Kataji, a Village Outside of Lundazi
Today we drove 30 minutes out of Lundazi to a village, Kataji, where there is a community school and a Strengthening Children group. The leader, Musipasi distinguished himself last summer by grasping the concepts. The children in his group sang, reviewed lessons learned in the group, and put on a play, “Bouncing Back to School.” The story line is of a family abandoned by the grandparents. The parents sent their children in the fields to earn maize, which prevented them from attending school. A school representative convinced the parents to allow the children to attend school. At least that is what I understood through the Tumbuka to English translation.
Musipasi has emphasized keeping children in school through his involvement in the village. He has some pull as well because his uncle is the local Headman or village leader. Each child in his group wore a paper hat on which they wrote main points from the curriculum. He said the hats were both decorative as well as reminders to the children. I plan to ask him how much the children are helped by the reminders as the writing is in English and most of the speaking I heard today was in Tumbuka. Still, this is a creative way to summarize main teaching points.
On our drive back to Lundazi we gave a lift to 3 Peace Corp volunteers. Two are from PA and one from VA. They have been in outlying villages and each have one year left of their 27-month term. There is another volunteer in the village who is from Seattle. They mostly work in schools helping with the local teachers and assist with running teacher group meetings or what is called professional learning communities in the US. I got one fellow’s email and Zambia phone # for Machelle. I figured she would like to hear their impressions from leading teacher group meetings. None are trained teachers though likely are competent to teach and assist in the schools.
Tomorrow I will replicate the train the trainers component and then teach the curriculum to teachers. I’ve already heard some of my star pupils from last year have left the area. I hope to learn more about how the program is progressing in Eastern Province. I have a growing concern for finding a way to mentor or supervise trainers and group leaders.