The Tour of Zambezi

Chimene Mwane friends and family, 

We are officially settled here in Zambezi! We all had some much needed sleep and woke up ready to take on the day. While our wonderful breakfast chefs, Will, Lucia, & Sarah were cooking breakfast, everyone relaxed on the couches, prepared some coffee, and collected clothes for laundry day. While waiting, me, Brynn, Katie, & Julia were hustled up under Katie’s “princess” bed and chatted about the most random things with lots of laughter. It was like a slumber party but in the morning! We later gathered for some delicious French toast with bananas, peanut butter, and the most AMAZING honey that Josh got from Father David Phiri. 

After cleaning up breakfast, Father David took the afternoon flight group on a tour of Zambezi, while the morning crew stayed back at the convent unpacking our supplies and relaxing a little bit, while Ani made some sick flyers for our classes starting Monday. We toured the town in Father David’s pickup truck, waving hi to everyone we saw. Our first stop was a tour of the Zambezi hospital where we visited the Men’s, Women’s, and Children’s wards. We met some of the doctors and patients there, learning about them and how their conditions are treated at the clinic.  

Our second stop was at a local store in town where we can buy soda drinks and snacks at. Driving through town, the group waved to everyone in sight, saying mwane (a respectful greeting) and Zambians yelling mwane and welcome with joy. Everyone is so welcoming and kind to us, it truly feels like a community here, reminding me of the Zag community back home. 

Our third stop was the Zambezi River, where my breath was taken away at the blue water moving its way down the river, canoes pulled up on the shores, the green trees on the horizon, and the stillness of life. From previous trips (shoutout to Zambia ’23), I’ve heard about canoe trips at sunset on the river, which I am so excited to experience (sorry Mom, I AM going to do it!). When we were leaving, we met some more people and told them about our classes, which they were so excited for and making us pumped for Monday. 

Our fourth stop was Zambezi Boarding school, one of the many schools here in Zambezi, and the school Will & I will be at in a few days. The school was very beautiful with stunning plants on the sidewalks, high school students walking around, and big classes in session. We got to introduce ourselves to a senior math class, and when I looked at what they were learning, it was Trigonometry! While I love school, math is not my forte so I might have panicked a little! The students and teachers were excited for us to come on Monday, which can’t come any faster! 

Our fifth stop was Chilenga primary and secondary school where Gonzaga had donated a library to their school years ago. While talking to Father David, I noticed everyone else playing with the kids and my heart burst with happiness, knowing we have so much love to give and spread during our time here. On our way back to the convent, Will & I discussed how special this place really is and how we are grateful for our experiences with the community. There is no place like Zambezi and I feel fortunate to be a part of this community. 

Before lunch, a group of us went to the back of the convent and played with the kids that showed up. Charlie, Will, & Julia were playing monkey in the middle with the older kids, while me & Sarah took a class from Lucia with the younger kids, practicing our leaps and jumps. Seeing the laughter and smiles of the kids made me feel like a kid again myself, being goofy and carefree. 

Mama Katendi & Charlie prepared a yummy lunch, consisting of beef stew, fried rice, and fried okra which was some of the best okra I’ve ever had. Our lunch conversations consisted of our plans to head to mass tomorrow morning, followed by homestay for next weekend, and how the honey here is 10x better than the honey at home. We finished lunch and had a chill afternoon with us splitting into our teams preparing for classes on Monday. Everyone was in the zone, working hard to prepare a good week of classes, and getting excited for what’s to come along with some nerves, because we all have nerves. 

We finished the day off with watching the sunset at the river. During that time, I could feel the peace and stillness of life around me, reminding me to be present and build CONNECTIONS with everyone I meet during my journey in Zambezi. 

Sending best wishes and love, 

Ellie Powers ’24

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7 Responses to The Tour of Zambezi

  1. Kylie Mukai (ZamFam '23) says:

    Ooo! I forgot about the okra! Soooo yummy!

    Thanks for your thoughtful reflection, Ellie. It is great to hear that you’re settling in nicely. You’re correct, the canoe trip on the river is SO GORG (but watch out if you sit in the back! you might get bonked in the head with the paddle). I am looking forward to the blog post when you all go.

    Also, I am so thrilled that you got to meet the lovely people of Chilenga and Zambezi Boarding. You all have so much to look forward to! Sending my love from the Hemm Welcome Desk, hehe.

    – Kylie

  2. Lisa Rockower says:

    This is so amazing. I’m sure all of us, family and friends are living vicariously through your adventures. Thank you to all of you for sharing your daily experiences.

  3. Klaire Powers says:

    Are you sure you want to go on that canoe trip? So glad you are having an amazing time so far. We love reading these daily blogs. It makes us feel like we are right there with you in Zambezi.

    ❤️ Mom

  4. Sierra Martinsen says:


    Thank you for the detailed account of your day and the lovely picture of the river! I’m glad to hear you’re all settling into Zambezi and enjoying the incredible food (the okra is TO DIE FOR!). It’s been such a treat (and very nostalgic!) reading the blog posts over the past week. I’ve loved reading about the community you’re forming, all the laughter and inside jokes, and the humility with which you all embrace new experiences. There really is no place like Zambezi <3

    Please say hi to Mama Katendi for me (and the ZamFam 2023)!

    As a side note, I was so bummed to read about Dr. Sloan’s injury. I’m wishing her a speedy recovery!

    – Sierra

  5. Kathleen (Proud Zag Mom) says:

    Welcome to your home away from home in Zambezi! So fun to hear about your exciting travels there, and we can’t wait to hear more as you continue to integrate into this amazing landscape, lifestyle and culture. Also, excited to hear more about these canoe rides!
    Continue to enjoy and experience!
    ❤️Blessings to you all and many continued prayers for Professor Sloan! ❤️

  6. Arturo Gamboa says:

    Treasure the experiences and the learning you are having. These will serve you well in your life. U Jove hearing how you are interacting with the Zambezisns. As much as you give much more is given back to you with kindness and love. Can’t wait to hear about your experiences with the kids next week

  7. Sophia Riva says:

    Hi Ellie, Zambezi sounds so so amazing!! Love to hear it from your perspective !!

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