I went to Zambia this summer with my school and a professor and we explored the political, cultural, and economic aspects of a less developed nation, Zambia. I had an amazing time and I learned so much! The people were absolutely amazing, and I miss them all so much. Nali ku tumwa Zambie!
For the past couple days we have been working with an organization called Corners of Hope who advocate STI awareness and push for safer sex practices. One of the days we were sent out into the community and was involved in a community outreach discussion group. Everyone contributed to the conversation about safe sex practices. IT was awesome to see how much the community was engaged in the conversation and wanted to learn about living a healthier life with their sex partners. A lot of what Zambia experiences, due to cultural practices and lack of sex-education, are many STI infections including HIV. Zambia has one of the highest concentrations of HIV and AIDS in the world, so an organization like this is extremely important and effective. This is an organization that understands their community and thus can communicate with them in a way that is best understood in their culture. This was truly one of the most successful organizations we have worked with. By changing the minds of those affected by STIs/HIV it can help create a healthier environment for everyone. They also do free street performances and theatre that draws in huge public crowds which is perfect for being able to spread awareness! In their performances they incorporate traditional Zambian dances as well as knowledge about living a healthier sex life. It was so cool! Everyone has engaged and it was one of the most effective tools I have seen work here. I would love to come back to Zambia and work with this organization again. Who knows, maybe I will star in one of their street performances!
I have learned a lot since I have been here in Zambia. The culture, socio-economic conditions, and so much more all contribute to the formation of Zambia. Meeting the Zambian students and being able to know them through out these two weeks has been amazing. I was able to ask questions to them, as well as learn more about their way of life. They also asked me questions in order for them to understand my culture. When I was it was a privilege knowing the, I mean that it was nice having known people around my age and learn their informal opinions and behavior. The lectures and speeches in class were interesting too. But there is something about an informal situation, and immersing myself in a culture that really shows me and teaches me life outside my own perspectives. Working with outreach organizations life Friends of the Street Children is one of my most favorable moments here. To have the opportunity to know these displaced children and be able to make them smile for a couple hours brought out genuine emotions in me. I sympathized with the children, something I don’t do very easily. I loved the children and I saw the joy that brought them knowing there are people out there who are willing to care and love for them. I learned from the children on an emotional level I can barely describe but could not get anywhere else. Also, the AIDS clinic we visited was an interesting experience for me. I want to be a doctor and work as an AIDS physician for underdeveloped nations, so to see first hand how a clinic is run further pushed my passions to want to help those who desperately need help. My experiences thus far are some I will never forget. And as I reach my goals, these moments here will push my motivation and allow me to achieve what I was sent out to do: help those who need it most, no matter where in the world they may be.
Today was the most relaxing day thus far. We had a great night before, I was able to sleep in somewhat, and we had a beautiful picnic by the lake! :)
The food was amazing! The best meal I have had all trip. We were able to go out into the water with some of the Zambian students (Mildred, Hope, Phil, and Zigani). They are honestly some of the coolest people I have ever met. I wish they did live with me back in the states because we would for sure hang out!
I was able to go to mass, a real African mass, earlier that day. People were rejoicing in song and of love in the name of God. It really contracts with Western-Hemisphere Catholic mass because here they are singing and celebrating their God, while the masses I have been too back home are quite and fearful of your God. The cultures definitely clash here, which was really interesting to experience.
I love the African Spirituality! So beautiful, and so welcoming. I wish we had more of that at USF hahaa :P