It has been way too long since I last updated the Appleseed blog. I will try to be thorough, but concise!
Since the big transition from Community School to Community Center we have lost some members, but gained many more. The center is now open 6 days per week from 8:00 am - 7:00pm (8:00 - 19:00.) We now serve children as well as adults. It is exciting to see young men and women there in the evening time, studying, playing music, using the computers and socializing with one another.
During the morning and afternoon hours the center is teeming with activity and excitement. Children are receiving extra tutoring in reading and math that is scheduled around their school hours. Generally, Zambian kids are in school for only 3 hours per day, so our members spend much more time at Appleseed than they do in the government schools. In addition to tutoring sessions, they play games, use computers, read in the library, dance and sing. They are also served lunch 5 days per week.
Because we no longer have to focus on training and paying teachers, our staff can focus on the fun activities that a community center should be able to provide. Since the transition, we have added an exciting Dance Around the World class with the Zambian King of Salsa, Jophael Banda. Staff members Paul and John take extra lessons with Jophael during the week, so they are very adept at teaching the kids as well. This group is AMAZING! They have had one opportunity to perform at the local ZOCA Kids event. We are always looking for more performance opportunities! Ms. Amanda, the leader of ZOCA Kids here in Zambia, will be starting a ZOCA Kids class for the younger kids at Appleseed very soon.
We have been very fortunate to have Val Harwood, from her NGO called The Reading Box, come to Appleseed to train our staff on sharing books with children. She has had 2 sessions so far and the staff have loved them! They are very excited to continue learning about how to share books and read aloud to children.
Another exciting project coming to Appleseed is the 'Sack Garden' project. This is a program that focuses on uplifting women in the compound by teaching them the sack garden technique and providing them with supplies to start their own vegetable gardens. We will be working with our friends at In & Out of the Ghetto to get the project started. The hope is that the women will be able to provide the vegetables for their families and to be able to keep their gardens going each season, possibly even being able to grow enough to start a small business of selling their vegetables.
Another big addition to the center is football (soccer.) We now support 4 different teams; the Amateurs (under 20), the Under 17, Under 12 and Under 8. They are all so fun to watch! Coach Caphas and Manager Shadreck, keep it all going. The teams have put Appleseed on the map, so to say, because they travel around Lusaka and surrounding areas for tournaments. They are quite good! We have 6 trophies decorating library that celebrate their achievements!
There is so much more to tell, but that will be for another blog post. In the meantime, please browse the new and improved website to keep abreast of the activities at RHO APPLESEED COMMUNITY CENTERS!
Ken and Joy Hoffman. See the'Who We Are' page.