The #ZamFam19 team return home...
Our #ZamFam19 team has returned home after their 10-day adventure. Here Kelly reflects on the trip and what it meant to her...
When you think of Zambia, you think of the environment, the climate and the cultural differences. As a result, we assume that as people we will also be worlds apart, but that’s not true. Zambia really reminded me of the power of human connection and that we are always more alike than we are different.
I think when we set off, everyone in the team expected we’d become close as a group. I don’t think anyone prepared themselves for just how intensely we’d connect with the locals too – personalities that captured my heart, conversations that shifted my perspective, laughter that hurt my belly and goodbyes that brought me to tears.
Conversations round the campfire, with one of the locals named Jones, made me realise that our differences often come down to resource. Jones and I realised that no matter where you are in the world, human behaviour is the same. But when people lack resources they go into survival mode. When your only goal is to survive and make ends meet, your ability to dream bigger than your circumstance is often diminished.
Revisiting the Bissell School, showed how the right resources can create hope again.
When you provide resource – the chance to have an education and a safe environment – you give people the opportunity to see life beyond surviving. As we listened to the children reciting their poems on child abuse and HIV awareness, our tears were a result of us being reminded that this building provided a place for change. It empowered the next generation and brought a community together.
As we pulled up to our camp having canoed down the Zambezi River, it quickly became nightfall. We all gathered round our main tour guide, CB, who taught us about the stars. As he pointed out each constellation, we listened intently. When asked how he came to know so much, he described how 15 years ago he was gifted a small Collins book on stargazing. He had memorised the book from cover to cover, passing it round to over 20 of his friends. One small book impacted so many lives, from the guides he taught, to the visitors he meets year after year.
This gratitude for learning and resources struck me and remained with me for the rest of the trip. It’s what caused a lump in my throat when by the bonfire, one night, an artist named Franny shared some of the things he had learned about the world. His passion for learning made me think about all the resources available to me. He knew far more than me about the world, even though he had never left Zambia.
As I reflected on my life back in London, I realised that I didn’t miss all the ‘things’ that filled my home. And instead of insensately focusing on how much they lack, those we met in Zambia are grateful for what they do have. The goods of the earth are distributed unequally, but our worth as individuals is the same.
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Arriving in Zambia
13 Jun 2017
Giraffes, Batman & a bit of elbow grease
13 Jun 2017
Teaching, goat meat & football
13 Jun 2017