Starting on Monday we arranged ourselves into two groups, one group had the task of going to the Chipata site to arrange the manufacturing of the netball and volleyball posts that would be used at our court. The other group would travel to another site, Kalingalinga, earlier on in the day, to look at the netball post designs there and see a potential design idea for our Chipata court. While the design at Kalingalinga was interesting, since it was very robust and durable, the posts protruded out of the ground, which is a trait we don’t want for the Chipata site.
Following this discussion, we arranged a deal with a welder in the Chipata area to construct these netball and volleyball posts. We gave him our designs, which consisted of a socket section that will go in the ground, and then the netball/volleyball posts that will fit inside, and he said that he would have the socket sections ready the following morning. It was important to have these sections first as the contractor will need to install these into the earth before the asphalt and other layers are added to the court. We also went to the Chipata site that day to check on the workers progress, where they told us the compaction process would begin soon. The group that went to Kalingalinga in the afternoon went to the Fountain of Hope orphanage, where they met Steven our housemate.
On Tuesday the roles were reversed and the group that went to site yesterday stayed in the SIA office and Kabwata, while the rest went early to site to see the finished netball and volleyball sockets. The welder told us they would be ready at 10:00am, but in true Zambia-time fashion he was not done when we arrived. We then had spent almost the whole day in Chipata waiting for him, as he only finished by 2:00pm. However, in the time between we had some tasty nshima and visited the site to discuss the orientation our netball/volleyball sockets would have to be placed at. Following this we then went to the sports student’s house as we needed to discuss our roles for tomorrow as we would be helping with the local schoolgirls netball hub tournament! However, before we went over our roles for the that day, we had to make the sandwich rolls for the children going to the tournament. We ended up making over 300 sandwiches, which was a hectic and long experience. As we had an early start on the tournament day (leaving the house at 6:45am) we slept at the sports student’s house.
On the day of the tournament we all piled in a bus and headed to the OYCD (Olympic Youth Development Centre) where the hub tournament would be taking place. There we set up the tables, chairs and courts so that when the girls would arrive we would be ready for them. Apart from Rob and Eilish who were helping with the photography and filming of the event, the Bath students were mainly involved with chaperoning the teams and making sure they arrived and went to their games on time. Part of this involved keeping the girls entertained in between matches with many different games like ‘do it like I do’ and ‘mango tree’.
After the tournament we, as well as the girls that attended the tournament, got to see the Zambian national team play a netball qualifier for the world cup next year. The atmosphere at the court was electric as the kids were screaming their heads off. However, they were unable to inspire a victory for the team as they were beaten by Zimbabwe. The girls were seemingly a little a down after this, but their spirits would soon be lifted again as the whole Zambian team came to them after the game to take questions, chat and take photos. Afterwards, there were more little games played until the buses finally came to pick them up. Overall, the event was hugely successful, and you could tell that all the girls had a wonderful day that they hopefully will never forget. They got to meet the netball stars that they someday want to become and have a fun day playing netball themselves. We were all exhausted after a long day of helping, so afterwards we headed home and had an early night.