Natalie King & Olivia Butler on ‘The Experience’

Meet Natalie King (left) and Olivia Butler from UK, guests on the most recent edition of The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient, featuring George da Soulchild Kaufela – that’s our regular Sunday night radio show airing weekly at 20.30 hrs CAT on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. Natalie and Olivia are teachers, visiting Zambia as a result of student and teacher exchanges that happen thanks to Laura Tilling of IntroZambia  “a “not for profit” organisation, founded in 2002 by Steve & Caroline Curtis with Laura Tilling, on the principle of fairly trading with local people, to support economic development through grass roots tourism” (quote), though I guess it has developed a lot since they wrote that!

Natalie teaches at Wincanton Primary School and Olivia at Ansford Academy, Castle Carey, both located in Somerset, England. Exchanges are in operation between Mufulira High School and Ansford Academy as well as between Wincanton Primary School and Kamuchanga and Mutundu Basic Schools also located in Mufulira on the Zambian Copperbelt. We noted that these exchanges must be a steep learning curve for all concerned!

Natalie and Olivia told listeners that they’d arrived in Livingstone that very day after spending a week working in Mufulira. For both it was their second visit to Zambia but their first journey to come and see Victoria Falls. They had plenty of activities lined up for the few days they would spend staying at Chanters Lodge, including a game drive, a river safari, microlight/helicopter flights and in Olivia’s case, horse riding. Natalie, a primary school teacher, said she was married with a 17 year old son in UK. She greeted her husband Jamie, listening to the programme back at the lodge together with the other members of the group of seven on the exchange programme. Olivia is single and told listeners that she teaches secondary school level science – and loves it.

The music on the show was good. We featured tracks by Sean Kingston, Chris Brown, Dandy Krazy, B1, Adele and Bruno Mars. The ‘oldie of the week’ was Daniel Powter’s ‘You Had A Bad Day’. I thought listeners would struggle with the name of the artist, but not so, and the prize was quickly snapped up with a text message! A dinner for two with drinks at Chanters Lodge! Our pick of the week was Justin Bieber’s ‘Boyfriend’ and we closed with Nicki Minaj’s smash, ‘Starships’.

We wondered how these fantastic exchange programmes were funded and the girls said there were various ways. Olivia explained that the students, teachers and parents of Ansford go to tremendous lengths to raise funds ‘everything from pig races to barn dancing’ she said. They were lucky to have also had some funding from the National Lottery, as well as a kind donor from the Minor Metal Trading Association. Natalie said that in the past they had received funding from the British Council but that this might not be the case in the future.

The two girls told listeners that they would be leaving Livingstone the following Wednesday, some of the group would be heading back to UK, while others would be going to Atkins Farm in Monze for some more Zambian experience! Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing 10 years from now, Natalie said she would ‘still like to be doing what I do’ and Olivia said she would like to have a PhD and to still be enjoying the adventures that life had to offer.