Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Trevor and I spent the morning visiting a school run by our new neighbor, Marco, in one of Chipata's many illegal housing compounds just a few kilometers from here.

The school, which is set up in a regular old house, serves 160 orphans in grades 1-7; Marco says he turned away another 600. Because converted bedrooms can only hold so many kids, the students attend in shifts, big kids in the morning and little ones in the afternoon.

Orphans here get the scraps of whatever their guardians can spare, so every shift includes a big bowl of porridge, which Marco says is sometimes the only food the kids get. They have to bring their own bowls and spoons-- I saw one kid eating with a ruler. The school has shorter holiday breaks than government schools to make sure the kids don't starve.

The kids are grubby like every Zambian kid, and they're tiny for their age. Some of them were sewn into their uniforms because the buttons had gone missing. But when Marco introduced us, the kids stood up and sang so loud it made my ears ring.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That entry certainly helps keep life in perspective...unbelievable. I enjoy your little stories, Lisa. Even the overwhelmingly depressing ones. Thanks for sharing your experience. K