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Elmtree School in the Uk is twinned with Katapila Community School and takes its role very seriously.  Over the early months of 2013 local volunteers, including Pete Mead, husband of an Elmtree teacher built a replica of a traditional Zambian vilage house in the school playground.
 
On July 4th 2013 Elmtree School officially opened the little round house during their Zambia Day.
 
It was a day with a very full itinerary which started at 09:00 when the whole school went for a walk to represent the Katapila kids’ daily walk to school.  It wasn't hot (it's the UK after all!) but the children arrived back  desperate for a drink of water. their walk was followed by an assembly  which included videos of the children at Katapila singing the Zambian national anthem and an Mfuwe man telling a traditional story. Meanwhile year 6 pupils from nearby Thomas Harding School walked a mile to Elmtree carrying water for the trees planted two years ago in a reciprocal Elmtree/Katapila tree project.
 
After the assembly the children returned to their classes and throughout the day made alphabet cards for Katapila. They also made resources to go in story sacks such as stick puppets, masks and comprehension questions  (each class had chosen a title from the Project Luangwa Amazon Wish List).  Many parents donated games, books, glove puppets and musical instruments to send to Katapila.
 
Meanwhile Pete Mead was cooking nshima and relish on an open fire for 200 pupils and their parents. Every child and most of the adults tried it at some point during the day and whilst the relish was a hit, the nshima only achieved 50% satisfaction rating!
 
Echoing the recent addition of 'tippy-taps' at Katapila Community School built by some volunteers, Elmtree had made their own and the children all washed their hands before eating the nshima and relish with their fingers in the traditional manner.
 
The children also had the opportunity to don chitenges and sweep the area around the round house with homemade Zambian brooms. The children swept Zambian style with one hand behind their backs and bent double! The finale of the day was our assembly at 2:30 held around the roundhouse with all our children and staff present to officially open the roundhouse. 
 
And then there were the guests!  Everyone who had helped with construction,  representatives from the companies who had donated materials and the head teachers of two local schools (who are twinning with schools in South Luangwa) as well as Mr Kuluwe and Mr Lombanye from the Zambian High Commission in London all attended.
 
The latter two had a tour of the school before gamely washing their hands using a tippy tap before tucking into nshima and relish -  diplomatically scoring Pete nine and a half for the relish and eight and a half for the nshima!
 
Mr Kuluwe had heard of PL and proudly said they had 'opened a file' ! Chris Mead (Pete’s teacher wife) told us that Mr Kuluwe seemed genuinely touched that 'ordinary' British people cared about his home country and hoped that the Zambian High Commissioner would attend the next Zambia Day at Elmtree.
 
March 2013 - building is held up by the snow
 Local press reports building the Zambian village house  - click to enlarge
Mr Kuluwe and Mr Lombanye of the Zambian High Commission enjoy some nsima. .
Thomas Harding School pupils watering the Elmtree's trees with the water they carried across town
Mr Kuluwe of the Zambia High Commission adressing the school
The grand opening with Mr Kuluwe, chesham Mayor Mark Shaw & two pupils
Elmtree pupils enjoying their nsima
A box of donations collected for PL
Using the tippy taps
Elmtree School are the proud winners of an International School Award for their work  over the past two years through Project Luangwa with Katapila Community School.

 

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