Monday, 2 November 2020

Reopening School


I planned this blog approximately 5 weeks ago when we had been given the go ahead to open school. Time has flown by since then and Corona shut down seems like a dim and distant memory. We are open with smaller classes, children only in for a limited amount of time every day and everyone wearing face masks and washing their hands regularly. To add to the chaos we also bought the grade 5 and 6 children who had been learning elsewhere back on site for the rest of this term.


First Assembly after Corona


Temperature Checks 

It works a little something like this:


206 children.


Each grade is split into 2 groups.


Baby class to grade 4 are in for 2 hours of learning a day. Group 1 starting at 8am and group 2 starting at 10.30am.


Grade 5 and 6 are in for 3 hours of learning a day with group 1 starting at 8am and group 2 starting at 11.30am

It feels like we have children coming and going all the time and should install a revolving gate but over the last 5 weeks we have got a pretty good system in place. Teachers are teaching the same lessons to two separate groups. It means less learning time but also much more focused work with teachers able to support the children in more meaningful ways.


Grade 1

Grade 4 measuring each other


When we opened school 15 children did not come back. We expected to have lost a few children as parents lost jobs and have moved away but it was very sad especially as a couple of them had been with me for a long time.



Overall the official figures for Corona virus in Zambia are very encouraging with low transmission rates and relatively low number of infections. We thank God for this and pray it will continue.



Patricia washing and combing hair

Sunday, 19 April 2020

A few people have asked what its like in Lusaka at the moment, this is a fairly lengthy post but I have tried to give you a full overview.

In Zambia schools were closed on Friday 20th March, the same day as in the UK but there are a few significant differences in how Covid-19 is playing out in Zambia. The first cases of Coronavirus were confirmed on the 18th March and up to now the official figures show Zambia as having a total of 61 cases and only 3 deaths.  We have regular conversations about how much these figures can be trusted and how the testing is being done, the honest truth is that like many countries we will never know however the figures across most of Africa are significantly lower than lots of the world. We live in fear that the worst is coming while praying that God will show great favour on this continent and protect us from the worst.


So what has happened with the children. The short answer is that they are home. We have had very little contact with them since closing the gates a month ago. I don’t think I will ever forget that last singing session with the children where they chose songs that had variations of the words our God is Great and he will look after us. As I looked at the children a sense of not knowing when I would see them again and what would happen in the future was heavy on my heart.

At Old MacDoanlds farm they are on ‘lockdown’. Zambia as a whole is not locked down although people are being encouraged to stay at home if they can but we have a few boys who have serious underlying health issues and they have all realised the seriousness of catching Conoravirus. So far they seem to be coping with not going out. I go once a week to check on them while keeping a distance and have bought them table tennis bats, pool cues and a football. I also saw a rather tense game of monopoly being played the other day! 
Sunrise Easter service

Where I live there are 18 people on ‘lockdown’. Roughly 4 weeks ago we made the decision to lock the gates here as well to protect us all. Everyone who lives here has been incredibly good about not going out and are much more comfortable to stay at home to keep safe.

Joy doing her school work

Just about keeping ahead of the children!

I have been keeping busy. Once a week I go out to do shopping, check on the boys and do any other jobs that need to be done off site. Three days a week I teach six of the children that live here. We have been doing the body coach workouts every morning and a run some afternoons with the children as we have made a running track in the goat paddock. 
Post-run rest