This post was written during the last week of May - our last week of school. We weren't able to post it at the time, but wanted to share the adventure with you all. We are now on break for the summer (or Zambian winter) and had a wonderful end to the school year... Today, during our second-to-last day of the first year of The Esther School, we took our first ever off-campus field trip. For most of our children, this was the first time taking such a trip and, for some, the first time they have really even left the village. Most of our children were born here in the village and have never had the reason, means or opportunity to leave.
For The Esther School, however, we feel that expanding the size of our students’ worlds is a key to their learning. In fact, much of our curriculum centers around the idea of exploring, discovering and understanding God’s creation. When we experience new things we change our thinking and our perspectives and that is what we hoped to accomplish today. Although our destination and itinerary were humble, we believe that we were able to accomplish just that!
With a hired bus from some friends at the local town, Chongwe, we took the Preschool and then the Kindergarten about 30 minutes east to a natural hot spring. Each class was accompanied by their teachers, several parent volunteers and some fresh baked zucchini bread that some other parent volunteers had baked the night before.
We were able to visit the spring and explore the surrounding area. Each child tested their courage by deciding whether to touch the water at its source and whether to jump over the resulting stream with or without assistance. We also talked about the reason and source of this phenomenon as well as its distinctive associated odor.
We then traveled along the stream and noticed how the temperature became steadily cooler. (A few of our parents seemed not to have followed the lesson as, despite my contrary explanations, they bottled some warm water to take home!). The Kindergarten class even turned their trip into a mini service project – cleaning up trash around the area as we discussed stewardship and servant leadership. We discussed how God’s creation is a beautiful gift to all of us and how we have a responsibility to care for it even when others do not. The children eagerly participated and walked a little taller as we left!
But nothing could beat the singing! Nothing can ever beat the singing here; but words can’t express what it was like to travel down the road through various tiny villages and town centers with all passersby staring in wonder as these young, simple, village children sang praises to God at the top of their lungs. Lyrics I’ve heard thousands of times took on new meaning as I contemplated the reality of 48 impoverished children, most of whom spoke very little English 8 months ago, singing “Soon and Very Soon”, “Amazing Grace”, “This Little Light of Mine”, “This is the Day” and many other old favorites interspersed with several local traditional songs. Needless to say, it was an amazing experience and one I wish each of you could have the opportunity to enjoy. For now, we thank you for your support of the school and allowing these little lights to shine in this place! Please enjoy some photos of that day!