We arrived to DAPP Ndola, Zambia, at the end of February 2017.
Travel period will prepare you for a lot of things, but what awaited us wasn't one of them! :-)
Right after the arrival day, we dived head-first to the social life.
Our arrival was so carefully placed by the Mighty Random that we met all our teams from CICD in just 2 days. That wasn't enough though! – Two days after, a team from far away, from a partner school in USA, has arrived; and our colleagues from Norwegian school (stranded in Zambia because of the flooded roads) came as an unexpected surprise at one of the evenings.
Six teams and 18 people in one place – that's what I call Full House! :-)
After the brief introduction to the headquarters of DAPP Zambia, we got the name of our project – ZamFam for South-Central region. Then we followed the bumpy road to a small lovely town called Mazabuka, where our project is based.
The name of the project - ZamFam - stands for "Zambia Family" and the goals are to improve the situation of families in need. The activities a really rich - from monitoring of orphans, through helping the schools, to supporting families by donating seeds and legumes for farming.
Our task in ZamFam would be organizing and improving Kids' and Youth Clubs, which provide out-of-school alternative education...
As we arrived right in between of 2 months, the provincial meeting of ZamFam was held on, and we attended the 2-days event.
Our first task was to make a presentation about our school and our programme, the task we achieved very easily, as we had lots and lots of photos and stories from the freshly ended Travel period.
The next days we spent by struggling to memorize all the names and positions of our new colleagues from Mazabuka; and by participating in our first practical assignment – visiting a Savings Group in Ndeke compound.
Our Project Leader from ZamFam explained us that Savings Groups are cooperations between villagers, when they collect an agreed amount of money from every member every week and then a member in need can take a loan from the Group and re-pay it later.
Cooperation like this helps villagers to overcome the hard times, or to obtain new equipment to develop farming or small businesses.
The favorite activity in the free time in the project is – socializing with children! Children are everywhere!
Wherever you go, they follow you and always seem to be swarming out of nowhere! :-)
Project's focus are OVC's (orphaned and vulnerable children), so we met a lot of the kids who desperately need adult's attention.
We encounter them all over the place – in the project, in the communities, schools, even in the street where we live.
We are trying to help them in every way we can. – How happy they are when you can give them even such a simple thing as a drawing chalk!
One of the very interesting events in past month was also connected to children.
It was the Youth Day celebration, where DAPP participated with a presentation tent.
Squads of young artists, dancers and performers showed their talents to the mayor of the town and to the many guests.
Even though program in the project can be full, it's also important to socialize with the folk in your free time and as such use as much time as possible to know the local people, while you are in the project.
African people are very religious, so it's ever logical that the best place to make friends is a church.
The sessions aren't only about praying and worshiping – the churches are important places of social events, concerts and public discussions.
In one of them, the New Apostolic church, we were happy to meet a choir of young people and their talented directors.
The church also has a school and its own programme to help vulnerable children.
One of the Sundays we visited a family (single mother and son) cared by the church, and I'm looking forward to know more about the programme...
The tasks in the project aren't always about going to the field. Sometimes it's about office chores too. In the last few days we were helping ZamFam to sort the forms from the previous months. The task is a bit monotonous, but only until you realize that behind all those forms are real children and knowing their situation (their data) is essential to help them!
Besides, even in the office you can have a lot of fun too – the mood and the stories, which our local colleagues tell us, are just amazing! :-)
Time in Africa passes in different speed. Even though there is no haste, our first month in the project passed very quickly.
Yet we are full of energy and determination and truly looking forward to what the following months will bring to us!
Article by Pavel Kostelei, 24-months Team Fighting with the Poor (Feb. 2016)