With the holiday behind us, it was time for orientation and finding out about our volunteer placements. Of course this meant one more day of being able to sleep in since our session wasn’t scheduled to start until 10:30.

During the session we learned a bit of history about the area, which was good since I hadn’t had a lot of time to read up on things like that before coming. In short, Zambia

  • gained independence in 1964
  • has 20 provinces
  • supports 76 languages
  • has 10 political parties
  • is currently under its 6th president
  • While one may think that tourism is the main industry with Zambia boasting Victoria Falls as well as a number of game reserves, it is dwarfed by copper mining which rose to the 4th highest producer in the world at one time. Unfortunately for Zambia, copper prices have dropped and thus the economy is in decline.

    In addition, low water levels (50% of normal) have caused the entire nation to enforce load sharing with everyone taking a daily 5 hour power outage. The times rotate every day which is nice so you are not always having to adjust the same activities when the power is off. Some of the main businesses have generators, due to the original expense and the fuel cost of 11 kwacha per liter (about 1.5 USD). The hope is that in 6 months there will be enough rain to enable full power to be restored.

    I am based in Livingstone, very close to Victoria Falls. Sadly, there are many street kids here due to many being orphaned when their parents die of HIV infections. And added to by more kids flocking to the city based on hearsay of begin able to get money from the tourists. Recently many schools have been opening to try to help these kids, but many still do not attend.

    We also learned that around here white people are referred to as Mzungu (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mzungu) which is not at all derogatory. Instead it is used as a friendly greeting by very friendly people whenever we are met on the streets.

    At the end if the session we got the information sour tour specific placements. I am at a private school called Nekacheya (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nekacheya-School/240718149402486).