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Advisory Flex Time Activity

25 Sep
My walking club
One of our staff members at AISL knocked sausage tree fruit off the tree
Sausage Tree Fruit

Our Flex time on Tuesdays and Thursdays is a new addition to our Advisory program at the American International School of Lusaka (AISL) this year. We have developed Flex time within our Advisory program to give our students more choices and leadership opportunities. We kicked this off with the first 3 week options being developed from student suggestions. Next session we hope to see lots of our students proposing and leading opportunities for their peers. Modeled on National Geographic writer Paul Salopek’s Out of Eden Walk, slow journalism, and “slow looking.” Learn more about the sausage tree from this video by Discovery UK. From the San Diego Zoo: “With its peculiar, sausage-shaped fruit and blood-red, tulip-shaped flowers, the sausage tree Kigelia africana (also Kigelia pinnata) is a striking standout” in Africa.

The Sausage Tree | Africa’s Trees Of Life (source: Discovery UK)

Life in Zambia: Movember, Mangos, & Coffee

2 Dec

A few photos from life in Zambia! Our #Movember group raised $1,600.00 to date. Movember is an annual event involving the growing of mustaches and/or choosing a fitness goal during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as anxiety, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide. The goal of Movember is to “change the face of men’s health.” The Lusaka League of Extraordinary Moustaches included faculty and parents. Here is my ‘Mo’ Space. To date, I raised $300.00 this year. Many thanks for the support and much appreciation and laughs with my school community team. This year’s Movember, in particular, was an important one for me. Here is an excerpt from my page:

This year marks the 10th anniversary of my father’s death. My dad, Robert W. Martin (Bob) died on March 27, 2011, at the age of 66 after a long, brave battle with prostate cancer. About 1 man in 8 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. The Movember Foundation is working to halve the number of deaths from prostate cancer by 2030, and I want to help them get there.” – Click HERE to learn more about Movember

It’s mango season in Zambia. I love mangos. We bought all these in this photo for less than $9.00 USD on the road (M9) from Kafue National Park last weekend. The coffee is Zambian is from Bush Brew Coffee. My neighbor and colleague, Trevor, organizes the delivery straight from the roasters. I am grateful for my health, our jobs, our school, and life here in Zambia. My goal is always to try to blog more and to share more about life here, along with teaching and learning. Every time I write a post, I feel bad that I don’t blog more often. Baby steps, small goals.

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia – Part 2 (Oct. 2021)

24 Oct

Ten more photos from our five days in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. We enjoyed our week there and are thankful for opportunities to see more of this amazing country. We hope friends will come to visit as travel restrictions get easier. The past year and a half has given us many opportunities to do road trips, go camping, and to learn more about Zambia. While my site focuses more on teaching and learning, I also want to share photos and experiences that allows others to learn more about Zambia and other places we visit. There are a lot of perceptions of what Africa is like. First of all, it’s not a country. It’s often referred to as one place or a country in the media and by people I meet when I travel or return home (“How’s Africa?”). It’s a huge continent with 54 diverse countries and cultures.

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia – Part 1 (Oct. 2021)

24 Oct

Ten photos from our October school break trip to South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. This was our second trip to South Luangwa, two years after our first trip. Our family stayed two nights at Time and Tide Nsolo Camp and three nights at Mfuwe Lodge (The Bushcamp Company). Both provided very different experiences, one very remote and rustic and off the grid and the other more comfortable and family-friendly (ex. pool, air-conditioning, etc.). We saw everything we had hoped to see, lots of lions and elephants. My goal was to finally see wild dogs, something I had not seen in my three and half years of safaris in Zambia. I was overjoyed to see packs of wild dogs (sometimes called “painted” dogs). The cherry on top of the sundae was seeing a leopard in a tree that we got to spend about 15 minutes near before it climbed down and ran into the bush. It was a wonderful way to spend our vacation, and we are very grateful for this experience and to live in such a beautiful country.

Kafue National Park – Zambia

20 Apr
Sunset in Kafue National Park
Red-breasted roller
Male lion
Elephant near Ila Lodge
Jackal on the M9 at sunrise
Kafue River at sunset
Kaingu Lodge
Baby crocodule
Walking to the rock to watch the sunset (Kaingu Lodge)

Kafue National Park is in south-central Zambia. Established in 1950 and located about 200 miles (322 km) west of Lusaka, the park covers an area of 8,650 square miles (22,400 square km) and consists of a vast and gently undulating plateau, situated along the middle reaches of the Kafue River and its two tributaries, the Lufupa and the Lunga (Britannica). It is the oldest and largest park in Zambia, and one of the largest in Africa. We have visited Kafue a few times, most recently twice this year. We stayed in Ila Lodge and Kaingu Lodge, both excellent lodges.

Paul Salopek (Out of Eden Walk): Guest Speaker

19 Dec

Paul Salopek from the Out of Eden Walk joined 4th graders at the American International School of Lusaka (AISL) last Thursday for a Q & A about this journey, slow journalism and explorers. The students had just completed a unit on explorers where they compared explorers from history to modern-day. Paul’s walk has inspired me since he started in 2013 in Ethiopia.

We did a Google Meet from Myanmar (Burma) where he currently is staying, as he prepares to enter China in the new year. There were so many nuggets of information and words of wisdom from our thirty minute session with him. One key take-away for students is the understanding that explorers do not have to travel long distances to learn about other places. They can learn more about their neighborhood and city through slow walks and close observation…opening their senses.

I am very appreciative of Paul for taking the time to talk with our students. The Out of Eden Learn project and his walk remain something that I am passionate about as they have brightened my days. Follow the Out of Eden Walk and join Out of Eden Learn, if you are an educator. Photos by Tony Potts and Rob Martin.

Adventures in Zambia

14 Dec

I have done a very poor job of maintaining my blog since the start of the school year. Grand plans of posting regularly fell by the wayside, as the school year began with distance learning and all the work that is involved in providing the best for our students (and our families!) during these difficult times. I feel fortunate that Zambia has managed things well during this pandemic. I am grateful for our school community and friends who have been supportive. I am also thankful that I live in a beautiful country where our family can get out and camp and go on safaris to see the amazing wildlife. I have included 10 of my favorite photos from different spots in Zambia, including the Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park and Lower Zambezi National Park. These photos were taken by me or my daughter.

As we complete our last week of school before Christmas break, I wish my students – former and current – all the best. Be safe and keep in touch. I would love to reconnect with you. My email address is:

Wishing you the best during these difficult times. Let’s hope 2021 brings better news.

– Rob Martin, American International School of Lusaka, Zambia

Africa Day

25 May
Image source: Geographicus Rare Antique Maps

Africa Day is a holiday in Zambia and some other African nations every 25 May. The day celebrates the founding of what is today called the African Union, but originally was called the Organisation for African Unity, which was founded on 25 May 1963.

What Americans Get Wrong About Africa (The Atlantic)

15 Dec

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the author of books like Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun. In this animated interview, the Nigerian-born author describes coming to America for college and being floored by how little her classmates knew about Africa. “I don’t think stereotypes are problematic because they’re false. That’s too simple,” she says. “Stereotypes are problematic because they’re incomplete.”

Taking Neighborhood Walks

17 Nov
Image source: GuommyBear@23
Image source: GuommyBear@23
Image source: Rob Martin
Image source: SourPatch9876
Image source: Bumble_Bee_1420
Image source: m_n_m71
Image source: Swedish-IKEA12
Image source: @purple_enderman
Image source: A_Random_Person
Image source: NoobM@ster69
Image source: SunspotLF1
Image source: Rob Martin
Year two for the Out of Eden Walk at the American International School of Lusaka (Zambia) produced some nice photos. Here are some that resonated with me, along with two photos I took. For many students, walking around their neighborhood is not something they are accustomed to. These students are grade 6 students in a Middle Years Programme (MYP) in Alta Conte’s classroom. I provided support and gave students tips on how to take a good photo. I also showed them exemplars from my former students at the American International School Chennai (India). The instructions from Out of Eden Learn for this footstep (activity) are below:
As you walk in your neighborhood or local area, take photos of things that catch your attention. What do you see, feel, hear, taste, or smell? Try to look at the place and the people who live or work there with fresh eyes. Here are some ideas for different kinds of photos you can take:
  • Photos that capture a whole neighborhood scene, and photos that zoom in on a detail you find interesting.
  • Photos where you’re pointing the camera up and photos where you’re pointing the camera towards the ground.
  • Photos of things that are common or familiar in your neighborhood, and photos of things that might be unexpected or surprising.
  • Something special that you’d like to share.

Jacaranda Trees in Zambia

26 Sep

Here are some photos I took today on our campus at the American International School of Lusaka (Zambia). I love this time of year when the Jacaranda trees are in bloom. According to Wikipedia, these trees are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Latin America and the Caribbean. They have been planted widely in Asia, especially in Nepal, southern California, Florida, Argentina, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Zambia.

Let’s Explore Zambia

1 Apr

This is a video I recently saw on social media. It was shared by a friend. It highlights the amazing beauty of the country I now call home. Enjoy. 

This is Zambia!

10 Oct


Zambezi River (Photo by Rob Martin)


Elephant on the Zimbabwe side of the river (Photo by Rob Martin)


Elephant on the Zimbabwe side of the river (Photo by Rob Martin)


Victoria Falls, Livingstone – Explore Zambia trip (Photo by Rob Martin)


Victoria Falls (Photo by Rob Martin)


Mountain biking near my school (Photo by Rob Martin)


Where is Zambia? (Photo by Rob Martin)


American International School of Lusaka – The Leopards

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