Today we visited Muntemba in the Mazabuka district of the Southern Province in order to evaluate the other OVC camp that we ran earlier in the year. It was a slow start as there had been recent rains so many people were busy in their fields and couldn't come to the meeting until late in the afternoon. However once everyone arrived we could begin and again we got some brilliant feedback on our work from both the orphaned and vulnerable children that went on the camps and their guardians who have been at home to witness the changes in them.
Here SAPEP project officer Kenneth (standing in the middle) talks to the OVCs and guardians that have assembled so far. When we separated the two groups Wilson, SAPEP director (standing on the left), got the chance to talk to the guardians about development in the community as a whole. This is always a popular talk of his and really gets everyone's eyes focused on the future of the community and the task of getting there. Seated against the tree is the other SAPEP project officer Oliver, diligently taking notes.
Another person to note in this picture is Austin, standing by the car; he was one of the two community mentors that went on the camp. Mentors are volunteers from the community that are trained to assist the project officers during the camp. They live in the community that the vulnerable children come from and after the camp they act as trusted adults that the children approach if they feel the need to talk, for example to report a case of abuse they have experienced or witnessed. We also use them to communicate to the community and to keep us up to date on what is happening there.
Once we were finished Wilson dropped me off at Nina's farm. She has lived in Zambia for over 40 years and first worked as a midwife and then for the Dutch government; she helps SAPEP plan their future projects and has a great wealth of knowledge on the Tonga society which populates the Southern Province. I am going to spend the next week here having a few days break and writing up the work we have been doing so the only thing I will be able to tell you about is any wildlife I happen to come across while I am here.