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Tim's Accounting Adventure in Zambia

Tim (ACA)
The Sani Foundation, Zambia

"The Sani Foundation is about a twenty minute walk from my apartment, and lies at the bottom of a nice, tree lined close. The office opens at 8am, with the trainees arriving shortly afterwards. The work of the foundation centres around three stations; the kitchen, the garden and the workshop. 


"It is in these stations that the very dedicated and capable teachers work with the trainees to give them skills that will hopefully see them able to gain employment.



"One particularly nice element is that the kitchen station prepares a lunch for everyone and at 1pm everybody - staff and trainees - sits outside and has lunch together. The lunch is based around nshima, which is made from pounded white maize and is served with a vegetable relish as well as a protein source (we've had chicken and soya pieces so far), and is eaten with the right hand.


"This is great as it both means that I don't need to concern myself with arranging lunch but is also an opportunity to spend time with the whole team. 



"After lunch, the trainees sit in a circle with the teachers and there is an activity such as saying what they did at the weekend or singing a song. The Friday activity is always a great excitement as this is when the trainees are awarded points for what they have done in the week, and these are added up towards the Trainee of the Month award.  I've only seen one of these so far and have been assured that they can become quite emotional events.


"In terms of my contribution, it is, of course. very back office. I've been working with Chewe, who is the Operations Coordinator who takes care of the finances as well as being very involved with the running of the foundation. As my professional career was always in the corporate world, it did take a bit of adjustment to allow for how an NGO should function.



"Everything is helped by the team being very capable and very committed, and at times I think they are teaching me more than I am them.  It has been nice to get back to building spreadsheets again, and I'm pleased to say that I haven't lost my touch in that regard, and I even got to write some macros which caused me a worrying amount of pleasure. 


"I like to think that we've made quite a bit of progress in this first week and am looking forward to the next couple of weeks.


"So far, a trip into the centre of Lusaka is the highlight of my sightseeing, which, as Lusaka is a very sprawling city, is almost 10km away from my apartment. I decided to embrace Africa fully and bravely headed off to go round the nearby markets which straddle Independence Avenue. 


"As with everywhere I've been in Zambia, everybody in the market was incredibly pleasant and friendly and I can't wait to get further out and about. 


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