IN THE lead up to going to Zambia, I was feeling nervous, but excited. I was going away from home with some girls from my school, who I had only really gotten to know in the build-up to the trip. We were at the same school, but not close friends. I was unsure how I would cope without my close friends and family. We were told that our phones might not work too well in Zambia and if you know me, then you know that my phone is essential! Minimal use for 12 days was going to be hard.
After a long day spent in transit, I already felt that I was bonding well with all the other girls, boys, teachers and the Missio Scotland team. My nerves had vanished and I was really enjoying getting to know my travelling companions.
On our first day in Zambia, we were introduced to the sisters who were in charge of running the City of Hope complex. We were then shown our rooms, which were a lot different from my own and all its home comforts. Straight away we got down to one of the reasons we were here—to help and support our brothers and sisters in faith. We helped the children with their studies, but most importantly, we helped them to have a lot of fun. I will always remember how excited they were to play with my sunglasses, Sunglasses! A mere accessory to me became such an enjoyable thing for them. Selfies with my sunglasses became a game and they all wanted to play!
We were each assigned to help a group of the older girls—who lived at City of Hope—with their homework in the evenings. I was assigned to help a girl named Victoria, who was 16-years-old. We became quite close and I will always treasure the letter I received from her before we left. It was so lovely and caring of her to put down in words what me being there to help her meant to her. I still get emotional reading it.
The hospitality of everyone at City of Hope was fantastic. The meals were a little challenging for me however! For someone who is more used to McDonald’s, living on rice, potatoes and so on was difficult, but in hindsight, it was really good for my waistline and if it was good enough for the Zambian kids, then it had to be good enough for me.
After a few days, we were on our travels again—a long road trip to Livingstone. The journey was quite fun as we were all much more familiar with one another by then. We checked in to a hotel, which provided a little more comfort and space. During this time we had even more fun and laughter as a group and I am happy to say that I the entire group got to know me better and realise that I was funny and outgoing, not the shy girl from the pre-trip meetings.
Writing this testimony has actually brought a lot of the memories flooding back and picking a few of the most memorable things is hard as there were so many to choose from. The trip to the National Park in Livingstone was not something you can do any day of the week. The scenery, the animals and the amazing Victoria Falls, was like being in a kid’s movie and was very memorable. In truth, each day visiting projects was different, but if I had to choose, I would say the day we spent at Providence Home with kids with disabilities was my favourite. It was both challenging and emotional, but to see the desire and zest for life that the children had, despite their disabilities, was such a joy to witness. I would just like to thank everyone I travelled with for helping me create such meaningful and lasting memories.