So, the last few days have been spent getting into a routine with the teaching and various clubs (reading, conservation and kids) which make up my internship, so days are either spent at the schools or lesson planning and researching. It’s good, and fun and I’m learning loads. But we also get a couple of days off each week so this week I decided to do a bit of sight seeing and become a culture vulture for a little bit.
Last Friday was culture day, where a group of us went to one of the rural villages to visit a family to find out more about life as they live it out there in the bush. It was great fun. We got dressed up a bit and the men and women separated off to carry out our respective chores. It’s quite traditional; the men went off to gather wood, light fire, sit around and drink beer and be waited on by the women. The women prepared the food, served the men and looked after the kids. Not quite what I’m used to, or what I feel comfortable with. Especially the having to kneel down while serving the men. I actually felt quite degraded and uncomfortable. But, that’s Zambian culture and it was interesting to experience it. But, don’t anyone get any ideas. I won’t be doing that for anyone. We prepared the food which was all using old traditional methods; so grinding maize using a massive pestle and mortar; chopping meat without a chopping board; making nshima in a pot on a fire.
Oh, and then we had to eat the food without cutlery. Using our hands. You can imagine how I felt about this. Nshima is eaten by rolling it up into balls then dipped in the stew, with the meat being eaten off the bone. I did it; but I was squirming. I’ve got to try these things, it’s disrespectful otherwise but bloody hell I found it difficult. I just hate eating with my hands; I can’t explain it. It’s just one of my things.
It was great just sat chilling out with the Zambian ladies and their [very cute] little babies, finding out more about them, and they about us. The older kids were playing with a drum and singing and dancing in the background. It was one of those moments where time just stood still for a bit and we just enjoyed being there. Even though it was as far removed as you could probably get to England, it struck me how it was essentially the same as any family BBQ/get together. Just nshima instead of burgers, wheat beer instead of lager, drums instead of a stereo. Oh, and the African dancing at the end. Yep, we all joined in with some traditional African family dancing. So.Much. Fun. Basically lots of wiggling, clapping, jumping and laughing in time to an African drum, in the middle of the African bush. Not something I thought I’d ever be doing. Pure Magic.
Then on Sunday me and Abby, the other community intern decided to hop along to Victoria Falls. Well, they’re only just down the road so it would be rude not to. Oh.My.Lord. One word. AMAZING. They are so preeeeeety. Beautiful. Stunning. Loud. Wet. Oh, OK, that’s more than one word. I think you get the picture. If you ever get the chance, go and see them. There’s a few trails to walk around which take you to different parts. Some parts you get wet. VERY wet. Just-jumped-into-a-lake wet. You walk through forest parts which feels like a tropical rainforest. In a storm. And then some parts are dry. Which is handy for drying out in the sun. Oh, and there are babooooooons everywhere. Little ones, big ones, teeny tiny ones. Right on the path. Right in your way. We had to scoot round them, all the time hoping they wouldn’t strike out and grab our legs. Especially as I had shorts on. Pleased to report I survived, legs and skin intact.
It was really nice to get out and about for a bit. Do a bit of sightseeing and walk around for a bit. I feel like I sit around a lot, whether it’s in a truck, at a table planning or on a sofa chilling. It’s made me excited for India. The next place on the list. All those things to see. Plus, I’ve got my itinerary sorted for when I’m there so I vaguely know where I’m going and in what order. I just need to figure out how to get between places, but I think that should be fairly easy. And if in doubt, I’ll just ask. I even met someone at the Falls from Shimla, one of the places in India I’m going who gave me a few little hints and tips. People are helpful everywhere.
And my teaching is coming along. I’m learning loads. How to
shout at be firm with children. On Monday I taught at a new school. Well, the kids were little terrors. They were so naughty. Makes the other ones look like angels, haha. The ones on Monday were noisy, loud and disruptive. I had to shush them so many times. And shout be quiet. And silence. And pretty much every word for shut up you can think of. I had a sore throat by the end of it! It was good though, it’s a good challenge and it’s all new skills I’m learning. Who would have thought I’d be any good at keeping a classroom full of kids in order? Who’d have thought I’d be able to teach a class of kids about improper fractions, mixed numbers, nouns, adjectives, verbs and sentence construction? Not me, that’s for sure. But, hey, you know what? I can. I’ve proved I can. Yes it may be daunting, yes it might be scary. But, I’ll give it a go and see what happens. And, it’s helped me realise something. Teaching isn’t for me. I take my hat off to all the teachers out there. You do a cracking job and I know I couldn’t do it full time.
So, that’s helped me narrow down my career choices. I reckon by the end of this trip I’ll maybe know what I do (or don’t) want to do. That’s the plan.