LearnServe AbroadZambiaZambia '11

Safe and Sound in Zambia

Friday, June 24, 2011

Please understand groups have a mind of their own. Our group finally made it to Lusaka, our Zambian homebase, with nothing more extreme than a funny story here and there. Everyone had a great attitude, showed amazing patience, and were overall rock stars on the 24-hour odyssey.

Here’s 24 hours in our “typical” journey from Dulles to Lusaka:

9:00 AM Arrive at Dulles Airport bright eyed and ready to wait

11:00 AM Begin boarding Ethiopian Air for our direct flight to Addis Ababa

12 PM Depart for Addis Ababa

12:30 AM Arrive in Addis Ababa (this was actually 7:30 AM in Addis). Change gates, layover take a bus to a new plane, change planes.

2:30 AM Depart Ethiopia Air for Harare, Zimbabwe

7:00 AM Land in Harare, wait on plane, take off for Lusaka

8:00 AM Land in Lusaka, Zambia (this is actually 2 PM in Zambia), deboard, go through customs, collect bags (no bags were lost or damaged!), find Gaby.

9:00 AM Take a bus (or cab if you are lucky) to Juls Guest House and get ready for an amazing experience.

(Topher Kandik)

We finally made it to Zambia after spending over 24 hours in multiple airports and on multiple planes. On the first flight I sat by Bryon and an Ethopian man named Mele. It was nice talking to him at first but then he never stopped. And while we had a talkative person, Kylie and Sam had a rude lady. Kylie said that the lady spilled her drink on her and told her “you”ll survive,” then she used her napkin to wipe her mouth instead of giving it to Kylie. Kylie ended up having to ask me for a napkin.

Nadja and I had a horrible experience trying to use the restrooms in the airport at Addis Ababa. The bathroom was all the way on the other side of the building. In addition to that the line was extrememly long because the bathroom was only three stalls. Finally we both made it to a stall and noticed too late that NEITHER OF OUR STALLS HAD TOILET PAPER! We both asked someone to give us some toliet paper, and a lady gives us one travel size tissue. We both said thank you went to go wash our hands with the little bit of soap the bathroom had.

After all of that we settled into Juls Guesthouse around 5:00 pm. After that the boys played with footballs and soccer balls outside, while the girls talked inside. Our first dinner was good. The ladies who work at the guesthouse prepared it for us. We had rice, chicken, beef, and vegetables. We were told that we should be drinking 2 liters of water a day. We also wrote in our journals today and talked about our do’s and dont’s for riding on planes. Tomorrow we will be going to the market and some of us will be going grocery shopping.

(Brittney Bowles)

Top Ten Dos and Don’ts of Travelling to Zambia from Washington, DC

(tips for next years travellers inspired by Sam’s Glamour Magazine reading in the Addis Airport)


1. Get up and explore on the plane–you never know who you might meet.

2. Take brief walks to meet others in different parts of the plane–it might come in handy if you need to swap seats.

3. Bring your own entertainment (an e-reader and/or and MP3 player is helpful)–don’t rely on the in flight entertainment to be awesome.

4. Expect to hear one (or more) crying babies.

5. Be openminded. Be ready for ANY experience.

6. Expect to be asked for money in exchange for carrying your bags outside the airport at Lousaka. Be polite when you tell them no.

7. Make sure there is toilet paper in the stall before you use the bathroom (see Brittney’s post on 6/24)

8. Keep checking on status of flight during any layover.

9. Talk to those around you, but do it respectfully.

10. Bring snacks to supplement the food (that “was beef” but may not necessarily still be).

11. Be ready to talk about LearnServe International…everyone asks because of the t-shirts. And they love to hear our plans!


1. Spill your drink on your neighbor and then be rude about it!

2. Fall asleep with your mouth open–at least when Jeremy has his camera ready.

3. Start a converstation until the very end of the flight so that you are not obligated to talk the whole time.

4. Get locked in your new room with no way to get out until your roommate returns.

5. Overwhelm the touchscreen of your in flight entertainment–you’ll be frozen on a still screen of a pool game for the final 8 hours of the flight like Nadja.

6. Pack necessary medicines in your checked bags like Jon.

7. Sleep on the aisle–you WILL get pummeled by the food cart. BEEF OR FISH! BEEF OR FISH!

8. Expect the same physical boundaries that we respect in the US when flying with a majority of travellers from another culture.

9. Repeatedly kick the seat in front of you THROUGHOUT THE DURATION of a long flight.

10. Go to sleep when they are about to serve food…especially when you are anxious about flying in the first place like Jerome.

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