Blog

My first frustration

written by Sian Jones

Zambia is an amazing country, but unless you are living in your own bubble (as we often are at Shine Zambia Reading Academy) you WILL get frustrated!

On Thursday I needed to print out several documents I had been working on for the teachers regarding the timetables, classes and schemes of work for next term.  I also needed to make copies of these documents for each teacher.  So I went to a shop that provides services including computer use, internet use, money transfer, printing and photocopying.  So far, so good.

However, the staff employed to work in this fairly up-market shop in a fairly affluent area of Lusaka did not possess any computer or photocopying skills.  They were unable to print a simple word document for me from my memory stick.  When we eventually managed to print out SOME of the correct things, they were then unable to use the high-tech photocopier.  Their response was that I should go somewhere else!

I wonder if the owner of this chain of shops would be impressed to hear that their staff were unable to perform the services offered in this shop and were telling customers to go somewhere else.  Unfortunately there was nowhere else for me to go, so I had to go to school with what we had managed to produce (after arguing over whether they were going to charge me for the print outs and copies they had made that were useless – in the end we compromised and I paid for half of the wasted items, although I felt very ripped off).

This was not a new experience for me.  Such incidents happen on a regular basis when you are trying to work in Zambia, and maybe I should be grateful that my first experience wasn’t until day 4!  However, I was soon back at our school having a very nice time working with our teachers – who I’m sure find me quite bewildering in many, many ways (but that is another story).

I am incredibly glad that we actually brought our own printer/scanner/copier with us.  As soon as we manage to buy some paper (no shops in the near vicinity appear to sell paper) then I will be able to print and copy my own work – and almost certainly find something else to frustrate me!

Sharing the gift of literacy with Africa's poorest children