It’s true when they say, “time flies when you’re having fun.” Just like that 3 months have come and gone. A lot has happened since my last blog so enjoy this long and overdue post.
The first note worthy accomplishment was conquering immigration. It’s a huge deal when one receives their permit in Zambia as immigration becomes a second home to all. My favorite immigration officer, Precious, was sad to see me go after 2 months of consistent visits!
The office went under a 5S initiative to clean and improve the work environment. We cleaned, cleaned and cleaned some more. A clean and well organized office makes for better days! Through the 5S initiative we created a proper filing system, established a method for retention of documents and archived material.
We donated several items from the office to a community-based organization, Shelter Africa, that is a center for youth and the vulnerable population. Those items will go to training centers to improve the skills of the people they serve. All is clean and tidy in the office!
Meet 10 year old Wendy. I met this very bright and smiley girl at the project office in Monze. We often take trips to assess the progress of the Inclusive Education initiative that services 7 districts throughout Zambia. During a meeting, Wendy and her mother showed up for an assessment. I stepped out to meet this young girl and her mother. After the physical assessment, I noticed Wendy struggling to tie her shoe but that day she learned! Wendy has never been enrolled in school. The beauty of this project is to enroll children with or without disabilities into local schools. At the beginning of January, Wendy will be enrolled in 1st grade. I wish her nothing but success as she gets to experience school for the first time at the age of 10.
Persistence and Patience:
This word would ring very true last week as the Monze team was preparing for a re-launch of the European Union funded Inclusive Education project. The big day was Thursday and of course there were last minute preparations. The team from Lusaka left early Wednesday morning to help with the program and last minute details. I on the other hand, was left in Lusaka to be “persistent” with the local printing company. The brochures, fliers and vehicle stickers were suppose to show on Monday and that turned into Tuesday. Late in the day Tuesday we received these prints and they were incorrect. After much discussion, I sent these gentleman on their way with the correct format and files of all three items. I was promised a delivery time of 9:00 am Wednesday morning. I arrive only to wait 5 hours and receive incorrect fliers and brochures again. This company was going by, “third times a charm.” We had 16 hours until the launch, travel time to reach Monze, and no brochures and fliers. To get the job done, I made the decision that I was going to this printing company and making sure it was all done correctly.
Pictures of the local printing company…not what I was expecting!
I found myself in the Intercity area where I could have fulfilled any need I possibly had. After I supervised the correct format and layout of the brochures and fliers, I set off to see what I could find. I was measured for a skirt by the seamstress, looked at trousers, and found some smelly animal parts. As we are starting to print, the power is cut. I whisk 4 of the workers away from Intercity, load them in our vehicle and transport them to our office to get these fliers and brochures printed. We get to the office and as we are starting to print….power is cut. 5 hours later and two different locations, everything was printed and ready!
The good news is the re-launch got off without a hitch and all went well. Speeches were made, the fliers and brochures were well received, and 12-Nov-15 was declared the official re-launch of the European Unions Inclusive Education project for Zambia. This project will continue to strive and eliminate the stigma of disability throughout the country. There are an estimated 43% of children with disability that have never been to school in Zambia. Through proper training, awareness, assessments , and inclusion of all people this numbers should decrease over time.
It’s not all work here in Zambia. Weekends are made for adventure!
Until next time!