We left Kabwe at 6am travel to Kasama to meet up Robert and Lois1 and visit Drop Inn Ministries school there.
After an 11-and-a-half hour car journey on roads (where at points there was literally no road) we arrived at Thorntree Lodge in Kasama where Robert and Lois were waiting to welcome us. We had a wonderful time catching up over dinner and hearing about the developments that had been happening at the school.
We woke early and after breakfast we had time to walk from the Lodge into Kasama town before going to visit the school.
We had been invited to visit the school that afternoon as the teachers and children were preparing a special welcome event for us.
We travelled to the school by car and much of the roads were barely tire tracks through long grass, which made it difficult to see. We were glad we didn’t have to drive it. The last section of the road was on the school property: Robert with local workers had hand dug deep channels at each side of the road to allow the water to drain away in the rainy season to protect the road and prevent the rain washing it away! It was the best road in the area!
The need for places at the school was far greater than could have been expected so there are now 2 school sites, the original one in Chiba supporting 251 children and another school (which is the one we visited) in the neighbour township called Brown, where they have 664 children — so 915 in total! God’s plans are far greater than our dreams!
When we arrived at the main school we were greeted by all 915 very excited children singing and clapping- it was very emotional. They also presented us with a huge and beautiful basket of fruit to thank us for coming — we were overwhelmed by their generosity! Then each year group took it in turn to sing, dance or perform for us and as soon as the dancing started Lois was up out of her seat and dancing with the children! Such a joy to see.
All too soon the concert was over and we returned to the Lodge for dinner where Robert and Lois shared stories of some of their many adventures over the years.
Again we were up early and went straight to the Drop Inn School. We spent time each of the younger class groups doing various activities, Bible stories and singing songs — the children’s favourite was standing up and sitting down to ‘Hallelu Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelujah’ so we had a great workout!! The children then taught us a song that was new to me ‘Jesus is the Master key’. By the time the end of the school day came the children were ready for home!
The Head Teacher and some of the teaching staff gave us a tour of the school grounds, the chicken house and piggery. And we could clearly see how hard they are working to generate additional funds to support the school.
Before we headed back to the Lodge, we visited a place called Chisama Falls — just a short distance away. The Falls are in a stunning woodland area, which is surprising hilly. What we saw of Zambia was very green and fertile — however, the infrastructure to make best use of this needs a lot of development.
At each stage of the Falls we were amazed by its beauty and we’re were so glad to have had the opportunity to experience it. We didn’t get to swim but we did manage a wee paddle before returning to the Lodge for dinner and some much needed rest before our next busy day!
We were back at the School bright and early to spend the day with the older children doing different activities, crafts, Bible readings and stories. And more of the ‘Hallelujah’ song! Our legs are still recovering’!
We were able to leave a variety of supplies, resources and sweets for the children.
The afternoon we visited Robert and Lois’s farm, which was a few miles away. The farm produces crops of maise, sweet potatoes, vegetables and fruits. We got a good insight into how the school could also further developing the use of its land, if they had the right tools and resources.
All the Teaching staff came to visit and spend time with us Thorntree Lodge — they gave us a very thorough report of the school’s developments and aspirations, which we have shared within Drop Inn on our return to Northern Ireland — please pray for wisdom as discussions are held to look at ‘what’s next’.
Before we left Kasama Richard took us to visit an OM project there, called House of Hope — this is a short-term home for children significantly affected by trauma and loss — where the children/young people can stay for a period time to receive counselling and support. The project also operates an out-reach service in the local communities.
We made the 11-and-a-half-hour return journey from Kasama to Kabwe. We arrived in time to make ourselves dinner at the OM guest house and then get some rest.
We spent the morning sorting out resources we brought to leave with OM for:
- The special needs school
- Nubia’s project
We also made time to visit to Figtree Café and local craft shop beside the OM base. After a delicious lunch at Richard’s home we went to visit a Scottish missionary Anne Davidson, at her home on the OM base to talk about the work she is doing. She took us on an impromptu visit to the girls safe house she oversees.
At the house we were welcomed by one of the House Mothers and girls, whose ages ranged from around 8 up to mid-teens. There was a lovely relaxed atmosphere in the home and the girls were excited to for us to play games with them — their favourites being ‘Uno’ which they were very good at! We also became their hair dressing models as they pleated and twisted our hair into beautiful creations!
We returned to the guest house, made dinner and packed up so we were ready to leave for Lusaka at 6am.
We left Kabwe very early so we could to travel to church in Lusaka. We attended Zambia Presbyterian Church and were made very welcome. After church we were speaking to a couple called, Anita and Daniel. They invited us to their home for coffee — they are from New Zealand but Anita grew up in Burkina Faso! Our time with them was short but very interesting and enjoyable.
We had the rest of the afternoon free before heading to the airport, for the first of our two seven-hour flights home, so we visited a lovely animal sanctuary called Chaminuka Lodge. We had lunch and mini safari experience, which was wonderful to see animals being cared for in what was as near to their natural habitats as was possible to create. A wonderful finale to an exceptional experience!
It’s so hard to single out just one thing! I loved spending time with the children but equally it was wonderful to spend time with the leaders and to hear of their dreams and aspirations to support the children to achieve and create better futures for them. But if I was to choose one thing it would be the welcome concert we received when we arrived at the Drop Inn school. Such a lot of work had gone into it, the children were so excited to do this for us. It was wonderful and completely overwhelming, something I’ll never forget.
Our time in Kasama was really special. It was the main reason for planning this trip. Having known Robert at Lois from nearly 10 years and hearing stories of Zambia it was really incredible getting to see the school, meet the staff and the children in person. It’s hard to pick just one highlight from our time there but hearing stories of how the school came to be and just how much work Robert and Lois put into making it happen was so special.
We hope you have enjoyed this snapshot of our journey, if you’d like to know more please let us know.
Prayers for Drop Inn Schools:
- The children
- Everyone involved in the running and coordination of the school
- Increase in teachers and long-term overseas students to support the school
- Development of the schools self sufficiency projects
- Provisions for their vocational skills program
- Construction of new classrooms
- An increase in visits
Prayers for Hope Mission:
- Wisdom in deciding the best use for their land
- Strong local leadership
- Clear vision for developments
- The success of the new girls home
- The development of a boys home
Prayers for OM:
- Increase in leaders and Overseas students to support the work
- The development of their in person and online training
- Increase in provisions to suit all ages and stages of development
- Increase in resources specifically design to support special needs
1Drop Inn Zambia was started by Robert and Lois to help vulnerable and orphaned children to access schooling.
We are planning a return trip in May 2023.
If you are interested, or want to find out more, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.