ENTRY NUMBER 1 from Erin Miller and students Kate Pakiz and Megan Rivera
After three days of traveling, we finally made it to Zambia! When our bus arrived we received a big and warm welcome from many of the girls here at the Fatima School. The girls were all cheering with excitement for us and gave us many hugs.
Monday was our first full day in Zambia. Early in the morning, we attended their version of Monday morning assembly. The girls gave announcements about their school life, including their sports life and family day, and social and political international news. As a whole school they sang their beautiful national anthem about their love for Zambia. The girls also performed many funny skits that all ended with a message of finding the positive light in life.
After breakfast, we spent a lot of time running around with the cute little preschoolers. They enjoyed bubbles, taking pictures, being picked up, and playing with tires. In the afternoon, we took a walk around the compound to see the school as well as the clinic. We also got a tour of a nearby primary school, and the children loved to follow us around and hold our hands.
On Tuesday morning, we woke to the sound of the girls singing songs in preparation for mass. Today was the first day we attended a mass; the priest gave an enlightening homily, the girls sang beautifully, and we were able to participate as the prayers were the same as the prayers we recite at mass at home, which was surprising. Overall, the experience was enjoyable and a great way to start our day.
Next, we unpacked the medical supplies and organized it all from surgical, dental, and lab supplies. We also had a pile dedicated to fun things for the children. After this, we went to the Barefoot School, which is a school that has been developed by the Sisters for children who cannot afford to attend the government schools. We repainted a classroom and will continue projects around the school throughout the week.
When we came back to the Fatima grounds, we played with the children in preschool again. It's so amazing to the girls and me how these children have so much love for us, even though they don't know us. Their hearts are so big, and I see God within them. Our last activity of the day involved going to St. Anthony's orphanage. We played with the children and spent our time giving them attention and care. Some of these children were disabled,which was was extremely hard to see, but it's also reassuring to know that there are caregivers who spend their time providing for these kids as best as they can. It was very hard to say goodbye to the kids at the end of the day; the children became attached to us girls quickly and loved the attention from us that they so rarely get on a constant basis. Finally, today was a touching and eye-opening day for all of us.