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Zambia 2013

Sunday 18th August
On Sunday the 18th of august Marianne Bradley, Deonne Corvan, Aine Craig, Sarah Louise Grieve, Colm Kelly, Aidan McGlade, John Mulholland, Edel Neeson, Stephen Neeson, and Niamh O’Kane left Granaghan Resource Centre to travel to Lusaka, Zambia.
After a long trip via Birmingham and Dubai, we arrived safely in Lusaka and were taken by Sr Sahai to St Patricks Foxdale where the group would stay for the duration of the trip. We then went to the Home of Joy orphanage in the evening time for a welcome ceremony and a meal. Here everyone was introduced to the Irish Ambassador of Zambia who invited the team for a meal on Sunday at the Irish Embassy/Consulate. We also met Donald who provided information on the project and would be our main point of contact for the project.
Monday 19th August
We were up early for breakfast much to manys dismay, then the group headed off to the Training Centre, after a tour of the site work commenced on building a pumping station and concreting a waterway feature planned within the garden. When the team first visited St Charles’ school the principle informed us of how electricity was going to be installed in the future. As we had an electrician on the team this was the perfect opportunity for Colm to make a big impact on the school. Colm then travelled with the sister to get all the necessary equipment.
After lunch the girls also went to the school and began painting internal classrooms assisted by very willing staff and pupils!! In the evening we returned to St Patricks where we got our meal, provided by Zechariah and his wife Josephine. Everyone was tired but excited by the project and all were in good spirits.
Tuesday 20th August
Some of the girls continued painting at the school, first coat certainly improving the classrooms. The men worked at the water feature at the ‘Future in your hands’ site and Colm went with Sr Sahai to get electrical equipment. Work begun on building the pumping station manhole, Aidan and Marianne were building and helping with concrete spillway. Everyone was still in high spirits as we were excited to see what was next for the project. In the evening we went out with Fr Martin to the Arcades and had an enjoyable and relaxing night.
Wednesday 21st August
All the girls were at the school painting today, with John, Aidan and Stephen working at the rock pool. The rock pool would later be formed into the Stations of the Cross. As Colm had all the equipment needed he began work at the primary school.
Thursday 22nd August
Colm got Aidan on board with wiring the school whilst the girls continued painting. Due to the poor condition of the walls there were areas needed restored, this is where John and Stephen came in. Everyone very tired in the evening.
Friday 23rd August
The team got to the school bright and early to pick up where we left off the day before, hoping to have it finished for Saturday. The team, feeling a little bit home sick, visited O’Hagan ‘Irish’ bar at Woodlands Lusaka where some steam was let off!! Everyone had a good night, however it didn’t quite cure the homesickness, as we were the only Irish people in the Irish bar.
Saturday 24th August
Everyone went to the school to complete the painting of classrooms. Colm went in search for more wiring, after running out the previous day. We finished painting all of the classrooms, with the girls tired having painting nine classrooms instead of three. It’s fair to say we won’t be looking to see golden brown paint anytime soon. The group were then able to visit around the school and socialise with the school children and staff. Everyone was very tired which is no surprise after last night!
Work finished early on the Saturday and the group went to visit Donald at his lodge for swimming and a Zambian meal. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this local cuisine, which was certainly ‘different’. It was good to experience ‘a taste of Zambia’ however; there has never been so muchtalk about cow tongue and pork trotters!
Sunday 25th August
Fr Martin celebrated mass in the outreach station in the morning, which the whole team attended. We then went with him to see the proposed site of new chapel. Early afternoon we went to the craft fair in arcades where everyone bought lots of little souvenirs. In the evening the group were then privileged to visit the home of the Irish ambassador for a beautiful meal and provided entertainment with our very own Sarah Louise doing an Irish dance and Niamh playing the Tin- Whistle. A very enjoyable occasion.
Monday 26th August
Today the girls went to the shrine at the Home of Joy, they were spending the day with the girls in the orphanage making rosary beads and jewellery. One of the women looking after the girls in the orphanage, Helen, gave us a tour of the grounds to show us the areas that Donald had designed. Marianne and some ants got very friendly, too friendly for Marianne’s liking!!! Colm and Aidan were continuing wiring at the school, while Stephen and John finished painting the principal’s office. Stephen and John then started to place steel around dome and arch – partial pour. After dinner everyone had an early night, exhausted.
Tuesday 27th August
The girls visited St Faustina’s parish with Fr Martin to visit the sick. This required a walk around the compound showing the real hardship faced in Lusaka. We were split into groups for the tour and found the experience tough as it was difficult to see people in situations that wouldn’t happen at home. Colm and Aidan continued wiring at the school and completed bits and pieces of painting. John and Stephen worked at the dome, the concrete river way which will hopefully be a success. The Granaghan Outreach signs were put up today in the nursery classrooms at the school, at the training centre, at the wall close to the rock pool and the pumping station manhole. These signs are to show the work completed and funded by the group.
Wednesday 28th August
The group went to the school this morning to finish up loose ends of wiring. The school had a celebration ceremony for us, a lot of thank you’s, dancing and singing, of which we were overwhelmed by the response. Then there was a mass at the Marion shrine with the Sisters and the girls from ‘Home of Joy’ celebrated by Fr Martin. This was an enjoyable experience as we got to see the girls singing and dancing, as they would normally do at a service. We then said our good byes and prepared to travel.
Thursday 29th August
After a long journey of more than 24 hours and four airports later we arrived at Granaghan Resource Centre at 7pm. Everyone was exhausted and looking forward to their own bad and their home comforts but agreed that it was definitely a great trip and one they would certainly embark on again.