SORRY – no photos are getting loaded 😦
We did have our first nightly pow-wow last night and were happy that the students had a lot to say about their first day and their initial experiences in Zambia. One of the most thoughtful statements of the night: “It felt different being the minority – everyone staring because you are different”.
Today is a holiday for Africa Freedom Day, so our carefully laid plans were changed last week to make this a FUN day instead!
The students chose to visit the Elephant Orphanage Project – thanks to Chisomo for mentioning this to us when we met at the ASHA convention!!!!!
Pearson our trusty driver for the duration of the program arrived with our bus promptly (rather ½ hour early!). So at about 10am we started off for Lilayi. We were there by 11:00 for the elephant program at 11:30. Since we were early we went in to see the lodge (which reminded me a lot of Chaminuka which we visited during our first trip to Zambia in 2012). It had a large swimming pool and a playground which the students thoroughly enjoyed!! They were playing like kids on the swings, tyre swings, balance “beam” etc.
At 11:30 we went up on the elephant viewing deck to see the baby elephants. There are 6 calves at the facility ranging in age from 3 months to 4 years old. They came running in and drank their bottles and then proceeded to play around with each other and have a mud bath! It was an absolute delight to watch! The orphanage is run by Game Rangers International, a non-profit. It was wonderful to see the rescued elephants having a fun time together!
From there we drove just a few minutes to Chilanga to see Munda Wanga Environmental Park. We took the students there last year and they had really enjoyed it, and this year was no different! We first had our picnic lunch with Pearson included and had a great conversation with him that helped us learn a little more about the local culture. Then we went on a guided “feeding tour”. The atmosphere was VERY different from last year. Last year it was just our group who got the tour and it was a quiet affair with no feeding involved (that I recall). This year, the guides had food for the animals to bring them out so we could see them. And there was a large crowd, likely due to the holiday today-so we got to see many Zambian families and children having a fun outing too! We got our first sight of impala, zebra, lions, warthogs etc. – although not in their natural habitat. These animals are also rescued, but it is not clear what happens to them down the road. (The elephant project releases them to the wild over time).
After the guided tour we walked around the beautiful botanical gardens enjoying the vegetation and colorful flowers before heading back to the lodge. It was quite nostalgic for me remembering doing this last year also!
On our way back to the lodge we stopped at the mall to inquire about the internet dongle (no luck – still no answer about it – but we are going to try again tomorrow) and had a surprise treat: we came upon a group of Zambians performing there – dancing and singing. It was fun to get to experience some more of their culture!
Back to the lodge – and the internet appears to be working )for text at least – not photos) so I took the opportunity to quickly post this before we go to Manda Hill mall for dinner.
Tomorrow will be our first “work” day and I hope to be able to post about that.