Volunteering in Zambia for 3months with an ICS charity.
(Be prepared for a long post … This was one crazy experience!)
Straight after graduating University in 2014 I made the bold decision to go to Zambia for 3months on a voluntary placement, funded by Hull University and Restless Development.
After lots of training programmes and meeting some of the group I thought I would be spending the next 3 months with, my bags were packed and I was on my way to the airport, scared, to say the least.
Arriving in Kabwe we were greeted by the Zambian volunteers who we would be working alongside with for the next 3 months. After a week of training it was then that we were informed that actually we would not be living with the other 20 British volunteers we had started to build friendships with, and that we would be split with roughly 2 international, to 2 national volunteers. Myself, Jacob, Maxwell & Blessings were grouped up and told we would be living in a community called Chalata.
So arriving in Chalata and saying goodbye to some of the friends I had made over the past week was when it hit me what I had got myself in for. I was then shown my bedroom (mattress on the floor of a room), bathroom (bucket in a hay shed), and toilet (hole in the ground). Bugs, lizards and creepy crawlies all over.
I would like to say it took a good few weeks to get used to living in the community and experiencing their culture. However, I don’t think I ever fully got used to eating boiled rice or bathing with cold water out of a washing up bowl.
Anyway, I was there for a reason – and I would like to think we made some impact on the community and helped as much as we could.
Our main aim whilst in Chalata was to support those in the local community, by teaching in the local schools, holding an event in the community to raise awareness, running a sexual health clinic, and being there to talk to and help wherever needed.
I would love to be able to say I loved my whole time in Zambia, but the whole experience was just so challenging and there were so many ups and downs. I must say this had nothing to do with the country itself, but more the experience with the organisation.
Some of my highlights of the trip were definitely meeting the children and families in the community, playing games and generally just chatting away. The children were always so keen to hear stories and learn about the English culture. But my all time favourite memory of my time in Zambia; is the local choir singing and dancing in front of everyone who turned up at the event we held. I can still picture them now, such naturally beautiful voices!
I would however, say that I did truly get to experience the Zambian culture living like a local in a rural community – which is an amazing experience in itself.
Here are just a few (from many hundreds) of photos from my time in Zambia…
P.S. If you have any more questions about my time in Zambia, please feel free to leave a comment and ask! Always happy to chat!