Please excuse any peculiar grammar and words in this text. I translated most of it from German.
Two weeks ago I returned to Zambia to spend another 3 months here at the Amano Christian School. During the first three months I was working in the boy’s dormitory. This term I will also be teaching some computer skills in addition to that.
The Amano Christian School is located in the Copperbelt region of Zambia. If you’d look at it from a plane you would see one single big tarmac street and many mining and industry facilities dotted around the landscape. The school is right next to this highway. In spite of this it feels very remote and bush-like for a European like me. Water has to be filtered here. And sleeping under a moskito net is necessary,
because of the Malaria threat in the region.
The Amano school accepts both Zambian and foreign children, from poor and rich families. It’s a very good mix of different backgrounds. It’s a small school with a high educational standard (for Zambia) and a very strong Christian orientation. School starts with assembly every morning, which consists of prayer, one or two songs and a short devotional message on a bible verse by one of the teachers. In music
lessons Christian songs are sung as well. There is a subject called Christian Foundations. The students in the dormitories are encouraged to read the bible themselves and to pray. And on Sunday everyone goes to Church. I’m not writing this to say that Christianity is forced on the students. No one has to pray, sing or read the bible.
School started 10 days ago and the daily routine has returned. The small tasks in the boy’s dorm and the difficulties I have in dealing with the Zambian dorm parents can wear me down. I have been troubled with nightmares on occasion. But the unique experience is definitely worth it.
My time here has at times been difficult, sometimes boring, but there is always something new to discover and learn. The country Zambia is beautiful even if some Zambian don’t see it that way. It has many animals, a lot of beautiful, colourful birds and butterflies and an abundance of insects everywhere. For a European like me the landscape is impressive as well. I haven’t been able to visit the famous Victoria falls yet, but I got the chance to see a few giraffes and antelopes in their natural habitat last term.
The Zambian people are mostly friendly towards foreigners, but also very sceptical and will often try to cheat the rich whites, as they assume that we’re all rich, out of their money. Stealing and “borrowing” without asking is a common problem, even at the school. Many Zambian like to say that their country is a Christian country and many bishops of big churches are actually heavily involved in politics. But it being a Christian country doesn’t mean the streets are safe or that the old religion has disappeared. People have told me that it is hard for Zambian Christians to break with some traditional customs, like funeral and wedding rites and possessing protective charms.
I’ll stop my amateurish culture studies here. I’m looking forward to my last not quite 3 months here. There should be a lot of interesting things to do and I hope I will have a positive impact on the students and that they will learn a few useful skills from me.