In ten days I will be leaving Boston, MA and heading to Lusaka, Zambia for a month long field study. I have yet to find anywhere I would not go back to, and really do feel that every place I've been to has taught me something. Some of the places that I have struggled being in the most have left the biggest impressions on me (try being terrified of bugs and living in a house infested with cockroaches). Challenges are inextricably tied to growth, and if everything were easy we would never have to question ourselves in relation to the world. I'm not nervous for Zambia, primarily because it will be my third field study and I have yet to have a negative experience. Instead, I am really just excited to go back to Africa, because I think it compels me more than any region of the world.
In Lusaka, I will be working with an organization called Vision of Hope. This organization works to support girls who live on the streets, and provides them with vocational training, healthcare, and other support. I am particularly excited to work with this organization because I have always felt strongly about helping children and young women. The summer after my freshman year of college, I was supposed to go to Thailand and work with a local human trafficking prevention organization. Less than a week before my trip, political violence forced us to change our itinerary, and we were rerouted to Bali, Indonesia. Getting the chance to work with young women now is really exciting for me, and seems like good closure to my college career, as what I hoped to start with I will now end with instead.
The biggest lesson traveling has taught me thus far is that getting to work with other people in the communities they devote their lives to is a huge gift. I am going to learn a lot, but my own contribution will be negligible. At the end of the day, a month is just a fraction of time in the grander scheme of things.
I'm hoping to learn a lot about Zambian culture, and what it's like to live there. I want to know more about the struggles people face, and what types of opportunities there are. Most importantly, I want to meet great people doing great things, and get some inspiration to do the same. Wish me luck!