How would you describe/rate your experience working with the ABV staff in the USA? I always had almost immediate responses to my questions and concerns. I never felt like a pest, even when I had send multiple emails in one day. I found the staff to be very helpful. Some information in the packet was a little off, like I did not have to take things in my left hand (nothing major).
How was the local orphanage staff and the support provided in-country? The first day was the hardest day. We came to the conclusion that the “Monday Blues” is universal. I wasn’t given directions on how to things, until I tried doing things and they were wrong. It was more trial and error. After one day, you start to understand the schedule. Everyday gets better, and you leave there with a ton of friends! As for Kafwa, everyone is extremely inviting. The directions given by staff are easy to follow, and they take great care of you. Great experience from the moment I walked in the door.
What was your favorite memory of this trip? I can’t chose one. My host Family were so much fun. Rachael and I would come home to hugs, and we were always so excited to be home to just hang out with everyone. We all shared so many laughs, and given so much information on politics and culture. Kafwa the kids were all so respectful and sweet. We played so many games, and tried to teach them Simon says. Auntie Rose is an amazing women. She’s stern, but loving. So welcoming and grateful. I went to the prison, and met with 16 mothers and their children (if a child is under the age of 4 the child goes to prison with the mother). These kids have nothing, one mother held up her son and said to me, “You can take him, I am useless.” It shattered my heart. I returned later that week with a care package for each child. It was a good feeling.
What was the most difficult thing you experienced? Getting around. The traveling from one spot to the next was hard. The bus drivers would tell us that they were taking us to the stop we requested, and then would drop us off somewhere else. We would have to get on another bus, or call a Taxi. We were taken advantage of when it came to prices. Getting around was difficult, but it was a part of the experience.
What was the one thing you wished you were better prepared for? The weather. It was actually colder than I expected. I would have packed a lot more pants. Also, at the shopping centers people are dressed like in the US. I felt under dressed in jeans and plain t shirts.
Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc) We bought the most expensive bug spray at Walmart, and didn’t use a drop. If you like Walmart shop at “Game.” We brought a zillion wipes for ourselves, but ended up not using them and donating them. Be prepared to think outside of the box. Try and get activities for the kids, like a movie theater to donate movie tickets. You will want to just give and give, and it is the most rewarding feeling. Check your flight information, you may be able to bring two suite cases, and a carry on. We filled ours with supplies to give to everyone. Be honest to your host Family. They are there to help you, they want to help you. Just be yourself, but remain respectful.
Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial): I love Lusaka. The people there are friendly, and want to meet you. I think everyone should go. Not just because the people and children there need it, because you need it too. It will change your life.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers? Absolutely.
Laura Volunteer Abroad in Zambia, Africa