Team work makes the dream work

A year ago the Beyond Ourselves Zambia team was comprised of Dan and myself.  Ben, was sleeping hideously (or rather, he wasn’t sleeping!) and I was a sleep deprived shell, so, basically, Dan held things together.  Since we’ve arrived in Zambia, we’ve been praying for people to join our team.  We’ve had three huge answers to prayers this year…

At the beginning of the year Emily joined our team to ‘take the mantle’ of improving the standards of education at the schools we work with.  Adding even one person to our team made such a difference to our capacity.  When we had visitors or teams Dan and I could host and Emily could keep things ticking along as normal. Dan’s to do list is extremely long and always varied, so having Emily to solely focus on education meant that many of his hopes for education development could become reality thanks to Emily.

At the beginning of September we have had two more people join our staff, Mike and Jan.  Mike’s background is in the construction business and Jan was an infant school headteacher for a number of years: there couldn’t be a more perfect skill set for Beyond Ourselves Zambia at the moment.  Each Friday we all meet together, the five of us, for a real staff meeting (not just Dan and I trying to talk about work whilst feeding the kids dinner!) and each week we come away so excited by what our team is doing and the possibility of what we can do.

Last Thursday I saw the out working of our increased capacity.

I arrived at Kawama School to find Mike painting away, making small chalkboards for the children to use in Early Years.  A simple chalkboard yet something that could have significant impact for the learning of our children.  Love it.

Emily was in Early Years setting up resources for the children to play with, as they now have a carousal of activities happening in the afternoons rather than everyone sitting in front of a chalkboard ‘learning’ by rote.  This is a big win.

Later I was in the staff meeting and Jan and the Head Teacher Mary came in.  They had just done a lesson observation and some team teaching to help one of the new teachers.  Mary was so excited about what they had just done together and, to be honest, I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen her so excited about anything before.  Her face shone and I just love that she is learning how to better lead Kawama School.  If we can empower her to lead her staff more effectively, that would be amazing for the school but also it would release to her stand tall in the leadership position she has in the school.  She’s an incredible woman and she is growing to be a great leader.

After being at Kawama I went to Greater Joy to find the grade 7 teacher in the staff room working with the less able children, reviewing some lessons with them.  The Head Teacher was in the grade 7 class, teaching them while the teacher was out.  Many schools in Zambia only teach to the middle, they don’t necessarily know how to identify the less able and the more able children.  To see Metrude working with this small group of children is a huge step forward.

All this to say, Dan and I are excited by what our team can achieve.  We already feel like our team of five has done so much, and we’ve only been a team of five for a month!  Imagine the possibilities for the future!  🙂


We are back in Zambia!

This week we arrived back in Zambia. It feels quite strange being back but we are thankful to be back in our home, we very extremely thankful to done with long haul flights with two little boys for quite a while now, and we are looking forward to a bit of routine and ‘normal’ again.

Our four months went by so fast. We can’t quite believe our time in the UK and Canada is over already. There are so many things that were so wonderful about our time at home, we could write for ages and still not capture them all. Most of our memories we will treasure in our hearts, as they were moments when our hearts swelled with love for those around us and we just wished time could stand still so we could be near to those we love so much for just a few minutes longer.

Here are just a few photos of our last few weeks in the UK.