In October, we focused as a school community on the idea of brave. In November, we focused on gratitude. On Monday we launched Dwankhozi Week, a chance for our whole school to come together and learn about our partnership with Dwankhozi Primary School in rural Zambia. As we explored this relationship, we turned our focus to the ideas of partnership and community.
On Monday, Mr. Elliott and Ms. Ward kicked off Dwankhozi week by showing us the video about last year's QAE Dwankhozi Week.
On Tuesday morning, we attended the Dwankhozi Week Gallery Walk. We went to different stations that helped us experience what life is like for the students at Dwankhozi Primary School. When we got back to our classroom, we talked about what we learned. This is what we said:
Water Awareness w/ Ms. Leckie At this station, we learned that people who live near Dwankhozi Primary School have to pump clean water from wells and then carry it to their homes and school in large containers. We had a chance to carry the containers filled with water. Some were small and some were large. They were all heavy. Sometimes people need to walk a long way with the heavy water. Sometimes they have to carry a baby on their back at the same time that they are carrying the water.
Fabric Uses w/ Ms. Ward At this station, we learned that mamas and kids carry babies on their backs using fabric. We tried to see how this would feel by tying 10 pound bags of rice on our backs. They were really heavy! We also got to see lots of fabric from Africa and saw some bracelets made from Zambian fabric. Mr. Elliott gave us some fabric and a bead to take home to make our own bracelet.
Printmaking & Other African Crafts At this station, we learned how to make our own fabric using ink prints with Ms. Amsel.
Maize Table At this station, we learned how corn is turned into one of Zambia's staple foods ~ nshima. Those of us that were brave enough to try the nshima thought that it tasted good. But it sure makes a mess on your hand, because when you eat nshima in Zambia you don't use a fork, you only use your right hand.
Drum Circle w/ Mrs. Stone At this station, we had a chance to listen to some African music and then make our own music with drums, the shakers we made in art class and other African percussion instruments. It was a lot of fun!
Storytelling w/ Mr. Bailey Mr. Bailey told a story about feeling sick at the school and he felt better when the kids started drumming and dancing. He also told us stories about the hippos and how they sounded.
Zambian Futbol w/ Ms. Marks At this station, we learned how to make the balls they use to play futbol (soccer) at Dwankhozi Primary School. They are made out of recycled materials like rubber bands, string and plastic bags. They are hard to make because you have to tie stuff to make the shape and then stuff the bags in. We tried to kick the balls we made into the goals. It was harder to get these balls into the goals because they don't aim very well. It also hurts your feet to kick them.
For the rest of the week we took time to watch videos and read stories (posted on our Dwankhozi Partnership page) about Zambia, exploring what life is like for students who attend Dwankhozi Basic School and thinking about how life in rural Zambia is the same as and different from our own life.
On Friday, we wrote and drew about what we learned during Dwankhozi Week.
We also had a closing assembly on Friday. Mrs. Stone and the 4th graders sang a special African song and the older students taught us about the Hunger Season and the Raise for Maize Campaign our school will be participating in for the next two weeks. We also had a chance to meet Charles Masala, who grew up in Zambia, and watch a video of the events of the week.
Why we have a partnership with Dwankhozi Primary School
Three years ago, QAE started an exciting partnership with Dwankhozi Basic School in rural Zambia. The partnership began when a few of us went to an event and had a chance to watch the first viewing of a video about a day in the life of an 11 year old boy who attends Dwankhozi Basic School.
Dwankhozi Basic School is supported by a Seattle-based foundation called Dwankhozi Hope. This foundation was created by a group of friends that includes Beth and Matt MacLean, current QAE parents (Rachel in our class and Joshua in Ms. Leckie's class). The foundation started when a man named Charles Masala, who grew up in rural Zambia as one of 10 children of a rural school teacher, asked some of his friends for help. He wanted to build a school for his sister-in-law, who was teaching in Zambia without a building. Children have to work incredibly hard in rural Zambia to achieve an education. All 10 Masala "children" succeeded in doing so, all earning a college degree! Today, most of the ten Masalas are involved in the work of Dwankhozi Hope and are actively supporting the Dwankhozi Primary School community. Two of the Masalas, Idah and Maurice, currently teach at the school.
In July of 2013, Rene Ward, David Elliott, Megan Klope and I were able to be a part of our first QAE visit to our partner school!
Of all of the QAE pillars, the one that resonates the most with me, as a parent and as an educator, is the one that states ~ We are concerned, confident and compassionate citizens of the world. When I spoke to David Elliott years ago about the possibility of helping him start a new school, we dreamed of creating a school that could teach global citizenship in an intentional way. I am thrilled, five years later, that QAE has partnered with Dwankhozi Primary School and I am hopeful about what this partnership can contribute to our students' developing global citizenship skills.
Raise for Maize Campaign
During our recent exploration, I have shared with the students many stories of the love and joy we found in Zambia. The students have also been very aware of and concerned about things they notice ~ like no breakfast for Martin and a small bag of shared groundnuts for lunch.
At our closing assembly on Friday, the older QAE students taught us about the Hungry Season and how it impacts the students at our partner school.
In rural southern Africa, subsistence farmers experience a Hungry Season (January-March) when their stored food grown is depleted as they wait for the rainy season to end and the March harvest to be ready. That means their children are coming to school hungry, which makes learning very difficult for them. The school day has to be shortened during this period as the students have no energy to learn. About half of the students don't make it to school as their focus is on finding food. They told us that some women in the Dwankhozi Primary School community are willing to make the students a school lunch during this Hungry Season. They just need us to help buy some maize. Then they invited us to participate in a Raise for Maize Campaign that will start on Monday. They encouraged students to ask friends and family if they could do chores, or service projects, for a Raise for Maize donation.. They suggested things like raking leaves or cleaning extra parts of the house or caring for a pet.
IDwankhozi is a community of people who care deeply about their school and want to help. When the students are provided with a nutritious meal during the school day for the duration of this tough season, school attendance remains high and the students’ and teachers' momentum for learning is sustained.
$10 feeds 60 students for one day. $50 feeds 300 students for one day. $100 feeds the entire school for one day. They only need to be fed for 6 weeks (30 school days.) That's $3,000. ~ which is our fundraising goal. To keep 600 students learning!