Couldn’t post videos on the blog, but check out the Facebook page at to see videos – hopefully if all works well!


A weekend of fun!!! Day 2: Saturday May 31

Another early morning today with breakfast at 6:30am and departure at 7am to go for our sojourn into Botswana for our boat cruise and safari! Oliver drove us about an hour to the Zambia-Botswana border and then handed us over to a small ferry that took us across the river to Botswana. The students were excited to get Botswana stamps in their passports at the border crossing!

Ferry to cross to Botswana

Ferry to cross to Botswana

There another jeep picked us up (10 of us were in one jeep and 4 in another) and drove us to a lodge. There we got on our boat with our captain Lebza. We departed for our 2 ½ hour cruise and started slow, spotting a small crocodile…

Baby croc!

a water monitor lizard…..

Aka iguana



and a water buck. But then things got exciting as we spotted elephants by the water’s edge

First view from afar

And then up close!!


and also 2 large pods of hippos – LOTS of them!!



We also saw an elephant in the water half way across the river!


Some of us spent some time on the top deck of the boat enjoying the sun and view!


Our boat returned to the lodge at 12:30 and we had a lovely buffet lunch there. Then on to the next phase: a safari in a jeep. Again we were 10 in our jeep and 4 in another. Before we even entered the Chobe National Park, we saw a large elephant by the road quite close to us! This was so unexpected that the students screamed and our guide David stopped the jeep for us to see the elephant but then also to remind us that in order not to scare animals and keep them happy, we needed to remain quiet and not scream!

We saw LOTS of elephants in the park – many extremely close-up!!! Will try to post a short video 🙂

And of course lots of impala – the McDonalds of the bush


We had a break to stop and stretch and have a drink before continuing on the safari


Then we started seeing giraffes! We saw several of them and also fish eagles (Zambia’s national bird).



The safari finished all too soon at 4pm after which we retraced our path: jeep to ferry, ferry back to Zambia and bus back to our lodge!

Pearson arrived promptly and we set off for the most recommended restaurant in Livingstone, an Italian restaurant called Olga’s Kitchen. We had to sit at 2 tables and our table of 7 got extremely slow service as our food took forever to arrive! But it was great conversation and we had a lot of laughs, which was fun!

Back to the lodge and tomorrow we drive back to Lusaka.





A weekend of fun!!! Day 1: Friday May 30

Today was a travel day. We left Zebra Guest House at 7am for the drive to Livingstone, and we are all excited about the fun weekend activities planned! And we are not carrying any packed lunches as the students voted to be adventurous and try getting lunch along the way.


Many of us slept during the drive, although the bumpy roads kept some of us awake. The roads are way better than most roads in India though! We did have some excitement along the way. There are police checkpoints where vehicles have to stop and last year, at these check points we were just waved on with no questions asked. However, this year at the first checkpoint Pearson was asked to pull over and show his license. Then he stepped out of the bus and had to speak to the police officer. We don’t know what transpired…..


 At the second checkpoint we had the same process repeated! This time Pearson returned with a paper and we asked to take a look at it. It said “Admission of Guilt” and as far as we understand he paid a fine of 200 kwacha because of something about his driver’s license (we speculate that it may be expired).

 At the third checkpoint, we were asked to pull over yet again! This time the police officer came in the bus and asked each of us to show our passport. However, he was a young man and very pleasant and said “Don’t worry, you haven’t done anything. I just want to make sure your papers are in order”. I think we were all relieved!

 So, we passed the towns of Mazabuka and Monze and reached the small town of Choma at lunch time. Pearson parked the bus and led us to a small restaurant where we ordered our food and decided to eat it on the bus. Although a small place, the people were friendly and they found us forks to take (Zambians eat their nshima with their hands). So food was ordered and we carried it to the bus and kept going. Several students tried nshima and liked it!  



We reached Chanters Lodge at 3:15pm and Mr. Chanters was there to greet us – I remembered him and he says he remembered me too! Anastasia was also there (I do remember her from last year also!). It is fun to get to see the same people from last year! We were assigned our rooms and went to them #1), and we were also told that there was no wifi L In fact Mr. Chanters told us that the wifi problem was nationwide and was due to a problem with some fiber optic cable! Hmmm – made me feel a little better about the problems at Zebra Guest House – maybe it was not their fault after all? Mr. Chanters had arranged for each of us to get a voucher for 1 hour of internet through his “iSpot” connection and handed them out. He sure is thoughtful and takes good care of his guests!

 Then we had a bit of confusion! Read on…..

 First Pearson told Christi that he did know where he was staying the night! Hmmmm – last year our driver Emmie knew what arrangements had been made for him and there had been no questions…. So, I called Uncle Abel and explained to him and asked him to speak to Pearson. After two attempts of phone calls, I guess it was finally worked out, and then Pearson told me that his accommodation was not the problem, he just wanted to know when we needed him! I was so confused!

 We all also had to order our dinners, because we had decided to eat at the lodge and Chanters is a small lodge that needs to know the orders ahead of time in order to prepare the meals for us on time.

 In the mean time our bus was waiting to take us to Victoria Falls, so after all this confusion we got on the bus only to be met with more confusion! Our guide Oliver asked us if we wanted to pay now or after visiting the falls! I told him our trip was pre-paid, but his office told him that was not the case! SO – back into the lodge and we made a phone call to our travel agent Maggy in Indiana. Fortunately she was in the office and immediately gave us her credit card number and said she would follow-up. So, into the bus and off we went to the Falls. 

It was a short drive from the lodge and then Oliver took us on the walk. Like last year, I had the same feeling that we started small and then as we kept going it just kept getting better and better! First, we were upstream and saw the river and then the edge of the falls and then a bit more until we finally saw the whole sheet of water and it was raining on us!! It was as breathtaking and amazing as last year and the students seemed to enjoy it thoroughly as we were all soaked despite the ponchos we were provided.

DRY – with ponchos on – pre-soaking 🙂 Image



 A little bit of gift shopping after the falls and then Oliver drove us back to the lodge. He said he would be coming to pick us up tomorrow to take us to the safari also. We had a short break and then met for dinner on the patio – it was a lovely evening and we had a nice meal together. Then off to our rooms and tomorrow we go to Botswana for the day to enjoy our safari!


Blog entry: Alyssa

Today we were able to meet our email buddies from the University of Zambia (UNZA). Going into the meeting I was nervous because my buddy had only emailed me once; however, he was surprisingly talkative, kind, and happy to show off the beautiful campus. I was able to ask him questions about his major and the school, but he did not ask many questions about Purdue. The impression I got was that he was very concerned about presenting UNZA and Zambia in a beautiful, positive light. My buddy told me that Zambia has the resources and the money to do well and help people, but there is no initiative. That was hard for me to hear; however, hearing him share the many challenges he has faced in life, yet the joy he has, was very touching.


While there, we were also given a tour of one of the classrooms that the special education majors get to teach in for practice/experience. All of the children were autistic and ranged from age 5 to 15 (a huge surprise to me, since they all looked about the same age). The classroom was very busy and not under control, and for autistic children I have learned that it is helpful to have a quiet, settled environment. There were two children in the class that did not speak, but used gestures alone. I asked if they used pictures to communicate, but the sign we were directed to was up high and in a corner, which is not helpful to the children. The whole time I was wishing we had more time to work with the kids and teachers there to provide them with different alternative communication devices. We also were given a tour of the library, which was surprisingly similar to Purdue. There were many students studying for exams, it was quiet, and they all seemed very focused. As it has been this whole trip, we received many stares from the students and I did not know whether I should stare back, wave, smile, or just look down. In the States, when someone is staring at you and you catch them, they usually look away; however, in Zambia they just keep staring!


After leaving UNZA we headed to the Special Hope Network Resource Center for a second time. While there I was able to help with hearing screenings. The population here consisted of children with a variety of mental disabilities, yet they were paying for therapy unlike the children in the compounds. The parents and caregivers here asked so many questions about the equipment we were using and what it was testing. They wanted answers to be able to care for the children in the best way possible, which was refreshing after seeing so many parents not ask questions of the pediatrician at PCOE. I had the opportunity of screening some of the adult staff at Special Hope Network. Even they had concerns about whether the test or us looking in their ears would hurt. I expected fear from the kids, but not the adults, so I was shocked. Also, we were able to do a pure tone hearing test on some of the kids to find their threshold of hearing. These children had Down syndrome so we had to be very creative in order to get responses from them. Dr. Krishnan did a wonderful job and I realized how flexible one must be in this field. You never know what child or adult will walk through your door asking for help, and you may not have all of the tools necessary. We were able to have one boy use cotton balls and throw them to the ground every time he heard the “beep beep beep!” For one of the girls, though, we tried hand raising and throwing cotton balls, but her responses were not consistent. Finally, her father said he could just look at her face and eyes and tell us when she heard the tones. It was amazing to see her small little head turns, smirks, and watch her eyes get bigger as she reacted to the tones. Her father was so sweet and knew his daughter extremely well. It was touching to see such love.

After screenings we had the privilege of participating in circle time so that the staff could ask us questions about anything. Mr. Nelson, one of the founders of Special Hope Network, asked them to find out how to best serve the children at the center – he wants them to learn and grow despite their disabilities. They all wanted to know how the ear and hearing in general worked. Many of them were unfamiliar with the basics of the ear that I had grown up learning. A common question was about ear wax, where it came from, is it bad or good, what if there is too much, etc. Other questions were personal concerns that they had about their own hearing and ears. One man was trying to explain to us that when he closed his nose and mouth and blew out that air came out of his ears! It was quite funny and we attempted to explain that that cannot happen, but he was convinced of this supernatural power.

Overall, the people working at Special Hope Network are truly special, gifted, and loving people. Their hearts are so full of a desire to serve children that are otherwise cast aside. They want to give hope to a hopeless population and they are succeeding! The Nelsons, their staff, and the children there have touched my heart in new ways. Prior to this trip I had not had much interaction with children who had disabilities, but now I see these kids with such joy in their hearts and it is infectious!

Blog entry: Kelly

We went to UNZA today and finally got to meet our buddies in person! Mukenani is my buddy, and I was nervous to meet him. Truthfully, I didn’t expect him to show up because of the lack of email exchange. He ended up being very talkative, and we had some great conversations.


After I mentioned that everyone was staring at our group, he asked, “Wouldn’t people in America stare if they saw a group of black people?” I could tell he had some misconceptions about the United States. I explained to him that there are Americans of all different races. Even if I saw something that I considered unusual, we have been taught not to stare. Then, I asked Mukenani if there were white people at his school, and he said maybe one or two professors. I never noticed the diversity in America until now. When we see people from different countries here, usually it is only temporary, but even just at Purdue we have a mix of people from everywhere.

UNZA looked pretty similar to Purdue. People were everywhere walking to class and talking with friends. Students were at the library with their laptops studying. I will admit I was surprised. I don’t know what I expected, but I thought the two would be very different.

It did make me sad to think that I will probably never get the chance to show Mukenani around Purdue. I asked him if he ever considered traveling to America, but unfortunately it is too expensive. After he proudly shared everything about his school, I wanted to return the favor. It would’ve been fun to answer his questions the way he answered mine, and I think he really would’ve been impressed.

After saying goodbye to our buddies, we went to the Special Hope Network resource center. Here, I got a few more chances to do some OAE screenings, which I was excited about. I really love getting the hands-on experience. After every screening, I get a little more comfortable, and I like audiology that much more. I screened a couple children, but then, we started screening the staff. I even saw a man come in that outright admitted he was very scared. I enjoy working with adults because they can understand and believe me when I tell them there is nothing to be afraid of.

Mr. Nelson’s speech at the end of the day inspired me. I know that I am the one benefiting from this program, but he truly seemed appreciative, which made me feel like I had a purpose and maybe made a tiny change. I realize that after graduation, I would love to go somewhere that I am needed. Mukenani was inspired to become a special education teacher because he saw people in his village needed that. Audiologists are needed everywhere, but some places need them more than others. I hadn’t looked at my future like this until now, but it’s something I will consider for the next 5 years.



Today was a fun day, which included a visit to the University of Zambia (UNZA) campus and meeting with the e-mail buddies and an afternoon at Special Hope Network (SHN) – my most inspirational organization!

It was nice that we did not have a very early start – 8:45am – whew! :). We got to campus super fast – no traffic and Pearson dropped us off, but this time, unlike last year, we saw nobody waiting for us!

But they did show up shortly! They took us up to the 5th floor conference room and as we were waiting for the key I met three students: Nawa, Boaz and Lwimba who is Deaf and uses sign language

This time Muchanga had organized things differently for us! The Assistant Dean Joseph Mandiata and two other faculty members from the Department of Special Education (Simon Kaoma who said he teaches Audiology and ASL, and Mr.Kenneth who said he is representing Beatrice Matafwali) were there. They spoke briefly and introduced themselves as did all of us. Then Zaza who is the President of the Special Education Student Association gave a formal prepared speech. After some question and answer and exchange of information we finally walked with the students across campus.


Two students (Jessica and Katie) had no buddies as they did not come 😦


They showed us their assessment center, demo classroom as well as resource center for students with disabilities. While students were visiting these rooms a student (M) stopped to ask us some questions. Turns out she has a scholarship to go to the US (NYC) for a week in July. She seemed very timid and was asking how to get a passport! I really did not know how to help her. She also said that the trip conflicted with one of her exams – but fortunately she spoke to the Dean and Assistant Dean right there (as they were chatting with us) and was told to send in a written request to take the exam another date. And finally, we learned that she also has a hearing loss!!! So I asked her to come to Beit Cure on Thursday and hope we are able to see her! AND fit her with a HA if it is appropriate….

Then on to their “resource room” for UNZA students with disabilities and there I met the sweetest nun Sr. Euphrasia. She is finishing her Masters in Special Ed focusing on visual impairments and said she just defended her dissertation last week and is awaiting the verdict. She reminded me of India a lot because of her name (I had a Sr. Euphrasia in school as a child) and because she is a Teresian nun (my Mom taught at Teresian Convent for several years before she retired!)

Then the students took us on a walk across campus and too us through their library and it was interesting to see the similarities –

o   Large areas where students were sitting and studying

o   Books on the shelves

  • But also the differences

o   They still use a card catalog

o   They have no e-journals

o   They cannot check books out for too long (varies from 1 – 2 weeks depending on the type of book)

o   All bags have to be left outside for fear of theft of books in student book bags!

From there we walked to the lake on campus which was very pretty and took pictures. The students gave their buddies the Purdue shirts we had brought them and they put them on and we took more pictures. 


Back on the bus by 12:25 and we got to SHN very soon! So we parked nearby until we finished lunch on the bus and then went in their new Resource Center

Set up for hearing screenings and though they said we only had to screen 6 kids, we ended up screening 18 people including staff and kids including the three Nelson kids Sam, Molly and Maggy.

So while 8 students were screening, the other 4 and Christi did circle time and singing with the SHN kids and staff – I always miss the fun times! Staff meeting next and we all crowded into the room to sit in a circle on the floor including the Nelson kids
The Zambian staff had a LOT of questions about the ears starting with

o   Tell us about the ear – which I started off in as simple words as I could

o   A lot of questions about wax which Breanne and Andrea answered 

o   About noise induced hearing loss which it was nice that Kaitlyn was able to give a response

o   About pus

o   About bugs in the ear!!!

  • I learned that Diana and Lois (SHN staff) are TWINS! And they both had funny stories:
    • Diana fell asleep while eating and had ants in her ear and she could feel them so she washed them out with water
    • Lois said she had a relative who got a cockroach in the ear and pulled it out but the head stayed in the ear!!!
    • We all had a good laugh listening to these stories!
    • And also Goodson who said that he “breathes” with his ears and air comes out of his ears (and would blow the roach out!) 
    • It was hilarious!!!!!!
  • More group photos and then we left at about 3:30 and decided to go to the Lusaka National Museum


I remember fondly how last year Emmie came with us to the museum and explained things to us about village life….

It was 4pm and the museum normally closes at 4:30 but they said they would keep it open until 5pm for us! AND he reduced the rate from 25 to 15 kwacha for the students (and Pearson came in free)

o   Interesting and reminds me of India and how the rules can be easily changed or bent

We did have Pearson come in the museum, but then a guide appeared, named Enox (sp?). He was quite serious about his job and took the time to explain things to us in detail. We enjoyed a brief tour of the upstairs of the museum with the guide explaining about “Kabwe man” which is the ancient skull found in Zambia, the history of Zambia from the time of the bushmen, as well as the colonization and more recently, independent Zambia. The most interesting was an exhibit that was covered in black with a sign that it may be disturbing

o   It was about the Maillon brothers (3 of them) who apparently murdered 11 people in the bush but were recently (last year) apprehended and killed

o   I think it was so sensational because murder is not common in Zambia at all! So they had every possible artifact found with these brothers on display including weapons as well as cups and plates etc.

Downstairs was a special display all about Kenneth Kaunda who was the first president of Zambia from 1964 – 1991, because he turned 90 a few weeks ago. 

The students chose to go directly to dinner again instead of returning to the lodge first, so we went to the Arcades again in case anyone wanted to get cash for the weekend trip to Livingstone. Christi and I tried a restaurant called Mike’s Kitchen and it was very nice – good service and food. We also went to the grocery store and got bottled water for our weekend trip. We were to meet at the bus at 7:30pm and for the first time during this program, Christi and I were the first at the bus because we were done early! 
Back to the lodge, followed by the usual pow-wow in Christi’s room with the only change being that we did not need to pack lunches for tomorrow because the students had decided to be adventurous and stop along the way to eat lunch.

The students discussed a variety of things again today:

How hearing loss is being caused by quinine which is used to treat malaria – we met 2 UNZA students with this story 😦
Students commented on how the UNZA campus looked really similar to Purdue! And had the same campus feel! The study spaces were like in the libraries at Purdue. They discussed how we take a lot for granted the US: we have so many libraries and books! We are so used to getting what we want online. 

They talked about dorm rooms: there is not enough space in the dorms to sleep and some students sleep in a friends room. But apparently, that is a problem at Purdue also: they sometimes don’t have enough spaces at Purdue also – They have used garages, bunk beds and closets for student rooms!

They talked about college traditions: there is a graduation square and you are not considered graduated until you take a picture with the statue there!

Kaitlyn’s buddy has a visual impairment, but rather than feeling stigmatized he said he talks with his friends and jokes about it and has nothing to hide! What a great guy!

They talked about the Special Education curriculum:
They were surprised that all the students have to learn to read and write Braille and discussed how the students have to learn about ALL kinds of disabilities.

They talked about the Demo classroom a UNZA:
The class had kids from ages 5-15 years with a variety of severity of disability. Again similarities wet noted as this reminded one student of a camp she worked where there was a large variety of ages from 8-19 years. 

They talked again about “being the minority” and misconceptions about the US that Zambians have just as we have misconceptions about Africa (Zambia). Felt really bad looking around in the library because they were all staring at us.

They talked about gender roles:

One student who is married said that as soon as she said she was married they ask about children and are surprised when she said they were both students and not planning on having kids now. Also one Zambian student was surprised that I was their professor and said there are very few female professors here

They discussed clothing: the UNZA students were all dressed up but said they were not normally, only for meetings. But all students we saw were fairly dressed up. Their version of “casual” dress is different. Also that the UNZA students were very formal with the Dean present and with prepared speeches. 

 They discussed  SHN:

All the questions and curiosity about ear wax were interesting. They saw their first adult (staff member) who was afraid to have the test done! They were amazed to see how a child was tested with the help of her Dad by picking up on her facial expressions as responses. Saw how really flexible you have to be!
And the Museum:
It was difficult to see slavery from their perspective. “We have read it in school, but glossed over it – made it seem positive.”






Blog entry: Alexis

Today was our second day at the Pediatric Center of Excellence (PCOE). We had rotations between different activities. The activities included: giving hearing screenings to some of the children there, making flash cards for the center, observing a pediatrician, monitoring in the speech room with Ms. Masters, and watching a neurologist with a patient. The majority of us were able to rotate through many of the activities.

It was our second day doing hearing screenings, and it was completely different from yesterday. I think this was partly due to our experiences from yesterday aiding us. At least for me, I felt more confident in my abilities to conduct a screening and also to interact with the children and parents. Additionally, we had less than fifteen children to screen all day, so that made it easier. Many of the children were fussy, and some screamed and cried, but we would just take those children back into the waiting room and have them calm down before trying again. Other children were perfectly behaved and so happy to see us. These children just light up when you smile or wave at them, and they have the most humbling smiles I’ve ever seen.

Many of us spent a lot of time in the lecture room at PCOE working on flashcards for the staff to use at the center. We mainly focused on making cards of food, toys, and basic signs from sign language. It started off slow at first, but after a while we got into a routine that divided up the tasks of drawing and laminating the cards.


While observing the pediatricians, two students were able to go in at a time. Rachael and I met with one of the pediatricians and got to talk with her for a few minutes before the first patient came in. We talked about some of the similarities and differences between America and Zambia. It was interesting to get a perspective from someone who has lived in Zambia for a long time. The pediatricians at PCOE focus on helping children who have or are at risk for HIV. The first patient I observed was an eight-year-old boy with AIDS. His mother came with him. The biggest thing that stood out to me about this appointment was that the boy had been complaining about having blurry vision for a week and his eyes were red and swollen, but the mother believed his vision and eyes were fine. His mother said she thought he just had poor posture, which did not make sense to me. I think part of her reasoning had to do with the fact that she was not educated about eyesight. So, in her mind, she wanted to blame his complaining on something more familiar to her. However, I am just speculating, and I will never know for sure why the mother reasoned the way she did.

The second patient I observed was a fifteen-year-old girl with a man who seemed to be her grandpa. I was surprised by her age, because she looked to be no older than ten. I’ve noticed that a lot here with children who have illnesses or disabilities though. They tend to look a lot younger than they really are. The part about this appointment that really stood out to me was the fact that the girl was completely in charge of taking her medications. She had no adult supervision what so ever. In my experience, my mom always controlled or at least monitored my medications. I’m twenty-one now, and she still checks up on me about things like that! But this girl was in charge of her medications; and on top of that, she was using them incorrectly. She was supposed to take two pills of one medicine and one pill of another medicine, but she accidentally switched the dosages for the entire time she had been taking them. This really struck me because doing something like that can cause serious concern for most medications. The pediatrician just made sure to correct the child and asked the grandpa to help her. I can say that it was an eye opening experience. In class, you can learn all the statistics you want about illnesses such as AIDS, but it does not truly hit you until you can put a face to it; and suddenly, it’s not just a statistic anymore, it’s an actual person.

The rule of having two students at a time also applied while monitoring the speech consultations with Ms. Masters. Alyssa and I were the last ones to observe at the end of the day. Ms. Masters would interact with the child and see if they could say or understand certain phrases such as “my turn” or “please,” and then she showed the child an application on the iPad, SpeakAll. This application is used as a communication device, but the child viewed it more as a fun game. He would move pictures around and make the iPad say silly things. He adored it, and he couldn’t stop smiling and laughing. After a while, Ms. Masters talked mostly to the caregiver in order to inform her of some communication techniques and some available resources. While she was doing that, Alyssa and I, along with a staff member, played with the patient and tried to incorporate situations that would allow for communication and interaction. I felt like this child was just like other children in the United States in the aspect of wanting to have fun and wanting to play with people. Sometimes, it’s nice to be reminded of our similarities.

Sadly, I was one of the students who was not able to observe a neurologist. So I can’t tell you much about that, but I can say the students who did get to observe in this room really enjoyed it, and they thought it was interesting to see another aspect aside from speech and hearing.

Today has been an exciting day where we were able to do many different activities, all of which were fun. It was a long day, but it felt like it went by in the blink of an eye. I can’t believe we have been here for four days already! Where has the time gone? I can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store for us!

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