Rachel Johnson – MEng Mechanical Engineering (with a Year in Industry)
Today is the second day in Siavonga (in the South of Zambia) so the jobs began! In the morning the Surveying group headed off to help a local we met at the hotel to check if their land had been marked out correctly. A group headed to the local hospital to collect broken wheelchairs and start fixing them and figure out any extra materials we might need! My group headed to find a man called Musuka to discuss the plans for the irrigation system that’s planned to be built for a women’s organisation. Unfortunately, due to a land dispute, we can’t build the irrigation system but this won’t stop us getting busy with other jobs that can be done whilst we’re here!
We arranged a meeting at 2pm with Musuka and some staff members at the local primary school to discuss what and where needs to be surveyed for a new classroom for children with special needs. This meeting worked out nicely as we all managed to get onto the same page about the schools’ needs for the new classroom and what we can potentially offer them.
I’m really enjoying Siavonga, it’s a lot more humid than Mutende and there’s loads more insects flying around so we’re all caking ourselves in deet! It’s a lot less built up than Chingola, it’s pretty much all market stalls and very few actual shops. At our hotel we also saw a crocodile as well as a hippo with its baby which was so incredible but also kind of scary. Tomorrow my team are going to head to the hospital to see if they have any odd jobs we can try and get sorted for them which will be awesome because I haven’t seen the hospital yet!
Kay Tor – PhD Chemical Engineering
Today we got ready for an early start. A small group left for the Siavonga District Hospital to scout out their wheelchair needs. The hospital experience was definitely far from what we have in the UK, a service we take for granted every day! The group brought back some wheelchairs this afternoon to carry out some repair work along with a wishlist from the hospital for other equipment they’d like us to fix.
Meanwhile, the surveying group left to help a pair of locals survey their land to check the accuracy of the professional survey they had carried out years before. The irrigation group set off at the same time to track down our contacts for the projects. After what seemed like a lifetime picking up breadcrumbs, we found the person we have been trying to contact and arranged for an afternoon meeting with the representatives from the Siavonga Primary School and members of the local education authorities.
The whole team rendezvous for the afternoon meeting at the school where we were presented with plans for an expansion to accommodate children with learning difficulties and disabilities. This is the first school to provide such service, however, their current facilities is much undersized for the number of students they take. It was a heartfelt moment to have been shown the lack of facilities the students currently have.