Mary joined us on our Medical and Community Development Project in Victoria Falls, Zambia back in January 2016. Here she shares her thoughts on the Zambian people and what she misses about Africa!
A friend recently asked me what I missed most about Africa. Despite having many options to choose from (giraffes passing in front of your taxi on your way to dinner, sitting at the top of a waterfall, going on safari in Botswana, pool parties with your fellow volunteers, …), the answer was easy. The people of Livingstone.
I honestly believe the people of Zambia are like none I have met before. They are authentic, kind, and generous in spirit. We would drive down the dirt roads of villages and children would run from their yards to wave hello to the 'muzungus' passing by. During home-based care visits, the children would run up and hold our hands as we walked before peeling off from the group to head back home.
Many times they would sit outside the patients’ house waiting for us to finish our work, singing songs and playing games to pass the minutes. Patients who weren’t feeling well would graciously offer us the only seats they owned as they insisted on sitting on the ground in front of us. One of the most humbling acts was being welcomed inside a patients’ house, their private space, and made to feel at home.
The people of Livingstone exude a joyfulness that is contagious. There would be moments of overwhelming personal sadness as I was seeing the poverty and illnesses in the villages, but that sadness wasn’t mirrored in the Zambians. They laughed, sang, danced, hugged and loved to a point where it was difficult to see the surrounding conditions as clearly as I initially did. That unrelenting spirit of hope and happiness is something I continually attempt to embody and hope to never forget from my time in Zambia.