Global Leadership Program students blogging their experiences
By Dylan Hackett, News Editor
The nine Douglas students who arrived in the Southern African Republic of Zambia have been actively blogging their experiences in volunteering with various affiliated aid and educational groups. The Global Leadership Program students are participating in three-month internships with aid groups including FINCA International, YMCA Third World Images Project, Play 4 All, and the Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation.
“So far, I’ve helped out in almost every grade, and all the kids are very friendly and curious about me,” blogged Jane Secretaria, MEF intern. “Yesterday, I finished marking grade 1 arithmetic and ended up having a dozen girls all running their fingers through my hair and petting me (including any exposed skin, like my forearms, shins, and calves). I tried to convince them that their hair is so beautiful too, but they weren’t hearin’ any of it.”
While many of the students on the trip have had positive reflections on the humbleness and lack of materialism within the many tribes of Zambia, some accounts of the impact of the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic have also affected the outlook of the interning students including Keanna Driedger, working with the Community Home Based Care Initiative in Kitwe.
[quote style=”boxed”]The students also visited neighbouring country Botswana and its famed Chobe National Park, an area which is claimed to have one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in the whole of Africa.[/quote]
“The thing that hurts me the most is when I’m doing data entry and I can see names of women who are my age, HIV positive and pregnant with babies,” wrote Driedger. “I can’t even imagine being in that position right now, but all the Zambian woman I’ve met are unbelievably strong and are able to rise to any challenge.”
The students also visited neighbouring country Botswana and its famed Chobe National Park, an area which is claimed to have one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in the whole of Africa.
Emma Hughes, YMCA intern, provided an insightful account of the safari at Chobe.
“As we drove into the park a family of Baboons crossed the street right next to our car,” wrote Hughes. “About a third of the way into our safari we turned a corner and noticed vultures circling overhead along with an incredibly horrible stench. It was a dead elephant.
“The entire elephant family, babies and elderly alike, stood silently beside the body warding off the vultures. Lions were stalking nearby in the bush waiting for the family to leave. Eventually the family of elephants decided to leave, with one last stroke of their trunk across the body they left in a silent procession in front of our jeep.”
The students return to Canada in August. Their blogs can be read at www.douglife.ca/zambia-blog-2012.