Shock Value

In the final part of our interview series, our Crystal Lake teachers answer one last question based on their Zambian trip in 2012.

Q. What was something that shocked you?

Kalan Gott: The high level of motivation to learn despite the challenges the students face shocked me.

Anastasia Gruper: We were well prepped for what to expect, but you can never be fully prepared for what you will experience. For example, Mal told us about Zam dogs. They are wild dogs that live in the streets. Obviously, they are not tame and should not be touched. However, they walk among the people. It was surprising to hear them fight at night, but the stench and sight of one that was killed in a fight cannot be described in words. The decomposing carcass remained on the side of the road, where people walk, for a few days; it was just one more addition to the filth people walked through daily.

Ann Yanchura: I was not prepared for the level of theft. Anything not nailed down is considered free for the taking. Some of the white missionaries attribute this to the communal attitude of people in the area of Lusaka; in other words, I am not stealing but rather you are sharing what you have with me. Regardless, the schools experience high levels of theft that they can ill afford. There are bars and windows on the doors to prevent anything large being removed. They can’t leave pencils, paper, or books in classrooms because they will disappear.

Mariann Zimmerman: The day we were at Mango Grove, I spent a great deal of time in a 5th grade classroom. The teacher presented a lesson about importing and exporting goods. The teacher did a fantastic job presenting the information in a way that the students could relate. As she was presenting, she was writing and making notes and diagrams on the chalk board. At the end, the students copied everything from the board into their notebooks. I asked the teacher if this was information needed to be successful on the Zambia test. Yes. Were all the students able to read what she had written on the board and were copying into their notebooks? No. Could they use their notebooks when they took the exam? No. This really bothered and still bothers me. How will most of them ever better themselves?

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