Life impressions of volunteering in Africa
Life here is comfortable, there are no big spiders, no big lizards and most importantly, no mosquitos. However, there are a lot of smiles, dancing, singing, and long days.
We found out that even Africa can be very, VERY cold! You can wear winter clothes, thick winter socks, and jackets and still be freezing! But we are told that the heat will come with full strength in the middle of August 😀
Whoever told us that we would lose weight during volunteering in Africa is a big liar! Both Sara and Cassandra are already becoming 2 small balloons. We are enjoying the Zambian food, and all the fresh fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, we are experimenting with expanding production in the project’s bakery, trying out new recipes testing them for ourselves 😉
Our Big Projects
Our first month went very fast, with getting to know people, the place and how we could improve it. First, of our 2 projects, was putting up a water-pump for the garden, to ensure enough water for producing vegetables. It has taken us approximately two months, and now we finally see the end of the long tunnel. Honestly, we have spent more than one of the two months waiting…
For the second project, we intended to build a chicken-house, but we found that people had expectations impossible to fulfill. They asked us 12000$ (!!!) to build a chicken house for 300 chicken.
In the end, we were invited into the nearby community, where we found 46 children who didn’t have a preschool. They had their lessons in the local church, with insufficient light and no tables. Due to this, our second project recently changed course, and now we are building a preschool. The parents and other locals are very eager to do the project with us. They are molding bricks, digging out the fundament, and volunteering to build the structure as well. We are short on the budget, but we try to promote the fundraising, so we manage to finish the school.
Our Smaller Projects
Parallel with building the school, because that is something we can only do in our free time, we are making changes in the menu of the school together with the staff within the walls of Children´s Town. We are trying to make them focus on the nutritious values, and helping them to ensure that they are cooking healthy and affordable food for the children, while Peter started to teach and make the own compost for the school by using the food waste from the kitchen.
At the same time, our focus is to help the kids mainly in mathematics, agriculture, and English. We have participated in classes, helped after school, having football training and developed individual clubs, for the ones who are interested in learning more.
Cassandra with her magic hands has been creating teaching aids for the classrooms – drawings, showing pictures from different topics because the students don’t have books themselves. The teaching aids, are mainly for the slower learners, and visual learners and also for preschool and grade 1, to make learning more fun and colorful.
The Biggest Challenge of volunteering in Africa
As Europeans volunteering in Africa, African Time is something that needs getting used to! But it has become a very familiar term for us, and probably also our biggest challenge. However, it has been a great lesson, to realize things need more time and you cannot do much about it. Even though we had heard about African time before, to experience it has been an entirely different thing.
Here is an example: When we need building materials, we have to plan a week before so we can take the project car to Lusaka. When in Lusaka, we need help from someone, to buy the materials, because they overcharge us (Mzungu Price) and sell us the wrong things. It is also tough to make plans with anyone, because “something urgent” always comes up, and they never let us know. Everything is in African time, even when we want to take a bath or do the laundry, the water suddenly is gone. Or we want to cook, but the electricity disappears.
So our message to all of you going to Africa: Pack a lot of patience in your bag! Take a deep breath, count to 10, relax, and don’t give up!
Now we are halfway, it’s weird and wonderful. Next 3 months, we are going to be very busy, trying to finish all our projects before we return home.
Working hard on finishing the school and planning to build two table-tennis tables for the kids. Establish a second garden, just for the kitchen, produce bread and sell from the bakery. Ensure a high pass rate for the grade 7 and 9 exams. That’s a lot but we can manage, and enjoy the last half as much as the first one!
Volunteering in Africa DAPP Children’s Town is a wonderful place mainly because of the people, precisely the children. They have reached our hearts, and we enjoy all the time we spend with them. We are especially close to the “borders” grade 7-9 who also live here. They are the funniest, but most of them have a very painful background, from vulnerable homes or from the streets. It is a very inspiring place to be, where we experience dedication and gratefulness like never before. The African love is more significant than any other. We want to send African love from Zambia to Norway, and remind everyone to be dedicated, grateful, and happy!
PS: You can always help to finish their goal with a DONATION! 🙂