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It may already be three weeks since I left Zambia, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think about Livingstone and the people there almost every day. It was an amazing experience and I hope to be able to do something similar again.

So for this last post on my experiences there, I want to share a bit of what life was like on a daily basis and then talk about how that life led to making very dear friends veery quickly.

As I think I have mentioned, during the time I was in Livingstone I was staying in volunteer house with as many as 40 volunteers. While originally I had hoped to be able to stay with a local family during my time there, I quickly realized that being with other volunteers was also quite valuable.

The location, was the Sunbird Guest House (http://t.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Sunbird-Guest-House/Livingstone/30773?source=adwordsdynamic&network=g&creative=80887456820&adposition=1t1&uniqueclickID=11154187602182511189&sub_keyword=_cat:hostelworld.com&sub_ad=b&sub_publisher=ADW&gclid=CjwKEAjwp56wBRDThOSZ3vqGzmESJABjNaj9I9ZoBJ_gcAJU97eTSz7CWstmSohXQpJ-kfXEfrtNtxoCEo_w_wcB) used by Dream Livingstone Zambia (http://www.dreamlivingstonezambia.com/), the local volunteer organization that handled our placements and the day to day things that needed to be done in Zambia, to house volunteers. IVHQ (https://www.volunteerhq.org/) handled everything prior to my getting to Zambia and does so for projects in many countries.

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Life there could be chaotic at times with 40 people, but there some good places to hang out and chill.

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That said, life there was not easy, but you got used to things like the following:

  • doing your laundry in a bathtub
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  • sleeping under a net in the top bunk
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  • sharing a tiny fridge and a not very large closet with 2-3 other people
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  • a pretty tiny bathroom – the almost always cold shower wasn’t that bad given how hot it was there
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  • a dining room that was so crowded that it was a constant challenge to get to and from the tables
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  • washing dishes with a sponge that had seen better days a long time ago</li

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  • learning to enjoy instant coffee
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    Yes, it was hard at times. But in comparison to the kids we were working with, it pales dramatically.

    And, if it weren’t hard, the friendships that were made in only a few short days probably would not have happened. I can’t list everyone here who I hope to stay in contest with because if I try to, I know I will miss someone and that would be awful. Thanks to things like Facebook, and other communication options, it is possible to stay in touch.

    And hopefully, as some of us continue to travel, we will have chances to see each other again. Just writing this is making me cry, knowing how much I miss each and every one of you who I spent time with

  • playing cards
  • watching sunsets
  • walking to and from school
  • splurging on expensive dinners
  • going on safari
  • hanging out on the swing
  • stargazing during the power outages
  • whitewater rafting
  • hiking around Victoria Falls
  • singing along with guitars and other instruments
  • exploring the markets
  • discovering village life
  • And doing other things that I am sure I am forgetting.

    Peace, and a hope that we will meet again someday.

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    Some of the most memorable parts of last years trip to Africa (other than the animals of course)’ were the sundowners. For these, we would stop mid-game drive, and be servers an array of drinks and light snacks as the sun went down. So it is no surprise that sunsets are already playing a big role in my current stay here as well.

    Towards the end of my first week in Zambia, I headed to the sunset tree with a few other volunteers. It was a pretty cool experience to climb up a ladder to watch the sunset for the branches of a baobab tree (https://simple.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baobab).

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    You could see the “smoke” from Victoria Falls (http://victoriafallstourism.org/) as well as a good amount of the surrounding countryside.

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    Then, last Tuesday some of us headed to the Royal Livingstone Hotel (http://www.suninternational.com/royal-livingstone/) to watch the sunset from there. While the drinks are quite pricey, the views are amazing. And we were even treated to some hippos playing in the water in the distance.

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    And they did provide a tray of free nibbles, to go along with the drinks (including my martini in a margarita glass).

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    Given that we had a day off, I ventured out with some new friends to explore the Zambian side of Victoria Falls (I had been to the Zimbabwean side last year).

    The first step was to hire a taxi. Which involves a bit if negotiation as to the rate, but we were armed with information about what it should be, so we were happy with the rate we paid. We also had to negotiate a bit at the entrance sane had heard that we were eligible for a reduced rate since we were here as volunteers, so instead of paying 140 ZMW each, we only paid 70 ZMW each and were given a ticket indicating that we had paid the child rate.

    Now it was time to explore, and explore we did. First we walked along the back side of the gorge getting some nice initial views and spotting the rainbow.

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    We then headed along the edge of the gorge, towards Zimbabwe, getting many other spectacular views and a few shows from the baboons.

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    On the return from this foray we spotted a very beautiful little bird.

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    We then we grabbed some beverages before hiking to the bottom of the gorge. On the way down we spotted more wildlife.

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    By the time we reached the bottom, the flora had changed from dessert cacti to tropical palms.

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    And at the bottom we got a new perspective of the gorge itself.

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    The hike back up was grueling, so we stopped for more beverages and snacks before heading out along another trail that provides views from father away.

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    Finally, we walked to the bridge itself, along the way, as many times earlier in the day we were asked if we were planning on going bungee jumping. The answer from all three of us was an absolutely not, never, no way. Of course we were also shown many goods to purchase (and those of you who have traveled with me before may be shocked to find out that I didn’t buy any souvenirs this day).

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    Today we will finally have orientation and tomorrow we will start out assignments.

    Wendy

    I finally arrived in Zambia yesterday and met up with the volunteer organization and headed to the volunteer hours with a number of other new arrivals.

    After finding our rooms and lounging a bit we ate lunch and then walked into town to shake off the effects of air travel and get out bearings. One of the first orders of business nice getting to town was to find ATMs that took our cards and get some cash. With that done we found the spur ale and picked up a few things some of us wanted, for me it was a small pack of hangers.

    We got back to the house just before sunset and it was time to eat again. The food has been simple but tasty. After a few more hours of getting to know folks over conversation and a game of Uno it was time to get some sleep.

    Getting ready for bed was a bit of a challenge since the light in our bathroom is burned out, but eventually I crawled into my bunk and read until sleep came.

    Today we are actually just relaxing and May head over to see Victoria Falls from the Zambia side since it is a holiday so we have to wait to tomorrow to start our volunteer programs. So right now there is still a lot of anxiousness amongst us newcomers to find out exactly what we will be doing.

    But it was nice to have time to unpack and organize things at a leisurely pace.

    Wendy

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