I hope you are all doing well in the States because we are doing wonderful here, in Zambia, Africa. Our experiences here Zambia have been unforgetable and, certainly, irreplacable. Working with the kids, tasting foriegn cuisines, TRAVELING over Zambia, and seeing and experiencing a different culture and way of life are all what makes this trip so special. However, realizing that we are all people with similar hopes, dreams, likes, dislikes, wants, needs, and, generally, charactiristics is what really defines this trip.
Today was our first day interacting with the school kids, and some of the teachers and teacher assistants, at the Chikumbuso Community Center. Today was Chikimbuso’s Activity Day. Each of the children would be placed into different groups, by grade, and would rotate to each activity, whether the activity be an indoor or feild activity. Each of us, in the LearnServe Zambia group would proctor an activity; for example facepainting, soccer, cardgames, etc. It was fun, but also intersting, seeing the kids’ interactions between themselves and their interactions with us, the proctors of the activity. Maya and I proctored relay races. I have to admit, it was very slow and tedious at the beginning, working with the smaller kids and trying to break the language barrier. Even trying to keep their interest was a major struggle. But as the day continued, we started to work with the older kids, which, became significantly easier; especially, since we combined groups with Jeremy and K.P. to play a large game of soccer. I am not sure if the day became easier and more fun because the kids were older or because we combined our groups, but by the end of the day I really enjoyed myself and had a great time working with the kids. The best part of my day was screaming “Wuele!,” or “Goal!,” with the kids as one of our teamates scored a goal. The look of joy, happiness, accomplishment, and even acceptance took my breath away each time. Their passion for the small, and seemingly insignificant, little game of soccer was so genuine and legitimate. Sharing such a feeling was absolutely wonderful, and allowing myself to connect with these kids on an emotional, and even personal, level is very uplifiting and even fulfilling.
No, soccer is not my favorite sport, but when I play soccer with these kids it is more than a sport, it is a shared passion and joy. Before we start the game, our ultimate goal is to win and score as many goals as possible. But when the game has started and the ball is first touched, we do not only aspire to score as many goals as possible, but to score that goal as one team, celebrate as one team, and play as one team. Being with these kids, playing and working with them, shows me how similar they are to me. Yes, we might live a little differently, eat a little differently, or speak differnent languages; however, we all live here, in this planet called Earth as human beings. Let us not only seek the future, but look at our past as well. Let us not only look to 1973 where you might have been born, or 1850 where your great great grandparents were living out west. Let us look to the beginning of time, Africa, where we all became humans born on Planet Earth, where we had similar aspirations of achievement, well-being, and pure happiness. We are all humans, nothing less, and this trip has really highlighted this simple sentence. As we continue our journey, and as I talk to another person, I experience this statement constantly and it has not yet proven to be wrong. So, as I close this blog, remember there are more of us, humans, around the world who are quite similar to us in the States. We, the world, are more than just America.
Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MA! I miss you and I hope you had, or have (in American time), a wonderful BIRTHDAY!!!! Love you!