Today we started to wind down, made sure we tied up any loose ends, and confirmed final details on the girls program. On the list were continuing to work with the Grade 11 girls on their new roles, review the summary of the girls program, have a special lunch with the team and the girls, and, of course, enjoy our last two days here!

Part of enjoying today was getting involved in a fun game of net ball. We played for a good hour, with all of the Living Compassion team and girls going full force, while we musungus could barely keep up! Several breaks were required. It’s quite amazing to see the amount of energy everyone has.

Leaping up to throw the ball. It’s important to make sure to throw it high enough over the opposing team’s heads!

The net ball players! Joann and Regina, members of the cooperative, joined us. They were some of the best players – and they have some serious stamina!

After some fun playtime, it was time to get to our to do list. First on the list, of course, was reviewing the details of the girls program. We went over the 7-page document that encapsulates the structures and details of the program derived from our daily meetings over the course of the trip. The document is simple and clear and will serve as a guidepost in the coming months as we take this next phase of the program for a test drive. Very exciting!

Then, it was on to the special lunch! We brought in vegetarian sausages, kindly cooked by the team at Castle Lodge. The staff and the girls sat down as members of the team served.

Everyone got two big bowls of rice.

Getting the plates ready to hand out. Can you spot the platter of sausages at the end of the table?

For many of them, it was likely the first time they had eaten a veggie sausage. We asked around, and it seemed the girls did enjoy them. It was also an opportunity for us to have some fun speaking Bemba! Pauline would ask us something in Bemba (which made everyone laugh); we would then check with Theresa on the correct answer and respond—to the best of our ability, which made everyone laugh more! We recently saw this quote that came to mind, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” Seemed so—a wonderful way to connect with everyone after the very full two weeks here.

Settling down to eat

Joy and Susan take a moment between bites for the camera!

Then, Theresa announced that it was Sreedevi’s last day, and as tradition has it, she must dance! So everyone migrated to the big room, and with lots of boisterous singing, the dancing commenced. Many individuals came up to dance, and at the end, everyone was dancing! There was then another tradition, the “goodbye” song. You may have heard some of it on this past week’s Good News Update from Kantolomba.

This is Christine. She was our last dancer, and the best! There were big cheers for her when she finished.

After an afternoon of fun, we still had some tasks left. Jen and Theresa continued to review the final summary of the girls program, while Sreedevi worked with the Grade 11 girls. Esther and Rachael are going to take on the role of assisting the younger girls with reading and speaking English.

Esther, who learned how to use the books yesterday, helps Rachael learn how to use them too.

Both the girls shared how important it is for the younger ones to learn English, and that their papers, books and exams be in English—a must to advance their education. They both were excited about mentoring the younger girls and helping them to succeed.

Silvia and Mirriam are curious, so they jump in to see how to use them as well!

We then worked with Silvia and Mirriam a bit more on photography training, focusing today on how to compose a picture. We reviewed different photos and discussed what we liked about them, what worked, and how a photo can tell a story based on its composition. Already, within less than a week, these two are clearly on their way to being great photographers!

Reviewing photos with the girls and discussing composition. And the most important thing when they are doing photo reporting – have fun!

After a fun day at Kantolomba, it was off to run errands and then back to Castle Lodge. Tomorrow there will be a girl’s workshop, with Rose and Martha joining. It promises to be a great last day here at the Living Compassion site!

Some of the beautiful faces in Kantolomba. Here are Memory, Joyce and Saaf.

Silvia and her sister Stevania (who is also in the girls program). Easy to tell that they are sisters!

Jane (an excellent netballer!). This is one of those great photos that, we project, displays her amazing spirit.