Preparations for the Japan Handover Ceremony

This week Kristen, our Education Development Intern, writes about the team’s activities to plan for a ceremony celebrating the completion of Impact Network’s grant from the Japanese Embassy in Lusaka.

February 28th is an exciting day at David Seidenfield School! The Japanese Ambassador to Zambia, H.E. Hidenobu Sobashima, as well as Chief M’ban’gombe, the Minister of Eastern Province the Hon. Makebi Zulu and many other government officials are visiting for a handover ceremony.  The Japanese Embassy funded the construction of three new school blocks at David Seidenfield, Mkale, and Zatose Community Schools. These buildings will accommodate more students at schools - an important step because there are more grade 7 students attending classes at Impact Schools.

The past week has been full of preparations, ranging from visiting the Ministry of Education offices in Katete and Chipata to deliver invitations to cleaning up the school.  Some of the highlights for me have been the many practices I’ve sat in on as students prepare poetry and dance pieces.

Several teachers at David Seidenfield and Kanyelele have spent countless hours over the past week working with students and helping them learn their routines. Joseph Banda, the head teacher at David Seidenfield, penned a beautiful poem thanking the Japanese Embassy, entitled Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu, and after plenty of auditions, Mphumulo Banda selected a group of five students to perform it. Zuwana Banda additionally coached a group of 6th and 7th graders on three songs and their respective dances. It’s inspiring to see the dedication that Zuwana and Mphumulo show.  They are new teachers and have stayed late every day of the past week to make sure everyone is ready for the ceremony! Many parents from David Seidenfield School have also been practicing nightly, as they are going to open the ceremony with a song and dance.

The Nyau will perform at the beginning of the ceremony so that as guests arrive they will be greeted with traditional Chewa dancing. Huge piles of firewood have been delivered, tents have been pitched, 10 cooks have been hired, audio equipment has been set up, and we are all ready for the big day! As I write this, all of the performers are going through the last run-through of their pieces.   

As the Deputy Commissioner of Katete said during our meeting last week, the future of the children of Zambia is everyone’s priority and goal - the handover ceremony will be a special occasion marking progress towards the achievement of that goal.

Check back next week to read more about how the ceremony went!