In the end of January our Poverty Activist team is travelling to join DAPP Zambia for 6 months as volunteers - in the ZAMFAM (Zambian Families) projects run by our partner DAPP (Development Aid for People to People) and prevention of malaria and diarrhoea, and in a boarding school for young adults in Nakambala.
Before they left they wrote down some thoughts and expectations - and some advice! - to share with you, while getting ready to continue on this new and fantastic experience....
Carla Barrado, Spain
I am Spanish and I am 24 years old. I have been at CICD since March, I was raising my Gaia scholarship to pay for the program and in August I started the adventure that would take me to this day.
I go, together with my partner Agustina, to the south of Zambia (Nakambala-Mazabuka) to do the service period. Our job there will be to offer activities to occupy free time and leisure in a healthy, fun and practical way for everyday life, from programming sports activities, to building a small urban garden, through emotional workshops, for example.
We consider this important to avoid a conflictive or drug-related lifestyle.
My advice for you?
To be able to live this type of experiences you need to let go, gain from living the moment, be charged with energy and have a hope to do some good in this world and contribute your grain of sand.
I have learned to live with people from different parts of the world and different ages, and I have improved to control my own thoughts and think before about the impact they will have and to give space to other people to be able to give their opinion.
I feel very happy and fortunate with this opportunity that came before me and I did not hesitate to choose it and follow the path.
Lucy Mazera, Brazil
Zambia I am going!
We live in a precarious situation of subordination under the capital and the market order.
As a consequence, it is very difficult to realise social rights, especially in poorer countries.
CICD provided me the opportunity for Activism, especially in the work we will do in Africa, as it has in its essence a work focussing on practice, people's daily lives and the possibility of interaction between action and knowledge.
This whole process is a major personal and professional challenge.
This experience makes us leave our comfort zone in search of continuous growth and especially the opportunity to know a new culture. I believe the most beautiful in any country is its people, so I really want to know them.
What is needed to take to Africa? An open mind, resilience, affection, empathy and willingness to do positive actions for the population.
Gloria Fontan, Argentina
My dear friend:
Training time is over. Finally we are going to Africa.
Today I just want to tell you that it has been a very hard time, especially because of the weather… but anyway this weather makes the landscape always green and full of different colours in each season. This place is beautiful as well: big trees, flowers, smells, the grass is wet in the morning, lots of birds singing close to my windows, squirrels, rabbits, deer running away…. And spiders also, but they are very friendly.
I know you are thinking about to come for a long time, may be for months. You cannot decide because there are something that you cannot see so clear.
I understand you completely, because I had the same doubts.
But … you know, here you have the opportunity to learn more than you ever imagined, more than what the books teach.
For sure the main goal is to be prepared to fight against the poverty and prevent disease. But here I learned how to be patient, to be tolerant, how to accept that people is different, because they have different background, different cultures, different temperaments. All that enriched me a lot.
It was very nice, because I don’t need to fill a CV - I just need to be better.
You will be part of a team working shoulder to shoulder, as I did.
As we started planning, I could see Africa closer and closer.
I didn’t tell you that we are going to Zambia, one of the poorest countries in southern Africa.
If you're still thinking, don't do it any more - let yourself go, let it flow.
I have to leave you at the moment, I still have luggage to prepare, I will carry light luggage but full of hopes and expectations.
Let's stay in contact. All the best!
Maria Fuerte, Spain
Thank you! Now we are going!
We are in the final stretch that has many curves.
In 4 days we will take the flight to ZAMBIA.
I arrived here at CICD on May 17, 2019 and that day, the adventure began...
I got the opportunity to be in the Gaia scholarship team, to raise my course fees.
It was a period with very good company, it was a very dynamic and fun way to learn new skills.
The work seemed simple. I had a list of postal codes with clothing banks, to which I had to go to empty and collect the clothes inside: make sure that it was put in bags, separate the garbage, brick a brac, and the wet clothes to make higher quality capsacks (a capsack is a biiiig bag with the smaller clothing’s bags inside) and save time with packing.
Sometimes the weather conditions are not the most favourable, we all know that here in England the sun does not rise much...but having the opportunity to meet the people of northern England, and fill yourself with experiences is a great motivation.
Today I think that being a collector makes you something like a 4x4 person, it prepares for you all kinds of situations that empower your skills and feel like continuing to learn.
But during this period although most of the time is focused on the activities to raise your scholarship, you also have classes every day in which you start to open your mind to new ideas, to new knowledge that I didn’t have the opportunity of if not being here...
I think that today the vast majority of us know that the world is not really as it is described trough a TV that you have as room furniture...
You learn that there are new ways of living, and that there is more inequality and injustices in the world than those that we know of in Europe.
In this period, you also learn the importance of cooperation, coexistence, empathy, solidarity and that working together will take you further than if you go alone, because you will always have someone with whom to share your burden and make it lighter overcoming the challenges.
I honestly believe that the Gaia period is the most important here, because if teaches you the responsibility of taking charge of your actions, of understanding how things work and especially of feeling proud of yourself about how to get out of your comfort zone.
Something that also seem to me of special importance is that even if you have a broken English everyone collaborated in the community, both in cleaning, as in the preparation of food, as in washing dishes and running the school. Sounds elementary Watson, but it’s a great opportunity to acquire responsibility and also a great challenge.
I guess that without a doubt this has been the greatest experience of my life, where I have learned more about the reality that surrounds me, I would choose this path a thousand times.
Thank you CICD!
Agustina Bastias, Chile
Dear future Development Instructor:
My name is Agustina and I am part of the August Development Instructor team in CICD, so in a few more days I will travel to Zambia to work in a boarding school for children with difficult backgrounds, located in the town of Mazabuka, in the south of the country.
My trip has been quite long since I come from Chile, but each time spent fulfilling this dream has been worthwhile and has given me endless personal and professional learning. 2 years ago I set the goal of coming to CICD to contribute to the development of a more sustainable and fair world, here I have learned how important it is to limit my ambitions and start by changing things in my own lifestyle and open the eyes to see different things that are happening around me.
Starting from that, we can create new ideas and generate small actions that allow others to build a new way of doing the things. But, overall, my biggest learning has been to understand the relevance of focusing on what we can do today to feel better about ourselves and, thus, be facilitators of a change in the lives of others.
These lessons have allowed me to focus on my development and take care of my physical and emotional wounds in order that during the next period I can accompany others in their processes of healing and personal reconstruction. This is why I feel prepared for what is coming; excited by the adventure that lies ahead and the challenges that Zambia has prepared for me. But most importantly, I feel open to new possibilities, changes and learning.
What could I advise to the new Development Instructors?
Each one of us have dreams, ambitions and expectations, I would invite you to release them and give yourself the opportunity to look at yout virtues and wounds and become your own project. I believe that only when we are able to talk to ourselves honestly and listen to ourselves with love, we will be able to look at others and understand how to accompany them for a period in their lives.