For me an African safari isn’t just about game viewing. It’s about meeting new people from a totally different culture. And on any trip abroad with my kids, I want them to meet local children.
So last week, half way through our safari in Zambia, we spent a couple of days in a village in Chiawa district, visiting the school and getting to know the community. At the suggestion of Cherri Briggs, an Africa travel specialist on The WOW List who has spearheaded a number of conservation and community projects in Africa and has turned life around for many people in Chiawa, we brought with us from the U.S. a big bag full of supplies for the school, and we gave the students a slide show about our life in the U.S. (our house, our school, our neighborhood) and the children we have met in our travels around the world.
The people of Chiawa could not have been lovelier or more welcoming. My sons Charlie, 15, and Doug, 13, had fun playing volleyball with the kids, pumping water, eating Zambian home cooking with their hands, even going to church. In the videos below, you can watch a group of young girls welcome us with lively dancing, and you can enjoy the glorious songs we heard during the church service. We made a lot of friends—some of whom I’ve already heard from on WhatsApp—and hopefully some of the kids and teachers in Chiawa will visit us in the U.S. someday.
I’m still mid-trip, so stay tuned for a more detailed article about what exactly we did in Chiawa, how we arranged it, how we helped support the community, and how you can have a similar experience if you like. In the meantime, you’ll find photos from our Chiawa visit on Instagram.
Here are the videos:
First, a 30-second panoramic tour of the village. Charlie and Doug helped out at the water pump. “Water is life” is an expression we heard a lot in Zambia.
The Power Kittens is a girls’ club that is one of the empowerment efforts founded by Cherri Briggs. It’s a club for 20 upstanding girls in Chiawa (approx. 9 to 13 years old) who do good for the community. Watch how they introduce themselves. They sing, “We are Chiawa Kittens….Yes Yes Yes! You need to work hard. Yes, that is our motto. Kitten never fails in life….Our motto is to work hard in life!”
To help break the ice, I tried joining in this dance. I wiggled as fast as I could, eliciting a lot of laughs from the audience. Charlie shot video of it, but I’m not about to share it here!
Once the Power Kittens reach high school, they become Power Cats. Here they are, in their signature blue shirts, beating Charlie and Doug at volleyball.
Listen to the beautiful voices we heard in Chiawa’s Catholic church. The priest, Father Paul Sakala, is a lot of fun—and an avid world traveler who speaks Italian and English as well as three Zambian languages.
In case you can’t get enough of those harmonious voices, here’s one more song for you.
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