I have left South Korea! 안녕히 계세요!
Departing from Seoul on March 3, 2018 I hopped on a plane, had a quick layover (and Burger King meal.. omgzzzz burgers and iced tea, I’ve missed you!) in Singapore, then Joburg, and before I knew it I was breathing in the sweet air of Livingstone, Zambia. Woo! Or as I actually said when I landed, “holy shit I’m in Africa.”
Before settling back home in Canada, I wanted to go on one last adventure. A few months before my departure I researched volunteer opportunities within Africa and came across African Impact’s Girls Impact program in Livingstone, Zambia. What attracted me to this particular program was the fact that I could get my hands dirty and be immersed within a community that invests in adolescent girls. The Girl Impact initiative works with girls, boys, and women by hosting classes and workshops that range in topics from health, female health, safety, making a living, and self-confidence.
The workshops I worked on specifically tackled subjects such as teamwork, leadership, hygiene, HIV/AIDS, and how to build a business within the community. We also worked with elementary school boys and had a class about respect, which surprised me the most since the boys were knowledgable and mature about having important conversations about consent and HIV/AIDS. They were interactive and didn’t giggle when the word “sex” was spoken, like most boys (and girls, including me) would at their age. It was a great workshop and I was left thoroughly proud and impressed.
No matter the workshop topic, we always made it as interactive and as fun as possible, I mean, kids are still kids, right?
The best part of going to a new place? TRYING OUT THE FOOD! Muli bwanji nshima!
Nshima to Zambia is like rice to China or potatoes to Ireland. It’s a staple food they eat every day made from cornmeal and served with a vegetable, tomato sauce, and eaten with your hands. Nshima itself has no particular taste (quite like rice and potatoes) but when you mix it with the veggies and sauce, it’s a hearty, fulfilling meal.
You can’t go to Zambia and not run into exotic, wild animals. You can simply walk down to the Zambezi river and watch zebras crossing the street or hippos swimming in the water. But, don’t get too close. Believe it or not, hippos are the animals that kill the most people each year in Zambia. They may be cute, but they’re aggressive AF. If you squint, you can see their noses from the water in the photo below.
On March 8, 2018 it was International Women’s Day! A day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women in Zambia (and around the world!). Although, I believe we don’t necessarily NEED a specific day to celebrate women, but I will always say “YES” when it comes to marching on the streets alongside nurses, pilots, teachers, mothers, and daughters of the community.
The African Impact team got together and created a banner for the march that read, “TIME IS NOW NOW!” The extra “now” is commonly used in Zambia because if you simply say you want something done “now” it will be done, eventually. But if you say you want something done “now now” it means you want it done right away.
One of my favourite days in Zambia was the morning we went to work at the local farm. We grabbed a couple slashers/hoes and pulled out okra plants, cut down corn stalks, and kept an eye out for wild crocs. No crocs were sighted, thankfully. I don’t even know what you’d do if you saw a wild croc.. like.. hop on the back? Close its mouth? Pose for a selfie?
The children in the area were the best! They were social, playful, and even taught me how to do flips with no hands! Well, they didn’t teach me HOW to do it since I knew I would break my neck, but I watched them teach me. They were incredible!
From the hostel I stayed in, the food I ate, and the people I met, it can all be seen in the vlog below. *sigh* I miss it all already.