Kelsey, an African Impact team member’s experience at the volunteer programs in Livingstone, Zambia.
As I flew into Livingstone, I caught a glimpse of the mighty Victoria Falls from a distance and I knew I was in for an epic adventure!
I was welcomed with open arms by the African Impact and Livingstone community and even treated to one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen over the Zambezi River. I was lucky enough to experience a variety of different programs offered by African Impact, which allowed me to get involved in the different aspects of the community.
I haven’t been able to choose a favourite program, but I have been able to choose my favourite part of each program…
One of the most popular programs is the Medical and Community Development program. As you walk through the community with the Local Community Liaison and the Volunteer Coordinator, you get the chance to experience everyday life and gain a greater understanding of your surroundings. My favourite aspect of this program is that you can see the immediate progress being made as you check in with the same patients every week. You see that their wounds are healing, knowing that this has a profound impact on their everyday life.
As I spent two years teaching English in South-East Asia, I was particularly excited to participate in the Teaching and Community Development Program, and it didn’t disappoint! We assisted in Libuyu Community School with Pratti who is one of the most dedicated teachers I have ever met. We provided one-on-one support to students struggling with Maths and English. My favourite aspect of this program was watching a student’s face light up when they finally understood something they were struggling with.
As a woman, I was very excited to participate in our Girl Empowerment program. The program mainly works with two women’s groups who have started their own small business ventures and several boys and girls’ groups. My favourite aspect of this program was listening to all the dreams and ambitions of the young girls and realising that I am contributing to them achieving their goals, even though their circumstances sometimes count against them.
The Sports and Community Development program was one of the most fun programs. As Physical Education isn’t a part of the Zambian education system, the kids absolutely love the sports sessions we provide. My favourite part of this program was watching the shy kids I met in class find their voice through team sports.
As someone who is interested in living more responsibly, I was eager to participate in the Environmental and Community Development program. It aims to change the community’s approach to plastic use and conserving their environment, which is vital to their livelihood. I had the chance to help build a home team bench next to a football field out of eco-bricks, which was painted beautifully to add some colour to the venue. My favourite part of this program was seeing the kids using one of the benches we built under a tree to read in the shade.
This trip reminded me of why Africa has such a special place in my heart and always will. It reminded me that happiness is derived from your relationships with people and less from the material items you own. I’ve made numerous local and international friends from across the world who added so much value to my experience – I definitely have plans to visit them in the future. I can’t wait to return to Livingstone and see all the progress that has been made by the community and the African Impact team!