I embarked on the 8 weeks in Zambia alone and with very few expectations, but was almost instantly marveled at the friendly, joyous and welcoming culture and people in Lusaka. It could not be more different than my world and city at home, but I felt at home almost immediately. Almost nothing ran on time or as planned, but it came down to a matter of personal attitude and a maintaining a good sense of humor, the two necessities that I think every volunteer should plan on coming equipped with. Rather than finding it frustrating, I kind of became addicted to the unpredictability of each day and enjoyed being unsure of how each day would turn out. Flexibility and an open-mind were key to loving my time and work in Zambia. The program and life in Zambia is what you make of it—if you open the doors, you will find you have opportunities available that you would never have fathomed. I did everything from cooking nshima in the school, to bartending in Lusaka one night, to being stuck on a derailed train in rural Tanzania, to swimming through rapids in the Zambezi River. The hardest part of the whole trip was definitely leaving… and I think a piece of my heart will always be at the school I taught in and in Zambia. I would (and hope to) return to Lusaka in a heart beat, and would highly recommend ABV as the initial program and starting point to living and working in such a wonderful place and with such a great program.
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Definitely do research on the season and temperatures of when you’re there and take it seriously. I underestimated how cold their winters really got, and am so glad I brought jackets and sweaters as it got very cold at night (high 40’s during the morning and night!). Depending on what you want to do in your free time, bring a variety of clothes—I wore pretty much what I would wear every day here in Chicago, including business-casual clothes for work, running clothes to go for nightly jogs and ha
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