Author: david_sausagetree

Zambia Visit 2013: Chiwawatala School

Classroom at Chiwawatala

It was great to meet the new head teacher Mrs Misozi Phiri at Chiwawatala this September. It was their first day of term and it was fantastic to see a well resourced school running efficiently. We even saw the books and resources that we provide them with each term stacked up in the library ready to be given out. The contrast is huge compared to our first visit in 2003 at which time there were only 4 teachers teaching 600 pupils in 7 grades. There are currently 817 pupils being taught in 10 classrooms by 18 teachers (2 of whose salaries are paid by Sausage Tree), a ratio of 45 pupils to 1 teacher. Due to such high pupil numbers they still need to teach on a rotational basis. One session starts at 7am with children finishing at midday. The second session starts at 1pm and finishes at 5pm.

Mrs Phiri, Head Teacher
Mrs Phiri, Head Teacher with Lisa who helps run Sausage Tree in Zambia

Conservation Science Africa (CSA) still farm 2 vegetable plots at the school and continue to educate the community in sustainable vegetable growing and a percentage of the profit made from selling the vegetables to local safari lodges is given to the school. Lisa who runs our projects out there also continues to hold tree planting competitions as firewood is becoming a huge problem. Many people are now having to travel great distances to get it as there is none left close to the villages, this can be a very dangerous job as the areas they tend to go to support a large elephant population.

During our visit in September we also learnt that the World Food Organisation (WFO) who provided a meal a day to all the children at Chiwawatala has sadly stopped funding this project. Thankfully the Luangwa Conservation and Community Fund (LCCF), of which our team on the ground are members of, now provide each child with a meal of Sampo each day. This is basically refined maize meal with oil, sugar and salt added to it. Without this some of the pupils would not be guaranteed a regular meal each day which is crucial but not always possible at home.

Sausage Tree’s 5th Hampshire Quiz Night

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After a two year break, Sausage Tree hosted its fifth Hampshire Quiz night in Owslebury on 6th April.

We had a brilliant night and packed the village hall to its limit! Questions were answered, drinks were drunk very quickly and everyone ate a wonderful Paella. It was a very noisy and amusing night and raised a massive £7667.

Huge thanks to all our supporters for being on such great form!

Minimum wage increases in Zambia

President Michael Sata
President Michael Sata

All is going well in Zambia although there have been a lot of changes which present fresh challenges as we continue to help this rural part of Zambia. The most recent hiccup has been a change in government – this has bought about the introduction of a minimum wage.

This has had a huge impact on the economy and subsequently fuel prices have rocketed. The implications for Sausage Tree are huge as this year our yearly ongoing support is now costing us any extra £6,000 to do exactly the same as last year – pay 5 teachers salaries, provide books and resources for 2 schools (1000 + pupils) sponsor 36 vulnerable/ orphaned children through school and train 1 teacher. Because of this I plan to visit Zambia this September to get a thorough understanding of the politics out there and make plans for the next few years.

The Secondary School is the community’s big focus at the moment which Sausage Tree is fully behind. The children in the Luangwa Valley are now receiving a good primary education – by helping develop Mfuwe Secondary School the children might now realise their dreams and even qualify to go to college.

2012 Sausage Tree Clay Shoot

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Saturday 8th September was I think the hottest and sunniest day of summer. Wow, were we lucky and so were the 45 children who came to enjoy the magician, bouncy assault castle and water sliding and a lot more.

The guns were on fine form and enjoyed the lagers as they tried to hit the clays and quench their thirst at the same time! We had 10 teams of 5 guns and although the competition was fierce Peter Pitman’s team “Not a Chance” cleared the table winning both the Top Team and Team Flush competitions. Nick Baird also won “Top Gun” for the second time! They have been top of the leader board for the last couple of years now – come on you lot surely you can rustle up a team that can smash them in 2013!

Everyone was in fine form and this was very evident when it was time for bidding in the Auction. Tom T-D as usual was on fire and wouldn’t let anyone get away lightly. Thanks to this wonderful skill of his the auction made a huge amount of money for Sausage Tree and the day raised just over £8,500!!!

Huge thank you to everyone who helped make it such a fantastic day and helped raise way more than we had ever hoped for.

Sausage Tree’s 4th London Quiz Night

Our 4th London quiz was another great night. 80 fantastic supporters joined us at The Bedford in Balham. We were lucky enough to have a wonderful new quiz master: Eddie Latter who did an incredible job and is thoroughly brilliant and available to hire for any occasion!

Mikey Morrison was an awesome auctioneer and with the help of some very generous bidders the evening raised a massive £5,900!

New Boys Dormitory at Mfuwe

New dormitory at Mfuwe Secondary School
Boys celebrate the new dormitory at Mfuwe Secondary School

At the end of 2011 plans got underway to build a new boys dormitory at Mfuwe Secondary School. This was made possible thanks to Erin Hurst and her Kilimanjaro crew. The dormitory was completed last year but more funds were needed to furnish it. Twyford Pre Prep and Valkyrie Festival made this possible with their phenomenal fund raising efforts.

A sponsored walk and cake sale carried out by the whole of the Pre Prep managed to raise just over £2500! Valkerie Festival hosted by Jo and Rupert Spice last September also raised £2000. The new dormitory is now home to 48 pupils who were previously sharing 4 per bunk. They moved in January and are chuffed to bits.

A huge thank you to everyone who supported the Kilimanjaro crew, Twyford Pre Prep and Valkerie Festival. You have helped make a huge difference to many young people who will need accommodation to finish school successfully – you have improved their quality of life as they go through school.

Sausage Tree Events for 2013

Sausage Tree’s 5th Hampshire Quiz Night

This will be taking place on Friday 26th April at Owslebury Village Hall. We are hoping it will be another fun and enjoyable evening for all. If you are interested in getting a table together please email info@sausagetree.co.uk to reserve your place!

Sausage Tree’s 5th London Quiz Night

We are planning on hosting our 5th London Quiz night towards the end of the year. If you would like more information or are keen to help please email info@sausagetree.co.uk. More information to follow soon.

Sausage Tree events for 2012

Sausage Tree’s 4th London Quiz Night

This will be taking place on Wednesday 18th April at “The Bedford in Balham”. We are hoping it will be another fun and enjoyable evening for all. If you are interested in getting a table together please email info@sausagetree.co.uk to reserve your place! More information to follow soon.

Sausage Tree Clay Shoot

The 7th Clay Shoot will be held on Saturday 8th September. Same format at always but this year there is even more extra special entertainment for the kids.

Zambia visit 2011: Mfuwe Secondary

Mfuwe Secondary School

The last school I visited during my trip was Mfuwe Secondary School. I had never been before but the team out in Zambia – Haggai, Andy and Lisa are really keen to help it and it really does need a lot of help!

I couldn’t believe how little there was; there are currently 603 pupils and only 2 classrooms. Incredibly the government has provided 22 specialist secondary teachers, but they have nowhere to teach! Most of the teaching is done in the primary school next door and in what is meant to be the dining room; it is on a rotational basis with teachers planning and marking work under trees! However there is hope – the new head teacher, Mrs Beatrice Chabala, is doing wonders.

She has rallied the parents to donate funds to build a triple classroom block. This has already begun and Mfuwe Lodge (the team I work with) and one other safari company have matched this and in total 3 triple classroom blocks are currently being built. This is fantastic news and will really help the school establish itself.

They also showed me the boys boarding facilities; these are in a horrific state. The building is almost falling down and 4 boys/young men share one bunk bed! There are no storage facilities so they store their belongings on the rafters. The team out in Zambia are eager to change this; 2 new blocks need to be built as numbers are increasing and sharing beds is far from ideal.

There is however a long way to go, the classrooms are being built but now funding needs to be found for desks. It costs £39 for one double desk/bench; this has to be made from metal as wood comes at a cost to the landscape. The need for firewood is huge but it is not a never ending supply and villagers are having to walk further and further to find it. The school’s library is in a box on top of a cupboard; there is no science lab so the children are failing their science exam; there are very few books and resources and no sports facilities. Hopefully Sausage Tree and other donors will find the funds and help make this school a success story.

Zambia visit 2011: Chilongozi School

Head Teachers house at Chilongozi

Chilongozi is a real contrast to Chiwawatala; it is much smaller with only 2 classroom blocks and 6 teachers as opposed to Chiwawatala’s 16! We got there in record time this trip – three and a half hours down a single dirt track passing a few elephants on the way. Its remoteness still shocks me and makes me realise how cut off from the world they are.

Sausage Tree sponsors three of the teachers at Chilongozi and they were keen to show us round and discuss the good work they had been doing and their pupil’s successful exam results. We were able to see the head teachers house that we built 2 years ago which looked very smart. The classrooms looked good and had all our resources and the student: teacher ratio has improved (1:60).

Their initial vegetable plot had burnt down in a bush fire but they were keen to show us the replacement one which they had positioned near to their new water tank. Elephants are a problem in this area so they are restricted as to what they grow but they are doing a good job of it which is encouraging. Lisa is keen to start the same vegetable scheme as at Chiwawatala as this will provide the children with an important source of vegetables which are few and far between – I think ‘5 a day’ is more like 5 a week at Chilongozi!

The inaccessibility of Chilongozi makes it harder to initiate and manage schemes, but projects that we are considering would be to provide electric fencing around the school so that they can develop the vegetable plots without the interference of elephants, and to initiate a tree planting scheme. During my visit we also provided funds to enable them to participate in the district sports day this year.