Today was our last morning in Eureka, after an early start we packed up, we said goodbye to the giraffes and zebras and set off to the school one last time.
As usual, our reception was fantastic, the children were running alongside the truck, waving and smiling. School was in session, but pulling in to the courtyard gave us an enormous sense of pride and achievement with the work we had completed. Trees were planted, the Science Lab was painted but there were a few loose ends to finish. After dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s we all met in the Science Labs to sign our names by the BGL Logos. Job done. Doreen, the head teacher, had organised an assembly to thank us and wish us well. We filed into the hall to be greeted by the entire school. We were not prepared for what came next. Their choir serenaded us with a beautiful version of the Zambian National Anthem. As their voices filled the hall, it dawned on me this would be the last time I would see these wonderful people. Next came a fantastically acted and funny play about a daughter trying to get money from her father to go to school, with the father initially refusing to pay because he thought he was funding the lab, and what a waste of money that would be. He was soon comically set right that BGL Group had paid for it, and what a foolish move it would be not to go, luckily he coughed up to a roar of laughter to all the watching students.
With the departure time looming, we all dried our tears and went about saying our goodbyes. The children were just the tonic that was needed. Their smiles and happiness were so infectious that we were soon cheering and ‘dabbing’ away the tears. Gareth got all the kids cheering with his rally cries, I had so many high fives, and fist bumps that my hands were hurting. We pulled away with children chasing the truck and waving furiously. Our spirits lifted we headed off on the long journey to Kabaka.
We passed the time people watching, playing cards and listening to Josh and Gareth’s renditions to old Eminem songs. After a quick rest stop where I managed to grab an actual espresso in a china cup, we headed down a bumpy dirt track, where we encountered a deadly snake in the middle of the road, a makeshift roadblock and a patch of loose sand that beached our bus. We all jumped out, some through the window Dukes of Hazard style and with a quick push, we were back on our way. When the children started running by the bus, again we knew we had reached our destination.
As we got off the bus, we were immediately thrown into dancing and singing, with everybody joining in, shaking what their mother gave them. The tents were up, fire lit and we explored our new home for the next few days. Unfortunately, the darkness held a few hidden pitfalls and Sophie cracked her toe on a tree stump. Luckily, Andy McKee came to the rescuer, cleaned up the blood and with a fresh bandage, she hobbled to the campfire where we sat eating a lovely meal and said goodbye to a long emotional day.