Africa: Twachiyanda Part 2

(you can see all my blogs about Africa by clicking here)

This is my second to last post from my trip to Africa. I’m pretty bummed to be at the ending of these images, but I’m so very proud of them and excited to share the final few. I will have more reflections and thoughts about the trip on my final post.

Our second and final day at Twachiyanda was more business-like than anything we’d done so far. There was a brief meeting with teachers in the morning and then there was a ceremony to open up the new teacher’s dormitories. And by ceremony, I don’t mean a short, 30 minute ribbon cutting ceremony…I mean a 3-4 hour, out in the sun all day, long ordeal! I got a little burned and that was the one day that I felt truly exhausted from what we were doing.

First up was a meeting with the teachers to discuss stuff they need, how the school is doing and to show them some new computer stuff.

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This is Al…he drove us all over Zambia and works for World Vision. One of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

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So here is Bernd talking about the Next Unit of Computing (NUC) computer that basically acts like a web server for students, delivering Wikipedia and Khan Academy videos for the kids. What Intel has done by installing a solar powered computer lab is unbelievable. And Bernd designed most of it.

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So this is a hilarious story…between the above picture and this one below, 15 minutes elapsed. But while Bernd was gone for that short time, he installed a wireless router and suddenly the computers had wi-fi connections to the NUC.

He did this in 15 minutes. When he walked back in the room, he goes “You have wifi now.” Everyone’s heads exploded (not really, but it was crazy how fast he did that!).

What it means for teachers is that they can now take a laptop to a classroom away from the computer lab, and then connect wireless to their web server. So they can now present information and all kinds of stuff. Pretty amazing.

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The ceremony setup was beginning…these guys were drumming to pass the time.

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I like this picture of Austin inside a classroom talking to the media.

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The media from Lusaka and elsewhere came all the way to Twachiyanda to cover the ceremony. They wanted to talk to Austin and Kelly Sim about how the school started and their ongoing work to continue expanding it.

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Austin’s mom, Denise, hates being on camera, but she had to here when a reporter pretty much cornered her! She did great of course!

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A bit of the crowd on hand to watch the ceremony.

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Austin with the Chief

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A singer/dancer providing entertainment.

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One of the girls from the crowd gets up and starts dancing. It’s crazy how many people were sitting around for 3-4 hours in the sun. I almost died.

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The white folks get up to dance!

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Kelly was nervous the night before about getting up to talk, but she rocked it! I told the story in another post, but if you missed it…the school is named Jonathan Sim after her late husband. He worked for World Vision and loved their cause, so when he passed, she wanted to do something in his honor. So she ended up working with Hoops of Hope to get get the school going. So amazing.

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Austin’s turn!

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The choir at the school sang a song while holding these laptops to signify how important they were to the students.

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This kid plus two others performed a reciting of a poem, which was almost rap-like. I thought it was awesome, but there was a verse in their about “Austin’s mother’s womb being blessed because he was brought forth from it.” Or something like that. We were laughing about it the rest of the trip!

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Some kids who were watching…love these two photos.

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Austin’s parents, Dan and Denise posing in front of the plaque dedicating the building.

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These two awesome boys walked up to meet Dan and then took us on a tour of their dormitory.

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This is the amazing computer lab. So brilliant.

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The boys’ bunks

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“Plumber boy on the beat”….this cracked me up, had to get a shot.

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The last time Hoops of Hope had been to the Jonathan Sim school, there was no running water for the boys…and now they have. Amazing to see the progress.

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Hey that’s me!

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A few more kids back at the ADP offices before we left for Choma.

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I had to sorta maneuver them to hold each other’s hands, but I love this!

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Saying goodbye to Happiness and her friends who cooked us amazing food!

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The entire trip Austin always talked about how much better the views are from on top of the LandCruisers. He was right. Also I want one of those LandCruisers. Badly. I guess they cost $100k or something insane. I still want one.

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One last soccer kick-around with the neighborhood kids.

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I believe this is the last kid I got to take a picture of. He kept creeping closer and closer to the vehicle, so I took one and showed it to him.

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And then JP came up and grabbed him in a big bear hug!

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And then we were off to Choma to spend the night before we hit Livingstone the next day. It was sad to know that the main reason for our trip was at an end. The kids, the schools…all of it was behind us now. And while inside I was started to get really excited to see my wife and kids again, I was bummed knowing I had likely taken my last photo of a Zambian child.

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The last photo of the day. Austin with George, the young man he sponsors. I think it much be such an amazing thing to be a sponsor and meet the child you are helping.

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