Day 1 & 2

After a long 17 hours of travel we all safely arrived in sunny Zambia. We were greeted at the airport by George and Mwape from Sports in action as well as Uni of Bath lecturer Alex Copping. After squeezing 7 of us (and our luggage) into the back of the car we were relieved not to have overpacked. It appears the concept of seat-belts hasn’t quite made it to Zambia. As Alex was leaving that evening we had a very brief brief on the way back from the airport of the situation for the sports court. (Alex and 2 University of Zambia students had been meeting contractors prior to our arrival in the country).

We were warmly welcomed to the house by Stephen, Edgar and Caesar, Sport in Action coaches who we will be living with while in Zambia, as well as the 30 plus chickens that freely roam the surrounding garden. (Not so thrilled by the presence of the chickens when the roosters started at 4am)

Yesterday was our first full day in Zambia and it was a busy one. We picked up Shaya, one of the University of Zambia students we will be working with on the way to the Sports in Action office, afterwards heading off to a mall to get us sorted with Zambian SIM cards. Not such a straight forward process, with only 2 of us managing to get them working that day.

On the way to Chipata Community school we took a detour via the University of Zambia to pick up the levelling equipment. It was surprising to see that the architecture of the buildings similarly resembled those at the University of Bath (not so much the interior of the building), and they even had a lake.

The route into the Chipata compound highlighted the deprivation of the area, the road changed from smooth tarmac to a potholed earth track, rubbish littered the area, with kids running through the road bare foot.  It was lovely to see how much the students enjoy sport with netball, football and volleyball all being played in the field while we were there, with the children taking their own football practises using the limited equipment they had. Our project is the construction of a new netball court to replace the uneven rock ridden area they currently play on – often in bare feet.

On sIte we met potential contractor Sam to discuss the court details and what we wanted to achieve. It seems some negotiation is needed regarding numbers… 

Evening activities consisted of playing card games and getting to know our hosts better, all of whom have interesting jobs relating to the Sports in Action charity. We were lucky enough to see a lunar eclipse also known as the blood moon, the longest one occurring so far this century.

Today we headed back to the mall to sort the 4 remaining SIM cards as well as explore the local market. On returning to the house we met up with Shaya and Khumbo to go over the court specifications and discuss our options with contractors going forward.

Tomorrow we look forward to a day of rest at Dream Valley with the IDEALS sports students.


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