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Volunteering in Zambia: a transformative experience

Banner-Adrians-experience Together, we can work towards a brighter, more equitable future for all.

By Adrian Alvarez Valenzuela, Poverty Activist team 2022

My arrival in Zambia was through the Endola International Airport. From the moment I landed, I was struck by the natural beauty of the country. The view of the mountains and the green plains on the horizon was impressive, and the warm breeze blowing made me feel truly comforted.
After a long journey, I finally arrived in Mkushi, a small town in the center of Zambia. The people here are extremely welcoming and friendly, and they received me with open arms. I could quickly see that the Mkushi community takes pride in its culture and traditions.
The landscape of the region is impressive, with large expanses of rolling green land that stretched as far as the eye could see. I also got to see the lives of local farmers, who work hard in the fields to harvest crops.

Experiencing the community, kindness and hospitality


But what really left a lasting impression on me was the kindness and hospitality of the people of Mkushi. I had the opportunity to meet many locals who were eager to share their stories and experiences with me. I was inspired by their dedication and love for their community, and I realized how important human connection is anywhere in the world.
Additionally, I got to experience the local music, dance, and art of the region. Traditional dances and live music are truly infectious. I also visited the local market, where I got to see crafts and taste delicious food from the region.
As a volunteer in Zambia, one of the things that has impressed me a lot is the incredible resilience of the people of this country, especially the children. They often face incredibly difficult challenges, such as lack of access to nutritious food and clean water, extreme poverty, and lack of access to quality education. However, despite these adversities, they always maintain a positive attitude and are willing to work hard to improve their lives.
As a volunteer, I have had the opportunity to work closely with the local community and traditional leaders to identify the greatest challenges facing children in the region and to develop sustainable solutions that can help address these issues in the long term.

The resilience of the people here, especially the children, has impressed me a lot.

The resilience of the people here, especially the children, has impressed me a lot.

We have been working on building two hostels (for girls and boys)

We have been working on building two hostels (for girls and boys)

Many children have to walk very long distances to get to school

Many children have to walk very long distances to get to school

Lack of access to education - a huge challenge


One of the biggest challenges we have identified is the lack of access to quality education. Many children have to walk very long distances to get to school, exposing them to dangers such as lack of road signage, high temperatures and rainfall, risk of kidnapping or sexual abuse, among others. Additionally, many children have to deal with gender discrimination, which limits their ability to attend school and receive proper education.
To address these challenges, we have been working on building two hostels (for girls and boys) at the Munsakamba Combined School. These hostels will provide a safe and supervised environment for students to live and study, allowing them to focus on their education without having to worry about the distance and dangers of the road to school.


Another major challenge we face in our work as volunteers in Zambia is that many children in this community do not have access to nutritious food and clean water, which can lead to health and nutrition problems. That is why one of our most important initiatives is to provide a meal service at the school.
As we work closely with the community to address these challenges, I have witnessed the importance of sustainability in our solutions. It's not just about providing temporary aid, but about working together to develop long-term plans that can improve the quality of life for everyone in the community.
Often, after finishing the work required in the project, we walk back with the school children. It's a long and exhausting journey, but we do it together, laughing and talking as we make our way to the school.

Staying positive under difficult circumstances


During my time in Zambia, I have learned that education is the key to the development and progress of the community. However, many children here do not have access to proper education due to lack of resources and the distance they must travel to get to school.
Despite the challenges they face, people here in Zambia never lose their ability to be happy and to find joy in the simple things of life. I am also surprised by their dedication and commitment to their education. They are willing to walk long distances and face many obstacles in order to have access to an adequate education.

Working as a volunteer in Zambia has been a transformative experience for me. It has made me appreciate the importance of community, the power of resilience, and the beauty of human connection. I have learned so much from the people I have met here and have been inspired by their strength and determination.
Although there is still much work to be done, I am grateful for the progress we have made so far. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the children as they learn and grow fills me with hope and optimism for the future.
As my time in Zambia comes to an end, I know that I will carry the memories and lessons I have learned with me for the rest of my life. I am grateful for the opportunity to have made a difference in the lives of others and to have been a part of this incredible community.
I hope that others will be inspired to get involved and make a difference in their own way, whether it be through volunteering or simply spreading awareness of the challenges facing communities like those in Zambia. Together, we can work towards a brighter, more equitable future for all.

Here is the link for Adrians website with stories, pictures, videos and interviews: https://adalva30.wixsite.com/-volunteering-in-zam

Still with my desire and my energy in the suitcase...
People's Exam: The Forces that run the World
 

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Friday, 17 May 2024