It’s the first day of our workshops with Conservation Teachers from around the National Park, and the first challenge of the day is just getting there! The workshop classroom is only 2km away but as it’s wet season the road is turned into a muddy trench and Paul’s driving skills are being put to the test! We set up the workshop classroom and help put mosquito nets over the teachers’ beds – malarial mosquitos are as dangerous as passing elephants around here. The 16 Conservation Teachers arrive in a big truck from their local villages – they’ve been driving for hours but are still smiling and laughing at our attempts at speaking Bemba!
Paul getting the classroom ready for workshop number one...
Our workshops cover the learning theory and teaching skills that are used in the new conservation curriculum, and it is quickly very clear that the Zambian teachers are well trained and enthusiastic at their work. Most of them have enjoyed teaching a few lessons of the new curriculum already so we do roleplays, discussions and practical work to enhance their teaching and help make their lessons more effective. After a few hours inside a hot humid classroom, we move the activities outside under the shade of a marula tree – much better!
Conservation Teachers discussing a lesson
Much better outside
Most of the Conservation Teachers have never been inside the Park before, and are very excited to see wild animals so close by! An elephant joined us during lunch, but I’m not sharing my food – Zambian nshima (a kind of thick corn porridge) is delicious…
Conservation Teachers doing their best black rhino impressions
Ed, who helps to manage the park rangers, comes and shows us a real hunter’s gun, and tells stories about stolen rhino horns. The teachers are fascinated and can’t wait to tell their students about what they’ve seen. We end the day with a football match against the Park staff – tough rangers and vehicle repair men against our teachers! Paul & I cowardly stick to the sidelines with the cheerleading squad, who teach us the Zambian football song “Ba Zambia, nalelo bawina chipolopolo” (“Zambians run as fast as bullets!”) We quickly change it to “Ba Teacher…” to cheer on our team!
Football: this is serious business...
The last morning finishes with the presentation of certificates and gifts to the schools (a new dictionary each), before it’s time for our new friends to head home. Another 13 teachers will arrive on Monday for our second workshop, but for now we have a free day, and that can only mean one thing – try to find some rhinos!
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