Our first years have started blogs about getting ready for their trips to Africa!
The team has been so busy since we last wrote! On Sunday we were invited to join church service at the community hall which was built last year. We were so warmly welcomed by the Unificationists of Malawi, who sang us songs in their native languages and allowed the locals to share about their gratitude towards having NGA back in Malawi. In turn, the three of us expressed our appreciation and gratitude towards their warm hearts and hospitality. We sang them a very well known song on NGA, One Day, which talks about a vision of total peace on Earth and uniting people in the world as one. They knew the words better than we did! Past years of NGA teams taught them the song. It was a beautiful moment, to sing together as one. It felt like it was meant to be, united simply by the fact we are all human, we are all together and gathered in peace and love...
Aside from doing the many service projects and presentations we have planned we are really excited to experience what makes Namibia, Namibia. In our free time we have been walking down the city streets, going to all the good local places to eat that our guides know about. We had our first interaction with the Himba tribe. They are known for their style of dress and how they cover themselves with red clay to keep cool in the sun. We bought hand made bracelets they were selling and took pictures with them.
One thing I would like to mention...
The day started with a trip to the local hardware store in the morning. Apparently we had to return a couple wooden boards purchased from the afternoon before; not knowing that it would delay our building plans for the rest of the week. There was no pick-up truck available, so we had to create a contraption to hold our boards to the store. Which looked a little like this…
Hello from Team Footprint in Lusaka, Zambia. All of our flights departed and arrived smoothly and on time, we were greeted by our homestay family and our guide, Joshua at Lusaka National Airport.
We are staying at Twikatane Farm, a sausage farm on the outskirts of Lusaka. Although Twikatane itself has a beautiful grounds and nice buildings with filtered water, it is surrounded by neighborhoods of dirt roads, cement houses with alimunium roofs, trash piles, and loads of peddlers, children, chickens, and dogs roaming about. Just outside the Twikatane gates is a dirt soccer field that the local children love to play on, and we were greeted by them with shy smiles, lots of hand shaking, and questions.
After our 30 hour flight, we made it to Zambia safe and sound! The first night we stayed in Lusaka with the other Zambia team to get enough rest for our 5 hour bus ride to Ndola the next morning. Even though it’s a pretty long bus ride, I enjoyed it! It was interesting passing through different cities and observing the culture, the people, and the scenery. I also fell asleep for half of it so time flew by. We are currently in our homestay in Ndola.
There have been so many amazing experiences in Malawi It's difficult to truly explain everything we did or everything we gained but I'd like to share one of the most powerful experiencesfor our team and myself personally at a refugee camp.
I had the opportunity to venture to Zambia with my super cool team comprised of Chris, Carla and Rosa. We were excited to present on character education in primary and secondary schools. One of our first presentations was at Matero Girls Secondary School. When we set up the presentation, we expected about 50 kids from grades ten through twelve. We were all nervous and unsure. Walking into the building, I saw about a hundred blinking eyes staring up at us, waiting for the silence to be broken.
Our best experience was at Bay Area Technological School. During a 6 hour anti-bullying workshop. We covered three main topics of awareness, empathy and moving forward. The students get a chance to share personal stories that have happened to them in the past to raise awareness as well as empathy. Step into the circle, similar to Cross the Line, is one of the activities that we do where the students are aware that each individual is going through or has gone through pain. We emphasize the point that pain is a part of life, but it is up to them if they want to suffer from it or move forward. Affirmations conclude the empathy portion, with caring and loving words from their peers and staff. Our last point is moving forward, where we give them the opportunity to accept that they can’t change what has happened, but they can make steps to move forward in their life.
Botswana was amazing!! It is an experience that I will never forget and although I have tons of great stories about my experience sadly I only have space to share one with you. The story that stands out the most to me is the story of our first train the trainer workshop.
We went to Anna Mckenney during our second week of Momentum, initially for a 7 hour Anti-Bullying presentation. Our presentation was for the leadership students of the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes. The longest presentation we had given prior to this one was only six hours. During both the planning and presentation we were nervous to add another hour to what we already had. Not knowing if we would be able to succeed, we still went with it and it turned out wonderful. The students were incredibly attentive and vocal during small group discussion as well as during other serious activities. We were able to delve deep into what the students had held in for months, and even years. The courage and bravery shown in the act of being vulnerable in front of their peers created an atmosphere that not only encouraged those around to share what was on their heart but also to share what was difficult to talk about. I was in shock. I couldn’t fathom how many children had come from broken families.
When we arrived, Mama Mahopo was standing in the doorway, baby on her hip, little wondrous faces peeping out from behind her long skirts staring. The crèche(daycare) was essentially a one car space garage. They had with two tiny side rooms, one for the kids to rest and the other acting as a sort of kitchen to cook meals. As we entered the dwelling, the children were just sitting down to have their midday meal. Huddled on a small thread bare rug on the floor they looked up at us as we entered, eyes wide, pap (maize)covered hands reaching out in a” sharp” greeting.
Hi! Julia here, one of the cool members of the Sacramento Momentum Team, Team Delta! Our team spent most of our time visiting doing six hour presentations for the 8th graders. We worked with two different classes with different dynamics, it was interesting seeing the difference in reaction that the kids of this school had towards each of the activities and talks we presented them with.
The Principled Academy asked us to put on three presentations for each week of Momentum. We worked with a class of seventeen students of seventh and eighth graders combined. Principled Academy was looking to connect the two classes and build more understanding and authenticity between them.
Yesterday, our participants came back from their third fundraising campaign of the year! We shared stories from the last 3 weeks and it's exciting to hear about the growth that all these young adults have been making in their lives.
Have you ever been curious about how we handle money? Where do all our donations go? How much of it goes to administrative costs?