Day 7

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After a later start of the day due to my overindulgence of Mosi (I’m sure they said we were only going out for an hour…!) we visited ‘Soweto’ a shanty compound on the edge of Chingola. Soweto was named after the South African township (SOuth WEst TOwnship) near Johannesburg. Soweto was established in 1977 by people migrating from rural areas to Chingola and rapid population growth. In New Soweto (one part of the shanty compound) there are 500 residents alone. Some of the residents are retired or unemployed miners but most are poor subsistence farmers or work as servants to the more affluent areas of Chingola, like Riverside. New residents acquire land from the chairman and build their own homes. Residents walk (there are no buses) to their places of work or to sell their produce at markets in Chingola. The roads are generally poorly maintained and are eroded badly in the rainy season. A ‘food for work’ scheme allows residents to work on the roads and receive some food.

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There is no piped water, so residents collect water from wells they have dug. This water is not treated so can result in diseases such as typhoid and dysentery. In the sites and services compound at Kapisha residents buy water from kiosks (see previous posting).

There are a few buildings that have electricity, such as this bar. The area does suffer from alcohol abuse from some young men, drinking a strong distilled beer called Lutuku. Children often marry as young as 13years and again have many children.

There are no government schools in the compound but a donor funded Basic School (primary school) called King’s School provided education for some. The local education district second teachers to work in this school.  We were invited inside Priska Nanyiza’s house and interviewed her and another family about life in Soweto. Again it was a fascinating interview which will stay with me for a lifetime. Priska is an orphan who heads a household of six brothers and sisters. This is a major concern in Chingola, and Zambia at large. Education authorities try to identify what are referred to as orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) and some are offered help with education. I aim to encourage our school in Pencoed to sponsor such children so we play an active part in this partnership. I know this is just a token gesture, but it is at least something positive. Maybe other schools might think about doing this too.

This evening I was treated to another amazing ceremony. This time it was a farewell event. I received many fantastic presents for my school and personally. The site of me in traditional Zambian clothing dancing to Zambian music will provide much amusement for my pupils, but is one of the proudest moments in my life (If only I could dance!)

It is difficult to summarise my experiences in Chingola using just a few words. It has been a life changing experience. I was determined to leave Wales with an open mind and to take things as they happened. Everyone I have met has been so warm and friendly that I have felt at home from the moment I landed in Ndola. I have indeed learned much about life in Zambia, but particularly life in Chingola. I am eternally grateful to my hosts, Kabundi High School. I thank every teacher and pupil that I have met, especially Mr. Simbeye (headteacher). Special thanks go to my colleague and great friend Tione Phiri, a more hard working, honest and welcoming person you could ever meet. Thank you so much everyone.

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5 Responses to “Day 7”

  1. 'Soweto' Interviews « Pencoed Comprehensive School and Kabundi High School links Says:

    […] ‘Soweto’ Interviews The following interview is with two residents of ‘Soweto’, a shanty compound on the outskirts of Chingola (Named after the South African township). To find out more about the shanty compound view the day 7 post. […]

  2. Rev Mike Bettaney Says:

    Read your interesting article about your ties with Chingola. Prestatyn High School in Prestatyn, North Wales is twinned with Kings School in Chingola. King’s School was started some 6 years ago after a visit from Arthur Hibbert and myself to Chingola. It now has around 400 students covering primary and secondary age. It is entirely funded by donations and we insist on free education for the young people. When we first went out we were shocked to find out that apart from having no access to education, the children ate one meal eavery four days. Now we feed the students with one high protein meal a day and we are at present waiting for official permission to open the medical centre that has just been finished. At half term this year [2009] two of us from Prestatyn High are due to go out to visit the King’s School, and we are looking at trying to put internet connections in so we can twin classes. The idea is that lessons will be filmed here and received in King’s School and visa versa. We are also bringing the head teacher over to Prestatyn. The teaching staff are not seconded as in your article – we employ them direct and pay their salaries. Kind regards Reverend Mike Bettaney

  3. Tione Says:

    It is good to see your comment on our article.What is more pleasant to hear is the fact that teachers at King’s School are now on donor payroll.It is a great job you are doing for the people of SOWETO.I hope your plans to avail medical facilities in the area will come to fruition.When you visit this year,if it will be possible, you can pass through Kabundi High School and I am sure the Administration will be happy to meet you.If possible, I will come down to Chingola on the day of your visit.Right now I am living in Ndola.Kind regards.

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