It has been one long, amazing, fun, crazy week so far. From the 4 days of travel to settling in just last night in what we will call home for the next couple of months. Exhaustion is probably the best word to describe the feelings of the past week. But even though everyone was so tired that we could barely function we still pulled through to have an awesome first week with tons of fun and laughs. We are troopers.
I love Zambia. Simple as that. The people especially. They have so much heart and spirit, so kind and welcoming. You walk and smile and everyone greets you and you stop and chat. I wish Vancouver could be more friendly in a sense of talking to people just to talk rather then just to get what they need and move on. On our scavenger hunt on Saturday we had to learn quickly that our old habits of just asking for directions is not how they do things in Zambia. You introduce yourself and talk about the weather and ask how everyone is doing before finally asking where your going.
I got my first experience of a craaaazy football (soccer) experience. We went to the brand new Zambian stadium where Nkana FC played Power dynamos in the most exciting sports atmosphere I have every been in. We all think us Canucks fans during playoffs are insane, absolutely nothing like the Zambians and their football. Loud and proud. Its practically a religion here.
I just came back from my first day at my organization ASAYI (anti STI & AIDS youth international). My placement sounds amazing. I cannot wait to begin what will be such rewarding work. My main project will be to design their website so they can grow internationally gaining the support necessary to have the funds to complete all the heart filled projects they have in store. Tomorrow I’m going with one of the volunteers to observe one of their main projects right now, which is working in bus stations in Kitwe conducting groups of youth to collect data, educate and hopefully encourage to get tested for HIV/AIDS. Even though they have such big hearts and exceptional goals to achieve they do have their challenges. One thing they wish to improve is their infrastructure. They have a dream of creating it into a community center for youth to escape the streets and have a safe place to hang out, as well as have the supply’s and education necessary to stay HIV free. So as you can see I have quite the 3 months lined up for me, with so many projects I’ll be participating in.
Although I adore Zambia, there are some things that are quite a challenge. We learned very quickly that water doesn’t run all day long. Only in the morning between 6-10am and if your lucky it’ll work for a bit at night. This can be a problem for a household with 9 people and 1 shower. Oh and did I mention it was freezing cold. You have to be able to have a good sense of humor to deal with the mishaps here. If you can’t laugh at all the things that can go wrong and all the super uncomfortable situations then you won’t be very happy. My roommate Keanna and I usually stay up at night just dying laughing of all the things we had to go through during that day.
I’m one week in and I already feel like its been a month. So far so good for no culture shock. But lets see how I’ll feel in a week or two. Shalenipo mukwai (goodbye in bemba)