the term “orphanage” with a sadness and heartbreak, but I was happy and at ease with the joy that these children radiated because of the great care provided to them.
As we performed the 85 hearing screenings, the kids were eager and so happy to be there! Most of them caught onto the task very well, and they loved the stickers that we gave them afterwards.


Our team was very efficient in getting all the kids screened, so we used some extra time at the end to play soccer with them! They have some mad skills, I must say! They put us to shame! I noticed that they all played in their bare feet, but this did not bother them at all. My version of dirty is definitely not the same as theirs!

Next, a group of boy scouts and their leader came up to us and taught us a chant where we jumped to a beat, and that was a very cool aspect of the culture that I had not yet witnessed.


This group also wanted pictures with us, and this made me wonder if they rarely see white people, if ever. Before we left, I heard a boy say to one student on our team, “You’ll miss me? Promise me!” He was very sweet and did not want to see us leave, and I can say that the feeling is mutual…we all did not want to leave either! Overall, it was another great day of learning, both culturally and clinically!

From Jena:

Today was a wonderful day! We started the day off with coffee (I had a frappe) and then went to Lilayi, an elephant orphanage. They are currently caring for two baby elephants. We saw them eat and play. It was interesting to hear and learn about the elephants and what this place is doing to help. Fun fact: baby elephants drink 2L of milk every three hours. Workers follow the elephants 24/7 until the elephants can be released back into the wild. They get released into the Kafue National Park around the age of four. It was sad to hear that poaching is a big problem. The workers said that 35,000 elephants are killed each year in southern Africa and in the next ten years they think elephants may be extinct.

While we were there, we saw Guy Scott, former Vice President and interim President. We were all excited because we watched a video about Zambia before coming and he was in it.
After Lilayi, we headed to Mthunzi Center, a children’s orphanage. Mthunzi was not what I expected. I thought it was going to be a sad place but the kids were so fun and happy to see us. When we arrived, we were introduced to the director, Mr. Malama, and he told us about the center. Their goal is to help children in difficult situations in any way they can. They also try to work out the situations to place the children back with family members. The director was so nice and we could tell how much he cared about the children and how much they respected him. Mr. Malama had a child say a prayer before we began. It was heartwarming seeing all the children praying together. The child was so thoughtful and prayed for people less fortunate than himself. This just goes to show that they are so appreciative for what they have and they know some people may not even have the opportunities they have.
When we started screening, Whitney and I began doing otoscopy. It was different to be doing this outside but it we worked with the space we had. It was a great feeling to look in the child’s ear and be able to see the cone of light. I was so excited!

After a little while, Whitney and I did pure tone screening. One little boy was so excited to listen for the beeps. As soon as he heard one, his hand jetted into the air. He was done really quick. He was a bit sad he could not keep listening for the beeps. The children kept us smiling. Most of the children were easy to screen and we ended up screening around 90 children in an hour and a half.

We ended the day with a beautiful sunset and a game of football (soccer). They had two soccer goals made out of tree branches. Lots of children played and they were so good. I had a blast playing with them! Soccer seems very popular here.

On the bus, we passed numerous children playing soccer and have seen it on TV multiple times. It was neat being able to play a game that is so popular here. After soccer, our feet were covered in dirt. Most of the children did not wear shoes so their feet were even dirtier. The dirt did not bother them. It made me appreciate and feel lucky to have a pair of shoes. As we were leaving, a scout troop asked if we wanted to join them doing a traditional nature chant. It was a great way to end a wonderful day. Tomorrow we get to spend more time with our UNZA buddies doing hearing screenings at a local school!

From Erin:

Today was just plain awesome! We started off the beautiful morning with a trip to an Elephant Orphanage. This special place takes in elephants that have either been separated from the herd or even elephants whose mother was killed by poachers. Without the orphanage, these elephants would not survive. Once they are rescued, they are bottle fed, constantly with a gate keeper who offers them emotional support, and even given blankets to sleep with to cope through the tough process of recovery. The Lilayi Elephant Nursery’s main goal is to release the elephants back into the wild! This is especially crucial because 35,000 elephants are killed every year in southern Africa alone. The manager at the site told us he wouldn’t be surprised if elephants are extinct within the next 7-8 years. He also told us how some companies in the U.S are using elephant skin to make shoes and other goods to be sold. This shocked me so much because I couldn’t believe that anyone would want to kill these majestic animals!

After heading back on the bus, and buying souvenirs of course, our next stop was to the Mthunzi Center. This is an orphanage for young boys who have nowhere else to go, or even for boys who have a tough family situation at home. The Center is led by Mr. Malama, who upon meeting him I could tell was such a special man. He greeted us with such a large smile and lit up when talking about the center and all they offer the children. The Mthunzi Center’s main goal is to help children in struggling situations become model citizens of Zambia. The boys have responsibilities, go to school, and of course manage to have lots of fun! Before starting our hearing screenings, Mr. Malama asked one of the boys to pray for all of us. I couldn’t help but to get choked up. The love and happiness I felt from those children touched me so much because they are rising above their circumstances. They may not have a lot of toys or personal possessions, but they have an abundance of faith, support, and hope. I saw many instances where the children didn’t hesitate to help out one another. While screening a young child who couldn’t speak English, 2 young boys were of course by his side to make sure he felt comfortable and at ease by translating for us. No one asked these boys to do this, they simply knew. That is exactly what the Mthunzi Center offers, a place for children to turn to when there is no one else to go. Clinically, this experience allowed me to practice my skills while communicating to someone who may not understand me and furthered my experience with using a pure tone audiometer. After the day was over we had screened 85 people!


We finished our visit up with a fun soccer game in the field behind the Center, which for me meant just standing because soccer is definitely not my biggest strength! Our team feels forever grateful for Mr. Malama and the young boys at the Mthunzi Center. We are so thankful that they allowed us to come screen them!


Day 2: University of Zambia (UNZA)

Sorry these are a day late, but last night after a wonderful day of activities, we returned to the lodge, and were having a good discussion of the day’s activities, in the middle of which we had a power outage! No power, no internet, and with equipment needing to be charged for tomorrow’s screenings, we went to bed a bit worried. Thankfully, the power returned after midnight and things were charged. This year we have had a power outage almost everyday we have been here…..

So – here are two student reflections from our day at UNZA: a day late

From Amber:

Today we visited the University of Zambia (UNZA) and got to meet our buddies we had been emailing for the semester.


Zimala and Amber

I honestly had the most amazing day. My favorite part of being in Zambia is interacting with Zambians and learning so much about their culture from them. When we arrived we were escorted by a student to the fifth floor of the Education building to a conference room where we would spend most of the day. We began by sitting with our buddies. I was so excited to meet my buddy Zimala that we talked with no pauses about our trip so far to Zambia, things that I had noticed that are much different in Zambia than the US as well as what our home lives are like. I just loved learning so much about Zambia from him.

After we talked for a while it was time to begin the presentations the SLHS in Zambia team had been preparing for the students who all major in special education. We first began with a Speech, Language Development presentation in which we discussed typical milestones of children ages birth to 5 years of age, the importance of identifying the delays within these milestones as well as strategies to facilitate language. Following that we gave a presentation on hearing loss where we discussed the anatomy of the ear, hearing loss that could occur and how this would affect someone’s day to day hearing, as well as hearing screenings and the equipment you use to conduct these screenings. I was a little nervous for the presentation but I felt that the environment included students who were glad we were there and enjoyed the information we were giving in addition to the breeze of outside air from the Windows I felt more calm than I did when we practiced in class at Purdue!

Following the presentations we were provided lunch by the students which was from a fast food restaurant called the Hungry Lion which included fried chicken and French fries which Zambians call chips. Last night we ate at a restaurant where we weren’t sure so this was something we were wondering.


Lunch after presentations

After lunch we began practicing the hearing screenings with the equipment which we will be using when we go with the UNZA students to a school on Thursday to screen all 4 grades they have their. All 10 of the SLHS in Zambia team split up at each machine and helped the UNZA students with the equipment we had learned how to use for Zambia (minus our graduate students of course).

It felt so awesome to use the skills we had recently learned to help students who were so excited about learning to use the equipment. You could tell all the students really enjoyed really enjoyed it and I loved watching them practice including the “when you hear a beep beep I want you to raise your hand!” Including the demonstration of the task that we have all been doing. We even filled out a whole evaluation form as practice. It was almost as thought they didn’t want to stop when we were completed. Following the practice the students all eagerly wanted to take pictures with us. It was a very warm and welcoming environment and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting each of them and am so happy to call them my peers and friends.

The final stop of the day included a tour of the University’s campus. It was a beautiful campus with several similarities to American Universities. I felt the classrooms were much more open with windows than our classrooms.


We got to see a dorm room which they call hostels. They seem smaller than our dorms with 4 people typically to a room but they have a sort of divider up which I think is really nice with privacy. I was surprised to see everyone’s laundry hanging to dry outside but with Zambia’s crime rate so low they don’t really have to worry about their clothes being taken which I don’t feel the US has.

As a part of the tour we stopped by a beautiful lake they have on campus and took some beautiful pictures including selfies which were taken with Ellen’s selfie stick. These are also popular in Zambia according to my buddy.

All and all it was such a wonderful day filled with knowledge and friendship, I look forward to seeing them at our school screening on Thursday! It is off to dinner for the team.

From Alli:

The last few months, we have been e-mailing buddies at the University of Zambia (called UNZA) for short). Today, we had the opportunity to visit UNZA and were able to meet and spend the day with our buddies as well as other students.


Chuma and Alli

The majority of the students are majoring in special education and our group from Purdue gave a presentation on speech and language development in normal hearing children and children with hearing impairment as well as different hearing screenings we perform.

Not only did our group give the presentations, but we also had the opportunity to actually bring equipment and show the UNZA students how to perform the hearing screening procedures.

Even more exciting, we will be performing hearing screenings with the UNZA students at a primary school in Lusaka on Thursday. I am really looking forward to working with them to do screenings, especially since we were able to teach the UNZA students how to perform them for the first time!

After our presentations, we were given a tour of the university and what I enjoyed most was spending time with the students. We were able to just talk with them and ask them questions about their classes, what they do for fun and what happens around their campus. I have to admit that I expected there to be many more differences between their lifestyle, experiences and opportunities in college versus ours. To my surprise, there really weren’t a whole lot of major differences. They had different buildings and small sections of their campus contributed to different colleges and/or majors, there was a health center as well as a counseling center, dorms (which they call hostels), a workout facility, a grass mall where they study and numerous libraries. I was surprised to discover so many similarities between college experiences here in Zambia and what we experience back in the U.S.

Although there we discovered lots of similarities, there were some differences as well. Some differences included their laundry laid out all over the dorms to be dried (and we were informed there is no theft of laundry or really much of anything in general), no laptops/tablets are used in class, buildings were older and not as well kept and sidewalks consisted of either scattered concrete or dirt paths. It was such an awesome experience to be submerged in the college culture here in Zambia and not only hear about the differences from the students, but to see them for ourselves. We had so much fun getting to know the UNZA students.


Selfie stick group photo!!


They all spoke English as well as Nyanja and/or Bemba so we were able to get a lesson in these languages in addition to the campus tour. I think I can speak for our group in saying that we are excited to work more with the UNZA students to perform hearing screenings on Thursday as well as keeping in touch with them in the future!


Day 1: Cheshire Homes


Team Zambia 2016 ready to go on the first work day

Today, instead of posting my blog, here are reflections from three students on our team – they capture the essence of today’s activities, as well as what we learned on our first work day for the Zambia 2016 team!:)

From Katy:

The Cheshire homes was a life changing experience, not only do I feel a million times more confident with performing Otoscopy, OAE’s, pure tone tests, and even vision screening I also got a big glimpse into the African culture. So after a quick breakfast and of course a team picture we ventured our way the Cheshire homes where we would screen around 30 kids for hearing and vision. After our team split into groups and set up all the equipment our day began!


Team Katy, Kelsey and Whitney – ready to start!

Our first kid came into the room, he was around age 2 and we could not get him to let us put anything in his ears, we tried and we tried but nothing was working.. Not even the bubbles! – Even though we were unable to complete the task this was a great experience, as a group I think we learned that not every kid is going to be able to be screened and not every kid is going to be as easy to screen as those that we have previously practiced screening back home.


Successful screening

Personally, I have never worked with children who had such profound physical disabilities but watching them was amazing. Not once did a child let their disability define them. Each child was thoughtful of one another and was helping their friends out at every chance they got. We had one boy who was very verbal and when we needed to know a child’s name or how old someone was he was the first one there to tell us the answer! Our team was very thankful for him! At one point we even saw one boy riding his wheelchair and pushing another wheelchair from behind down the ramp! – They went flying (we were all slightly freaking out) but helping each other is their way of life and they are very good at it if I do say so myself.

Another thing that I want to comment on is how well behaved the children were since they are not being watched at all times I was expecting chaos, but in reality I have never seen a more calm group of children. We walked into the classroom at the very beginning of our day during our tour and the kids were just patiently waiting on their teacher to get back from a meeting – not something we would typically see back home.
After our day of screening the kids we got to screen some of the adults – many of these adults had never had their hearing tested and they were around age 34. Its wild to think that we start testing at birth and we were testing these adults for the first time!!

After leaving the Cheshire homes we had a little bit of extra time on our hands and we got the opportunity to go to the Zambia museum. This was cool because it was not something that we were expecting to do. Our tour guide was awesome she walked us through the museum and described each area to us and I feel like we each were able to grasp so much more from hearing her talk about it then us just walking through and reading the signs and not knowing the background information. She talked to us about how Zambia has a very low murder rate and I found this to be interesting compared to back home where some of us get alerts from our town of fatal shootings that happen every evening. This was just one thing from the museum that eye opening. Later that evening we drove to the mall for dinner with a beautiful sunset and ate together as a team and Mikes Kitchen (not our best choice). Can’t wait to see what the rest of the week brings our team!!

From Ellen:

Today we went to Cheshire Homes in Lusaka, where we screened about 30 kids.


Team Ellen and Jena ready to start!

Cheshire Homes cares for children who are physically and/or cognitively delayed, which made today a great eye opening experience. The kids and their caretakers were so resourceful, and the children who were more mobile were helping the kids who had more severe developmental disabilities. Lots of children needed to be in their wheel chairs to get to further away places, and we saw some kids who needed walking support use the wheel chair as their walker while they were pushing the other children. We saw walkers that were just wheels with a lawn chair sitting on top, and during “art time,” I saw a little girl who was coloring with her feet. It’s amazing the things they do with the limited resources they have.


Lawn chair wheelchair

The spirits of all the children also amazed me as they weren’t living an easy life, but you would never know it with the smiles on their face. After we screened the children, Sister Clara, the physiotherapist, and some of the housemothers brought us tea and fresh homemade muffins, and they were so open about how thankful they were for what we did. It was a great feeling to see how thankful the Cheshire workers were, and even the children were very excited to see we were there. Sister Clara kept saying how thankful she was and stated we did “the hard part.” Although it was very nice of her to be so thankful and kind, it was very important for her to know that we had simply just started the process, and there is still lots to do! They are going to try to get the children we referred a diagnostic appointment at the Beit Cure Hospital this Friday! We will be there Friday, and I am hoping we will get to see these children again!



So excited to be screened my headphones fell off!

We were done with the screenings early today so we decided to go to the Lusaka Museum, and we had the nicest tour guide! She walked us through the entire museum, which covered the history of Zambia and talked about the culture, beliefs, and traditions in Zambia – she even taught and played a traditional game with us. Overall, I feel I already feel I have learned so much and it was only our first day out. I am so looking forward to the rest of this trip!


From Whitney:

Today was our first morning in Lusaka! We each woke up, some of us to the sounds of cats by our window, and prepared ourselves for our first day in clinic. After breakfast we were ready to go: name tags-check, water-check, audiometeres-check, bubbles-check! We packed up our gear and piled on the bus. Cheshire Homes here we come! Upon our arrival, we met the physiotherapist, Rajiv, who had been coordinating our visit with Dr. Krishnan and Ms. Masters as well as Sister Clara. Rajiv graciously gave us a tour so we could see the children’s rooms (boys in one and the girls in another), the gym, and where they ate.


After the tour, we were shown where we could set up our gear and we began. The OAE tips were dispersed, the tympanometer was plugged in and the vision board was taped to the wall. We paired off in groups and started bringing the children in.

While some of us were testing the children’s hearing, others were assessing their vision.



Most of the children were cooperative and let us touch their ears without a problem, but there were the occasional ones who were afraid we may hurt them. It took a little more convincing (stickers and bubbles) and we were able to test almost everyone. By the end of the day, we tested about 30 children and a couple staff members. Each child had their own unique story, and we, by no means, know them but I think we were able to see a glimpse of it through their soft eyes, beautiful smiles, and confident demeanor. These children had physical disabilities that visually look restricting, but you would never know it by how these children acted. The children who needed wheelchairs pulled themselves up into the seat, while the children who couldn’t walk without support hung on the back of the wheelchair to give them a push. Each child was a friend to the other, no matter what they could or couldn’t do. It was really humbling to see these children loving the other without any apprehension; something that I feel can be lost in the ‘mayhem’ of the US culture.

All in all, Cheshire and each child we met will be a great memory of our first day in Zambia. After Cheshire we were able to go to the Zambian museum to learn more about their history and even how to play a popular game among the children (which I cannot remember the name of…but I can teach you when I return).


Lastly, we all went to the mall, ate dinner and returned back to the Zebra guest house, which is where I am writing you from. We have presentations at UNZA tomorrow and are going to be able to meet our buddies who we have been emailing for several months. It is sure to be another great day!

One important moment of the day that I have to add:

Most exciting was when we peeked into the girls’ bathroom and saw pasted on the wall the bathroom sequence cards that we had made for them last year!! What a delight to know that the work we did with them last year on using AAC picture cards is continuing! Way to go Team Zambia 2015!!!

thumb_DSCN2342_1024Finally some group pictures – our sincere thanks and appreciation to the staff and children at Cheshire….

And to Sharon, out tour guide at the Lusaka National Museum!

thumb_DSCN2399_1024And Team Zambia 2016 for a great first day and prep for tomorrow’s activities at the University of Zambia (UNZA)


Arrival at Lusaka was on time after an uneventful flight from Dubai. A beautiful sunny day in Lusaka as always, though there were a few powder puff clouds in the blue sky.


William and Abel were at the airport, which was exceedingly crowded – VERY unusual. We learned from Abel that about 4000 delegates are arriving for the African Development Bank (AfDB) group convention at the Mulungushi Convention Centre. There was a group dancing in a traditional Zambian welcome to the delegates! So – we actually were in a traffic jam for a while getting out of the airport!

But William’s superior driving skills helped him maneuver the bus out and we got to Zebra Guest House. Met Carol and Elise and got our rooms and then immediately turned around and got in the bus again: dropped of 5 students at the St. Ignatius Church for the 5pm service and the rest of us went to Arcades Mall. First stop: money exchange: and there was a line there as well! One man behind us was impatient and asked us to consolidate so that we each did not have to spend time at the counter. This is unusual because Zambians tend to be very calm and laid back…..I wonder if he was not Zambian? Eventually he asked the gentleman in front of us if he would exchange the money for him. He was extremely polite (more typical of my encounters with Zambians!) and asked us if it was OK for him to get the money for the other gentleman.

While the students wandered through the Sunday market we spent time in another long line getting our local phone SIM cards and Internet plans – took a LONG time. After that we did the grocery shopping and left the mall a little after 7pm. Thanks to the team for taking the initiative to not only take the groceries to the bus, but load them in and unload them at the Guest House! Good team work!

Our welcome dinner was at 7:45 and we met three new staff (Damiano from the previous two years is gone). We had our dinner – simple Zambian fare of rice (unfortunately no nshima), beans and carrots, cabbage, potatoes, tomato gravy and chicken.

Then we had our first pow-wow of this program and discussed the day tomorrow and the students shared their initial observations…..

  • At church, they noticed being “in the minority” as the only white people in church – but yet they felt it was welcoming and did not feel uncomfortable, except when they were asked to stand up and be recognized as the visitors
  • They noticed people staring at us – but we are a group of 12 mostly white people in Zambia, so this is not unusual. Despite the staring, their encounters were friendly and they even waved back and forth
  • Some students bartered at the market, others paid the full price asked because they felt uncomfortable bartering…
  • Some felt Dubai was less culturally different from the US, but others noted that they felt more of a culture shock in Dubai because they saw many Arabs in traditional attire

All in all, some very good observations for our first day here!

Finally, we packed our lunches and called it a day!


Travel Day 1:

We departed for the 5th time in as many years from the PMU at 3:00pm…this year everybody’s bags were under the weight limitations – yay! So we thought we were off to a good start…..


But…about 20 miles from O’Hare airport, a Ford van cut in front of us and grazed the mirror on our bus. So there we were on Interstate 90/94, stopped in the middle lane!!! We waited for 20 minutes for the police to arrive. Then they talked for the drivers, and we followed the police car to an “accident investigation site” – just an area where we pulled off the interstate and waited further. We tried talking to the officers to tell them we had a flight to catch, but there seemed to be no rush at all!


Finally, after a delay of almost 1 ½ hours we were on the road again, thankfully reaching the airport at about 6:30 Chicago time – 2 hours before the flight. Check-in was smooth because there were no baggage issues and thankfully the TSA security check was relatively quick as well and we reached our gate at 7:30 just as boarding was beginning. We did have some students stop to get food, and everyone else had boarded by the time they arrived and we finally got on the plane!


After all that excitement we had an uneventful flight to Dubai – but the excitement continued in Dubai!!

• First, we found out the airline had no documentation of our hotel reservations – so we had to call our travel agent in Indiana who said that she did indeed have reservations. She sent us the reservation numbers…
• Then we reached the Millenium Hotel to find that they needed to charge our credit card because the travel agent had used the card only to hold the reservation and it could not be charged
• Third, we tried to use our brand new Purdue credit card and it was declined!!!
• So we put the bill for the hotel and dinner/breakfast on my card – and hope to sort it out when we get back
o Way to go for being flexible and going with the flow right from the start – and we haven’t even reached Zambia yet!! ☺
• We did have a lovely, sumptuous buffet dinner


And then took taxis to the Dubai Mall (our taxi driver was from Bangladesh and I enjoyed conversing with him in Hindi along the way – he was quitetalkative!)
• We ran in to the mall to get a glimpse of the last fountain show of the night at 11:00pm, then wandered around a bit, looking at the Burj Khalifa, the aquarium and a candy store in the mall

• Back to the hotel in three taxis again and we will be up bright and early to leave the hotel at 7:00am for our 9am flight to our final destination of Lusaka
o Excited to reach there because the stopover in Dubai just feels like a hindrance in the way of our getting to where we really want to go!!

And we’re off again!

It’s past midnight so I can say that we are leaving for Zambia – again – TODAY!!! Since my journeys to Zambia started in June 2012, I have experienced and learned so much each time I have gone. It’s hard to believe that I am so fortunate to be able to go there for the 5th summer in a row! At the end of this year’s program with 10 students, the total number of students impacted by SLHS in Zambia will be 43! And several of them who came on the program as undergraduate students continue to be graduate students right here at Purdue!

Along this journey we have met so many amazing people who have helped us in so many ways, inspired us with the work they are doing, and taught us so much! We started with 5 community partner organizations and have grown to now have worked with as many as 12 different organizations.  With the friendships I have made during these past five years through working with some of the same organizations each year, I feel as if I am going to my home away from home!

Excited to be there again this Sunday!!!

Eric saves the day!

Maymester classes began yesterday….9:30 – 12:30. On Day 1 we learned the vision screening protocol (thanks again to Dr. Finney and her office staff), practiced hearing screenings on each other, practiced the presentation on Language Development, and played Jeopardy to remember information we have learned about Zambia.

But a little glitch to start the day: one of the 4 otoscopes we take to Zambia was dead. Many thanks to Eric for saving the day!!! Turnes out it was not the battery (as I suspected) but just the bulb and with a quick change of the bulb by Eric we are good to go!! Thanks Eric!!!!


On Day 2 we got to practice hearing screenings on 4 children age 19 months to 4 years) and vision screenings on the two older kids (3-4 years). Huge thanks to the parents who volunteered to bring their children! It was a great learning experience for the undergraduate students!! Go team!!



Previous Older Entries


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 53 other followers