Blog 2, On the Road

August 10, 2011 | Theadora, PSY, Shared World, Zambia

Today is the first real day of work, and I think we’re all feeling an equal combination of excitement and fear/anxiety. As we made our way through Chazanga we were overwhelmed by swarms of small children screaming “mzungu, mzungu!!!! Ow r u? (Otherwise known as how are you). In addition to the children, adults in the community stopped what they were doing to say hello, and formally greet us: “mulli bwanji” “bweno bwanji” “bweno” (good morning how are you, I’m fine thank you, yourself, fine). It’s really quite a cultural shock to be greeted so warmly and by so many people at once. (Imagine walking down Rideau Street and having everyone turn to stare at you as you go by and taking the time to say hello and ask how you are).

This year SWI is working with two different organizations Bwafwano Integrated Services Organization (Helping one another) and Lupwa Lwabumi Trust (family for life). Bwafwano (otherwise referred to by the team as Bwaf) is an NGO located in Chazanga that provides a range of services to the community including a health clinic, nutritional services, educational programs, an OVC (orphans and vulnerable children) program, and recreational activities. LLT is an NGO located in the centre of Lusaka that was established to identify some of the gaps in rural communities outside of Lusaka such as family disintegration, high poverty levels and high illiteracy levels. LLT has three primary programs: formation of self help groups, child/family reunification and family circles of care and support.

Our first day at Bwafwano we were met by Isaac the program director who gave us a tour of the facilities and described all the activities of the organization and some of the projects past SWI teams had completed. Isaac is such an inspirational man and does so much for Bwafwano. The following day we made our way into town to visit LLT for the first time and to learn a bit more about what they do. We were greeted by Goodson and Louis who gave us an overview of the activities, goals and motivations of LLT. Later this week were supposed to choose which organization we want to work with. I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed because both organizations have programs that I am very interested in exploring further. I would love the opportunity to work more closely in Bwaf’s clinic and work with the nursing staff and patients. However, the family re-integration program at LLT also sounds extremely interesting and seems as though there’s a lot of room for expansion and development. AHHHH, so many decisions!

So after a few days of deliberation, I think I want to spend the next two months working with LLT. What attracted me most to LLT was the prospect of getting to work closely with individuals in rural communities outside of Lusaka. The next day myself and the rest of the Lupwa team (Caro, Julie, Jess, Jill and Tarun) made our way into town for our first day of work with LLT. That morning we met again with Goodson to discuss in more detail LLT’s activities and past SWI/LLT collaborations. Meetings were set for later in the week to conduct a needs assessment with a few of the self help groups that LLT has been working closely with.

Looking forward to meeting with the community groups later this week

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