#internship

Getting around in Eastern Province

In this post, I'd like to paint a picture of the sights, sounds, and modes of transport in Eastern Province, Zambia.

Getting around Katete district is proving to be an adventure in its own right. Three weeks ago, on our journey from Lusaka to Joel, we traveled on a crowded bus along the northern edge of Lower Zambezi National Park. To my surprise we were driving through lush, tropical mountains! While the area we are in now is not mountainous, it is quite hilly and the fields are many vibrant shades of green. The deep, rusty red clay underneath our feet offsets the green. As it’s currently rainy season, the skies are full of clouds, many fitting to burst with heavy rain. The sound of the rain on the tin roofs range from a light patter to a thunderous cacophony, which can cause classes to stop and conversations to be put on hold. The heavy rains also contribute to the erosion of roads and the formation of tiny rivers in the clay. This erosion makes travel challenging, especially the day of a storm and the day after.

Joel village is situated off of a very busy main road. The road is full of pedestrians, bike riders, bike taxis with passengers, carts, herds of cows, motorbikes, and the occasional car or truck. Depending on the time of day, there are primary and secondary school students heading to school in uniforms and carrying their school bags. Many children use plastic carrier bags as their school bag. There are two schools within walking distance from where we live, and a few more that are in biking distance. It's hard for me to judge the distance accurately – a kilometer or two doesn't seem far until you get on the road and experience the hills!

Thanks to Bessie, our host, I've solidified my Chewa pleasantries so I am able to make small talk. I enjoy watching people's expressions change as I greet them – the sometimes-scrutinizing but oftentimes-curious gaze usually becomes replaced by a big smile!  I've put those pleasantries to good use as I take walks and explore more of the fields around. I've also taken to riding the intern bicycle to nearby schools. It can only switch between first, second, and occasionally third gear so biking uphill is out of the question. I've had some interesting conversations with people as we walk our bikes up the steep inclines though! The afternoon sun is blistering but, depending on where you're coming from, you can coast and enjoy the beautiful breeze.  The views are incredible: cornfields spotted with the occasional sunflower or gerbera daisy, all set against a backdrop of large hills on the horizon.

For the faraway schools, Joseph, the Operations Manager, takes us on the back of the motorbike. As I mentioned earlier, the roads are full of deep grooves from the rains so it can be pretty tough getting through the wet clay. An occasional stall or two is to be expected!

All of these modes of transportation are ways to see more of Eastern Province, to snap an occasional photo or two, and to practice Chewa. It's hard to picture just how remote Impact Network schools are until you venture between them. The distance is a reminder of how far some teachers travel to get to schools and how dedicated they are to make an impact in their students’ futures. It also shows how important Impact’s community schools are – they serve to open up opportunities for education around the region! I am humbled to be here and am looking forward to many more walks and rides through the hilly countryside in the next few months.

- Kristen 

Introducing Kristen Fraley

This week on the blog, Kristen Fraley introduces herself

 

Hello!

           I’m Kristen and I am thrilled to join Impact Network’s Zambia team as an Education Development Intern! I’m from Florida but I’ve called Scotland home for the last year and a half. I recently completed a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Edinburgh. During this time, I specialized in Education Policy, Transitional Justice, and Africa in International Politics. I received a B.A. from Florida State University in International Affairs and Religion with a minor in Anthropology in 2012. Afterwards, I moved to the Czech Republic and became a certified English Teacher, spending two years working as a preschool, primary, secondary, and adult English teacher in Prague. I also held a position as an Observer at a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification school, and I worked with teachers in training by observing their lessons and strategizing techniques for improvement. When I’m in Florida, I am a substitute teacher for Lee County School District. This role has granted me in-depth experience with students aged 4-18 and the stages of learning development.

One of the most brilliant things about teaching to me is seeing the “light bulb moment:” the way a student’s face lights up when they’ve figured out a challenging problem or improved in their abilities is so rewarding!

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    Exploring Ben Lomond in the Trossachs National Park, Scotland.

Exploring Ben Lomond in the Trossachs National Park, Scotland.

 

Why do you want to intern for Impact Network?

          As the daughter of a teacher, I have always had a profound respect for education. I believe that education is the bedrock of society and that, within every mind, lies great potential waiting to be unlocked. To me, equal access to education is a right for every individual and I am committed to strengthening education infrastructure across the world. I am particularly interested in the use of sustainable technologies for providing education to off-the-grid communities, therefore, the work Impact Network does is truly up my alley! This internship initially caught my eye because it bridges my academic studies with my previous work experience and my future career goals. I ultimately aim to work in Education Policy and International Development. I am very excited to see firsthand Impact Network’s successful implementation of Zambian curriculum standards while providing a ‘learning by doing’ environment for teachers and students alike!

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    Face painting during a sensory English summer camp in Prague- the book theme that day was Alice in Wonderland!

Face painting during a sensory English summer camp in Prague- the book theme that day was Alice in Wonderland!

 

What are you most looking forward to?

        I am most looking forward to assisting the team while further honing the skills I’ve gained over the last few years. Not only is this internship a unique opportunity for career development, it is also a way to learn firsthand about life in Zambia. I love learning new languages and I am looking forward to studying Chewa and Nyanja while I am here. I also can’t wait to explore the natural beauty Zambia has to offer by visiting the impressive Victoria Falls and going on a safari in the South Luangwe National Park. I will be in Lusaka for a few more days but I am eager to go to Eastern Province and begin working. For now, I am enjoying the sights and the weather. It is the rainy season so the days are warm, the nights are cool, and the trees are lush and green. Coming from Florida, it reminds me a lot of home!

I’ll post updates regarding my experiences here so do keep an eye out!

                 Kristen