A Day at Chikondi Community Center

So many people we meet ask us, “what does your typical day look like?” Although it’s hard to have a “typical” day with so many variables constantly changing (new classes coming, others graduating, women leaving to give birth to sweet babies, our guard dog giving birth to 10 puppies- that happened this week!, etc.), we do have a pretty standard format that we like to stick to in the midst of the change. 

Here’s a little photo journey of a “typical” day at the Chikondi Community Center in the heart of the Ng’ombe Compound in Lusaka, Zambia. This facility is our original training site, our home base for all programs in Zambia. 

Our first class of students arrive at 10am. 

They can bathe with our clean water (from that big green tank) if they are out of water at home.

They can bathe with our clean water (from that big green tank) if they're out of water at home.

These two cuties- or an array of others- are ready to greet everyone at the front door. 

These two cuties (Harvest and Martha) - or an array of others - are ready to greet everyone at the front door. 

Our beginner level class spends most of their 2-hour class at the Cutting Table with our Tailoring Instructor, Mrs. Mulenga, as she teaches practical lessons for ease of learning for illiterate and non-English speaking students. 

Our beginner level class spends most of their 2-hour class at the Cutting Table with our Tailoring Instructor, Mrs. Mulenga, as she teaches practical lessons for ease of learning for illiterate and non-English speaking students. 

Students can then work on our Center machines on assignments that they are given from class. 

Students can then work on our Center sewing machines on assignments that they are given from class. 

Starting around 11:30 each day, Margret and Sylvia prepare lunch for Staff, kids, and any women still working at the facility during the 1pm lunch hour. 

Starting around 11:30, Sylvia and Margret prepare lunch for staff, kids, and any women still working at the facility during the 1pm lunch hour. 

And even when power outages force Margret to cook on the charcoal stove, she still finds so much joy in cooking her famous dishes. 

And even when power outages force Margret to cook on the charcoal stove, she still finds so much joy in cooking her famous dishes. 

1pm and lunch is served! This is typically the biggest meal of the day. The top right is Nshima- a corn meal mixture thicker than grits. It is balled up in the right hand and used to eat the "relish" or stew (bottom is stewed pumpkin leaves called Chibwabwa), and the meat with sauce (chicken here). 

1pm and lunch is served! This is typically the biggest meal of the day. The top right is Nshima- a corn meal mixture thicker than grits. It is balled up in the right hand and used to eat the "relish" or stew (bottom is stewed pumpkin leaves called Chibwabwa), and the meat with sauce (chicken here). 

Many aspects of life are the same no matter where you live- like afternoon nap time. Anywhere from 1 to 6 babies can be found in our Showroom on the foam mattress for nap time while mamas work on assignments. 

Many aspects of life are the same no matter where you live- like afternoon nap time. Anywhere from 1 to 6 babies can be found in our Showroom on the foam mattress for nap time while mamas work on assignments. 

At 2pm (or 14 hours as we say), the next group of students arrive for their 2-hour class. Students take notes from Instructor Tresa. Those who can't read or write learn from oral instruction accompanying this lesson.

At 2pm (or 14 hours as we say), the next group of students arrive for their 2-hour class. Students take notes from Instructor Tresa. Those who can't read or write learn from oral instruction accompanying this lesson.

Lead Instructor Mrs. Mulenga helps Tresa as students bring in their own patterns and garments for design and sewing questions.

Lead Instructor Mrs. Mulenga helps out as students bring in their own patterns and garments for design and sewing questions.

And as the power comes back on around 4pm, current students and graduates pour back into the Center to work on their own projects, orders for customers, and class assignments. Stella is known as the baby fanatic, joyfully baby sitting for others while they get some much-needed alone time while sewing. Here is Margret's baby, Rabon.

And as the power comes back on around 4pm, current students and graduates pour back into the Center to work on their own projects, orders for customers, and class assignments. Stella is known as the baby fanatic, joyfully babysitting for mamas to get some much-needed alone time while sewing. Here is Margret's baby, Rabon.

During afternoon downtime while mamas take advantage of the electricity, kids come over after school to play with their friends in our secure yard. 

During afternoon downtime while mamas take advantage of the electricity, kids come over after school to play with their friends in our secure yard. 

Once all of the ladies and kiddos have headed home for the day, we release our big, bad guard dog (she's actually the sweetest dog ever- don't tell). Eddie (right) and Abraham, our full-time Facility Caretakers, take it from there to keep our CCC safe and secure.

Once all of the ladies and kiddos have headed home for the day, we release our big, bad guard dog (she's actually the sweetest dog ever- don't tell). Eddie (right) and Abraham, our full-time Facility Caretakers, take it from there to keep our CCC safe and secure.

 

And the next day it starts all over again! Our program is now a well-oiled machine is thanks to our 10 local staff who keep everything moving smoothly and forward as we continue growing and expanding.

When you are a member of the HOPE Club, you make this daily beauty possible by providing life-changing skills training classes to dozens of women in Lusaka, Zambia. If you haven't joined us yet, we would love to have you on board!