Saturday, November 29, 2014

Life in Lusaka as a volunteer with vulberable children

Its been 20 days since I have been in Lusaka now. I am getting used to volunteering in the compound (slum) at KAFWA (school for orphans and vulnerable children). It has been a real and learning experience during the hours that I am volunteering:
6:30am Thomas and John pick me up at my house and we walk to the soccer field picking up fritters on the way
7am-9am soccer at the local soccer field, my favorite part of the day

9am-930am walk as a group from the soccer field to the school
930am-1:30 teaching: English songs, hang man, chalk board games, reading to the kids, preaching, the other teachers teach math as well. Also I sometimes help cook or walk into the compound to get carious things: fruit, charcoal, clothes for the kids etc (I raised some money to give as donations to the children).

1:30-3pm: Eating food, cleaning the school, playing a few games with the kids hanging out.

Spaghetti Photo bombs are the best

Esnut's birthday lunch

School ends between 2-5 depending on the day, it varies a lot.
A picture I gave Thomas 6 years ago is now being drawn by master artist Daniel

At Kafwa we like to party

In the evenings I do different things, I am still trying to get into a routine. Sometimes I meet and hang out with people. The custom it seems in Zambia is if you invite a Zambian to hang out you are often expected to pay for them which I can understand due to a large portion of the population having very little income (but not all), but it makes it hard to hang out with locals all the time as it gets expensive, but I am trying to go meet them more in the compound where things are cheaper.
Lucky's first time eating Pizza, showing him the finer things in life :)

School shoes for Francis (you need them to attend public school

One thing that I will take as a reference for the rest of my life is that the kids that I work with prefer living in the compound compared to a richer area. They say in the compound everyone sticks together, people are nice and there is always entertainment and fun happening, where as in the rich areas, there are gated walls, people are very quite, and life is boring. I would have to agree with the kids on this, I much prefer hanging out in the compound with the kids than being home at night either at the mall or locked in my house because it is dangerous to walk the street as I may get mugged (although I am starting to go more out at night and just being careful), and people are constantly watching TV. I am spending my nights reading, writing a book, blogging, editing videos, coming up with lessons for the next day, doing push ups, etc. Sometimes I meet people in town.

Where there are some offices at the compound, this old car was taken apart for scrap a day later

Being here many people tell me that I am a very kind and amazing person for doing this. I want to make it clear that I am doing this for selfish reasons as my favorite thing in life is to bring joy to others, and coming to Zambia and volunteering in the compound and helping the kids with giving them basic necessities and entertaining them is an easy way for me to get my thrills. Unfortunately I won't be living here permanently being able to work with these kids (there are people who do this and they are real hero's), and the longer I am here the more I realize that I really do want to become a world class counselor back in Canada where I can help empower people to help themselves (and for selfish reasons as well). The reason being is working with the kids everyday I wake up at 5:30am very excited for the day, and I want to have this feeling which I do more and more as I learn about the world everyday of my life. I heard a good quote and I want to make “my Monday's more enthralling than most people's Christmas's”. I don't mean that I want to have a better life than anyone, I hope every single person in the world (and especially you reading my blog ;)) has an amazing and empowering life (which you will if you are reading this as you obviously you are curious and are constantly learning about life like me) even more so than me. Unfortunately I see so many people who walk around with sad looks on their face, living for two days of the week, and are not passionate about what they are doing and end up using their own special talents in the wrong places. We can help these people (like you and me) by leading by example with constant learning and taking actions towards our own dreams and visions.
My friends pool at his house in Lusaka (rented by a bunch of people), shows the difference in standards of living, notice how it is walled in with barb wire and there is a guard. This is an unfortunate reality of life in Lusaka

Walking on my way to school

The compound I teach at is right beside the city's sanitation plant (stuff that goes down the toilet)

Filling up on Canola oil (not gasoline), talk about environmentally friendly

Life in Zambia is very social and happy. I can see that it can be much more difficult though if you want to move up in society here and create a positive impact on a world wide basis.The infrastructure just isn't here. For example there is no public library, and books are very expensive, and a lot are just unavailable. Internet is often not available, or slow, making it hard to even watch a Youtube video. These types of challenges make it very hard to get access to world wide information like we have now in most parts of the Western World. Another thing is that there is not much in the way of social services: Where I live there are at least 30 teenage boys who sleep on the street, stay warm and alive by sniffing chemicals, and survive by doing odd jobs and unfortunately stealing. Talking to these boys, many ran away from home for different reasons but with a theme of abuse. Society here doesn't except much of them and calls them thieves, which they end up becoming, and the cycle gets worst. Then it creates problems for everyone for example not walking alone after dark late due to the chance of getting mugged, having security guards monitor your house, putting up big walls and bars on your home with barbed wire, etc.... Please remember where ever you live that when you see someone who is down and out, treat them with respect like you would other people, as they are a person to who is going through a difficult time, as you or someone you know may be in that same situation one day or now (Lets hope not, but just want to make a point) and how would you want to be treated?

Young boys sleeping outside during the day

I hope you enjoyed the photos, if you enjoyed this blog post, please share it around, and leave comments and feedback so I can work to serve you better (although I will always stay honest in this blog and speak from my heart as that is what I want when I read others blogs)

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