On Monday I was able to move into the volunteer house and learn more about what I would be doing for the next month. I met my roommates: Lena from Sweden, Maria from Sweden, and Florence from Belgium. There were volunteers from all over the world, Australia, the UK, the States, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, Netherlands, Norway...everywhere! It was like getting to travel all over the world at one time. We would sit and talk about the differences in cultures, by the way, apparently PBJ's seem weird to everyone but us and people in Europe eat baked beans on toast for breakfast.
The first two days were orientation. We were given information on local safety, traditions, and etiquette as well as instructions for the schedule and getting everything assembled each day for our respective projects. The third day, myself and the other medical volunteers set off for morning projects. Some were taken to various clinics and some were whisked off to different villages for home-based care. I was sent to Libuyu Clinic. At the clinic, we took vitals, weighed babies, filled prescriptions, and kept the books.
At 11:00 the bus came to pick us up and take us back to the house for lunch. After lunch, we got the supplies together that we wanted to use for our afternoon projects. Paints and brushes for Art Club, jump ropes and balls for After school, books and letter flashcards for reading club...I LOVED afternoon projects! The consisted mainly of after-school clubs for the kids. Math Club with the 7th grade boys was my favorite. It is so rewarding to teach a concept that no one seems to be grasping, and then all of a sudden you explain it a certain way and it clicks. The kids there are so eager to learn. They are so happy, despite having nothing. It changes you. Things that you would normally complain and fuss about at home, don't seem like such a big deal after being in Zambia.
I haven't told anyone about this because it makes me too emotional, but one day, while I was volunteering at one of the clinics, I was playing with a precious little 4 year old boy. His father walked up to me and asked where I was from. When I told him I was from the U.S. he said "Please take my son back with you so he can have a good life...Please" I went back to volunteer house that afternoon and cried. It was the hardest thing I experienced while I was there.
The children in Zambia are so sweet and friendly. They call us Muzungus (white people). When we would arrive at the school they would run up shouting "Muzungu! Muzungu! How are you?" and hug you, and hold your hands. When the volunteer bus would drive down the road the children would skip behind it and sing the "Muzungu Bus song."
4 years ago