My Greatest Achievements

The most beautiful smile of them all from
a five year old with nothing.
I am only 19 bear in mind. NINETEEN! Yet anyone who has been in a rural tribal village for 12 weeks can agree that their lives change in enormous ways. Before August I spent two years at college studying English and Performing Arts, a LOT of fun but I never felt it was for me. I also spent three years in my free time volunteering for the National Citizen Service, I learnt so many skills and met so many fantastic people I knew that helping people was my choice. So I took the challenge and spent three months in Africa.

A stunning sunset
It was incredible. Imagine waking up every morning to the sound of children singing their ABC, looking out at the fantastic sunrise and knowing that every single waking moment you are trying your very hardest to do good for the community. Every morning it was a quick trip to the water pump just so you can bath, drink and eat. It sounds difficult and displeasing, it was when I was doing it! Once you are back home though, you realize a tap is too mundane! After filling a 20l bucket and carrying it on your head just so you can do your morning chores it was a quick change (no make up or facial scrub, it was grand!) then heading off for that 2 hour walk to teach pupils on Sexual Reproductive Health. The sun beating down on your sweaty forehead whilst you step into more and more sand until your sandals are no longer white (poor choice of colour to take!) but I felt happy. At peace. Its strange, being around an area filled with death, poverty and outrageous laws of justice everyone seemed, at peace with themselves too. They didn't care about fashion, food quality or make up, they cared about doing well for their family, making money, praying and being as happy as they could be. I admired this, I wanted to be like them, at the beginning I was constantly crying, homesick and lost. As I developed watching these people get on with their lives and having fun doing it, I embraced it. I danced around a fire, I laughed at their jokes, I carried the water and made the food.
A real Zambian meal! Nshima (the white part) dried fish and sauce!

Towards the end of my journey I fell in love with Zambia. I fell in love with the hot rain and hot sands. I fell in love with the most incredible skies all day round, from gawping sunrises to peaceful sunsets. The night sky was my favourite. Eating nshima and kapenta with my bear hands as I looked above me, millions of tiny flames creating the light of the night. A strong beaming moon with no clouds what so ever to hide. The most tranquil moments of that time was the night sky. It made me think of what I wanted to be, what I wanted to do and what I can do to help the people that made me this person. This new person that wanted to help people, really help.

My greatest achievement to myself was discovering who I really am. My place is in Zambia, my place is with the people who need me the most. And since my return it has been my goal to return to help. And that has to be the best achievement I can imagine for myself. If anyone of you are dreaming of a goal, something to strive for, this blog may be for you, if not, leave a comment and let me know what your goal is, or what I can write about to help you achieve it!


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