Zambia 2017 Trip Report

By Megan Feltham and Mary Lawrence

Somewhat disorientated from travelling, we arrived in Livingstone in Zambia, some 10 km away from the famous Zambezi river. Overwhelmed at first, we would soon embrace the rush of action that occurs on the busy street; the irate-sounding car horns, vendors selling Nyami Nyami necklaces and the clamour of the African world, so different from the serenity of Dorset.

Our first day at Lubasi Home was nerve-racking, and the children were unsure of us at first. Gradually however we began to form friendships with frisbees, football and bracelet-making. As well as really getting to understand a different culture and some of our time was indeed made up of sad stories, we took away with us the vivacity, hospitality, hope and dreams that these children all shared; some wished to be lawyers, others teachers and doctors, and our day at their school helped us be fully immersed into their love of class room learning, where they are so eager to learn and so curious about the world. We travelled to the YCTC Centre and the Grace Centre; where young adults and children were encouraged to learn and were given skills necessary for a prosperous life.

On the 7th, we travelled across the border into Botswana. We were then driven to Chobe National Park, and our safari began! On the first day, we were incredibly lucky to see a large number of local wildlife, including giraffe, elephants and even a pride of lions. The river tour gave us an amazing view of a young bull elephant crossing the Chobe river into Namibia, along with many hippo, crocodiles and much more. As we slept in tents in the middle of the National Park, it gave us an ideal opportunity to see the animals up close.  The following two days followed in a similar way; leaving the camp at around 7am for the early morning game drive, returning for brunch, then spending the rest of the day exploring the park in the game jeeps. We were very lucky to have seen a leopard, which even our group’s guide, Isaac, hadn’t seen for 3 months! After such an amazing experience, we were reluctant to return to Livingstone, but very glad to see the Lubasi children and to sleep in a comfy bed again.

Our trip to Zambia also included many excursions in and around the city of Livingstone, including  Mass on the first day at St Theresa’s Church, visits to the curio and Maramba markets, and a cycle tour. These trips offered insight into the daily life of the people who live in the area, and we had the opportunity to meet many of the village children on the cycle tour, who were excited to meet us! A major highlight was the evening trip to Victoria Falls to see the moonbow, or lunar rainbow, with some of the Lushomo and Lubasi girls. Another was when we visited the Royal Livingstone Hotel, where we drank mocktails whilst watching the sun set over the Zambezi River.

On our last evening, it was wonderful to see the children performing beautiful songs for us. Then, we handed out personalised gifts filled with toys, bracelets, soaps and notebooks, which the children received with smiles and laughter. On our last morning, sad to go but full of the memories we had made from our two-weeks action-packed adventure, we filled our bags with gifts at the Curio market with any remaining Kwacha. We set off to Johannesburg having learned so much about ourselves as well as the people we met and places we visited.