Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Africa Celebration Week: Day 2

Things are about to get a little confusing... I'm going to fast forward through our trip about five days and then back track tomorrow.

Why? Why do this to you? Isn't that foolish and completely counter-intuitive? Yes. Yes, it is.

Truth be told, after we returned from safari, we spent a magical couple days doing the following: dancing the night away, driving on the scariest road imaginable, cruising in Kasane and spotting a ridiculous amount of wildlife in a 3 hour period, border crossing from Botswana to Zambia, relaxing at Jolly Boys, white water rafting and risking our lives swimming to Devil's Pools at Victoria Falls.

Are you seething with envy?

Ze problem lies in ze fact that I've only accumulated photos from some of our adventures during this period. Where's the fun in hearing about shooting down class 5 rapids on the Zambezi River if you can't see the magnitude of the water and waves? I foolishly didn't buy the photos while we were there, and I'm still waiting to hear back from them as to whether or not they are available for purchase.

However, it's giving me the opportunity to talk about a day we spent while at our final destination in Zambia: Nandavu Community School.

I'm getting ahead of myself again. In order to talk about Nandavu Community School, I have to explain how we got there. We spent our last three days in Zambia at Jungle Junction and though I'm trying not to sound like a complete Valley Girl, it was rad. Really rad, you guys.

Imagine a small island covered in hammocks, huts and cushy pillows, completely surrounded by water and Africa's beauty. Heaven, c'est vrai? While there we were given the opportunity to participate in "activities." To be frank, I had no part in planning our trip to Africa (thanks, Trav and Steph!); it was literally show up and pay, and it was one of the most stress free trips I've ever taken. I literally did no research before we left aside from making sure I was up to date on necessary vaccines and triple checking that I wasn't going to be "that girl" who overpacked and took up all the space in the safari vehicle. Thus, when I read in a pre-vacation email that we could participate in "activities," I imagined volleyball and water aerobics.

I think it harkens back to our honeymoon where we went "bird watching" around the golf course of the very beautiful, if not completely isolated and slightly contrived, Four Seasons Costa Rica. Yes, I realize how foolish it is to imagine doing water aerobics on an African island, especially one surrounded by crocodiles and hippos, but it's genuinely the first thing that popped into my head.

Sue me.

Luckily, the activities ended up being able to help with the Nandavu Community School project that's working its way toward completion, as well as spending time with the kids and cooking/eating a lunch made by local villagers. Evelyn Roe, who helps manage Jungle Junction, has been heading up this project for a few years now and always gives visitors the option to participate since all funds from the day's excursion goes toward the school.

What kind of fun did we get up to? Oh, you know, donning them in our sunglasses and swinging them around like little elves.

It's about to be photo overload up in here because I can't resist these little faces.

After a quick play sesh, we headed over to the still-being-built school where we swept and painted a couple rooms.

Get it, Gurs!
Double broomin' it.

Ever the Japanese tourist...
Always time for checking out wildlife.
The exterior of the school in all its glory.

The school consists of two large classrooms and toilets, but in order to receive funding from the Zambian government's Ministry of Education, they need five classrooms total, toilets and three teachers' houses. 

Once work time was over, we got to play again, but not before poor Kyle stubbed his foot on a root and bled all over the place.

Have I ever mentioned Kyle's an Eagle Scout?
If this makeshift bandage he came up with doesn't prove it, I don't know what will!

His misfortune worked out for everyone else, because while he couldn't play soccer or Ring-A-Round-The-Rosie, he could certainly take photos of it!

I could die from the cuteness of this photo.

Gah, you know I have to include a couple more of these shining faces.

This kid is kind of a bad ass.

And I know some would consider it in poor taste to choose a favorite child, but I just couldn't help myself, friends.

She made my heart sing, I won't deny it. 

So, I'm hoping you're sitting at home seeing these children and wondering what you can do to help this project progress. I (somewhat foolishly) got excited about the idea of sending art and school supplies once I returned home, but quickly had the reasons why this wouldn't work pointed out to me: (1) The shipping costs alone would be astronomical and (2) even if shipping wasn't an issue, there's no real address to send things.

I'm imagining the address to look something like this:

Nandavu Community School
Somewhere in Zambia behind Jungle Junction (you know, that island with the hammocks)
Please deliver it, thanks.

Thus, it's all about the Benjamins, people. If you donate money, Evelyn can buy the supplies needed to finish the school and get it up and running with the help of the village.

Here are a couple ways you can stay abreast of what's going on at Nandavu, as well as how to donate money:

Email Evelyn Roe and get on the Nandavu Community School's newsletter mailing list. November's was chock-a-block full of photos and updates as to what's going on, and she lets you know what funds have been raised, built and what's left to do. The school's email is

To donate money (and a little goes a long way, folks), use PayPal. The email address for the project is the same as above: and if you're in the US, you can use PayPal through Kalahari Peoples. Make sure to email to let Megan Biesele know the money is designated for Nandavu Community School.

You can also follow Nandavu on Facebook right now. I realize it hasn't been updated in a while, but Evelyn mentioned that she will be starting a blog soon as well as creating a website, which would eventually all be linked through Facebook. Just another way of staying in the know about this school, their community and its children.

Phew, I know this was a long one today. If you're starting to flush out Christmas gifts this year, a donation to Nandavu in the name of one of your loved ones isn't a bad idea, yes? Yes?


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