Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The two months spent in Zambia crept by some days, but in the end it went incredibly fast. It is sometimes hard to appreciate the experience enough while living it, so I want to reflect on some of my favorite parts of my trip in hindsight. As someone who is a firm believer in giving back to other people- though often I feel like I don't have much to give- this opportunity was a gift to be able to work with Bridges to Prosperity and Zoe to build something that will last a lifetime and truly change the lives of the communities. Just hearing some of the older people talk about times when they have struggled because of nature's barriers made me feel like I was the face they were associating with hope. As an engineer- it doesn't get more real than that. That was a feeling undeserved but unmatched in my lifetime so far. Living in the African culture sometimes felt similar to home and sometimes felt the world apart that it is, but it made the experience. I will never forget standing up and church and the entire congregation shaking my hand. I will never forget watching the soccer games with people in bare feet kicking a flat ball through the weeds with the same competitiveness as the World Cup. I will never forget walking to get cell phone coverage and holding my phone in the air like the good ole days. I will never forget the people who are often hungry and always poor offering me the food that they cooked for dinner. And finally, I will never forget that uneducated does not always mean unintelligent. Zambia, and specifically people like Charles Shamiyoyo and Chileshe and the Headmistress of the Kamnjoma school, will always hold a special place in my heart.