20 girls from Years 10 and 11 are currently on Botswana/Zambia. Here is a news update from Team 1.
Have just managed to find the only internet connected computer in Mwandi and so can finally send some news and photos.
We moved on from Lusaka after two nights and went to Livingstone for one night, bumping into some boys from King's Wimbledon while we there. The girls have done a great job buying bus tickets (even bargaining so we got one free ticket each time) and cooking food. The journey from Lusaka to Livingstone was 8 hours and came complete with a Baptist preacher for the coach. We then got to Mwandi and the house building project. The camp is great, though very basic. The toilets are all long drops (no flush or lighting!) and the showers rely on water being heated by a fire under the metal storage tanks. Every morning at about 4am the cockerels, donkeys and dogs start up an almighty racket! The staff are really friendly and the have been constantly praising the girls.
The girls have been in great spirits though and we're a day ahead of schedule on the house. It's built by tying long sticks to upright wooden poles and then using mud to fill in the walls. After that there's the throwing stage, whereby you literally stand and throw balls of soggy mud at the wall! They've all been singing loads and we must have got through every musical you can think of! We've met loads of kids who all want to make friends with the girls. They're badly in need of exercise books, pencils and even teachers though. Teachers here have to do two years in a rural place before they can move on and as there are no houses for them, only huts with no electricity or running water, most leave as soon as possible to find jobs in the cities.
Yesterday we went to a traditional UCZ church service and the girls got up to sing for the congregation. The rest of the day, and today, were spent resting as we're waiting for the house to dry. Tomorrow and Wednesday we'll be smoothing as well as visiting the old people's home and the pre-school. On Thursday we head off on our trek so there'll be no chance for showers, electricity or e-mails!
Hope all's well in Sutton! Mrs O’Keefe