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Trip to Katete

This week I took a quick trip to the eastern province to a town called Katete.  It was the first time that I had been in the eastern part of Zambia which I am constantly told is very beautiful.  It wasn’t that different but there were more hills (and pigs and bicycles).  I was going as part of my work with iSchool to see what one of our partners is doing with rural schools.  iSchool provided the vehicle and a driver (Everesto) and another gentlemen from iSchool named Jonathan was also coming to observe the teaching and to get input on how the curriculum was working.  Right now iSchool is designed for schools with electricity and is being piloted in Lusaka.  One of my projects with iSchool is to look into how we can get this solution into schools that don’t have access to electricity (most likely through solar panels). 

I was a bit nervous having a driver as I would rather have my life in my own hands but he was a very safe (although very fast) driver.  We made good time and arrived in time to visit one of the schools.  It is always amazing to see how well behaved children are in class.  It would be a dream for an American teacher to have a class this well behaved.  In the case of these schools, they have a single solar panel on the roof which powers a small notebook and a small projector, speakers, and the server (really just a small box) which has the iSchool content.  In order to keep the power requirements down, the projector is pretty weak so they cover the windows so it can be seen.  (The projector is the small small black box on the yellow and black legged tripod in the photo below.)

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  My interest was in the equipment and the measures they had in place to ensure that it doesn’t walk away.  The other Jonathan was much more interested in the content and whether it was appropriate and effective.  As we observed first and second grade students, nearly everything was in Chewa so I caught very little.  The organization that we are partnered with is called “Impact Network” (http://www.impactnetwork.org/) and I was able to talk with the cofounder and some other Americans who were there helping in various ways.

  We returned to our lodging to find that the power was out and that they didn’t have any food but we found one place that had a generator and we had our choice of nshima with chicken or steak.  If you ever have that choice, always go with the chicken.  Not only is the chicken very good but the steak is what most American’s might call shoe leather.  The power returned in time for bed but was out at 5:45 when I awoke the next morning.  Another day of visiting schools with nshima and chicken for lunch.  We carried lots of people in the truck so I opted to sit in the back of the truck when we travelled.  It didn’t seem that dusty but when I returned to my room that evening and looked in the mirror my grey hair had a definite red tint.  Again our place didn’t have any food and the power was still out so we went to the same place for… nshima and chicken.  For most Zambians, nshima is eaten at least twice a day.  I love it but I got a small glimpse of what our SALT’ers experience living with Zambian families.  Nshima, nshima, nshima.

  The power returned in time for a “suicide shower” in my room.  If you are not familiar with that term, it is when you have electric wires running into the showerhead and the water is heated as it comes out by a small heating element. 

Suicide shower

  The next morning we had planned to visit one more school but had noticed a leak in the radiator the evening before and when we arrived to pick up our “escorts” we noticed the leak had gotten significantly worse.  We decided it would be best to go to the nearest town and see if we could find a person who could look at it.  We drove about an hour to Petauke and found someone who could help.  It took about two hours to plug the leak and put the radiator back in and we were off for Lusaka.

  I sat in the back seat and decided to try to take photos out of the side window.  I like being able to capture photos of the normal sights around Zambia.  Keep in mind that we were travelling between 130 and 150 km per hour (roughly 80 to 100 mph) most of the time so I had to work on my timing to even catch the scene.  Here are some of the “highlights”…

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The typical landscape

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One of the villages served by the school

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Lady carrying sugar cane on her head.  Sugar cane is a popular cheap snack.

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Lots of bicycles

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Charcoal and bananas for sale.  While Zambia still has lots of trees, deforestation is going to be a problem soon.

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It wouldn’t be a road trip in Zambia without passing the rusting shell of a vehicle along side the road

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Crossing the Luangwa river

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Lots of nice baskets, hats, etc.

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Sweet potatoes for sale

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Women carrying water

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Should your vehicle need serious repairs, no problem.  Just park it RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LANE and get to work! 

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Joan
    June 30, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Thanks for the great photos. I so enjoy your blog. I got to sell hot dogs at Buehlers today for Red Hats. Yippee, rather be in Lusaka.

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