So – we have just arrived to Zambia one week ago. What a journey it was just to get here! Three flights, 2 overnights, a 1000 kilometer busride and a 45min boatride… But I’m sure the next seven months here will be an even more intense journey!
To be more precise: we are located in the very northern tip of Zambia, right on the coast of lake Tanganyika. This is the second deepest, second oldest and second longest freshwater lake in the world, boasting hundreds of endemic species. The average depth is 570m while at its deepest it is a shocking 1500 meters!
We are volunteering as facilitators at an educational programme called Eventure Zambie. It’s a Danish program and all other volunteers are Danish, which means a lot of language practice for us! As we are yet to figure out our role here in full detail we know that we want to bring on new ideas, hopefully teach some of the skills we are good at and function as a link between the local development team and the volunteers. Who knows – maybe our expedition leader, hiking and outdoor skills will come in handy here?
The project itself consists of two main parts – Northern Star Academy and Eventure Care. Into the academy local youth is selected based on their motivation, aspirations and social skills. It mainly concentrates on youngsters who have had to stop their highschool education due to financial or other reasons (such as pregnancy) but wish to try again and are willing to work hard to gain sponsorship. It is sort of a middle stage between secondary school and high school.
Eventure care is a daycare for small kids from the two neighbouring villages, Katoto and Mbete. Besides fun & play a lot of emphasis is put on hygiene, cultural exchange and learning.
The tutoring in both programs is led by a local development, many of which are previous NSA students themselves. All the volunteers are here to help – whether it is with tutoring, idea generation, innovation, gardenwork, marketing or other.
Besides the luxury of having internet access and the kitchen ladies cooking for everyone for 5 days a week life is really basic here. There are lizards, cockroaches and other crittes crawling on the walls of our hut. There are no warm water showers. No roads, cars, shops around.
But this also means amazing wildlife (snakes, monkeys, lizards, crocodiles, hippos, bats, bushbabies, etc), night skies as clear as we’ve ever seen, amazingly creative and resourceful people and the possibility of being free from the stressful bustle and distractions of the developed world.
So, for now we just settle in and look forward to the summer break being over; already next Tuesday 16 pupils and about 20 kids arrive and it will get heck of a busy!