Well folks, Friday marked our last day on projects and signaled the end of our time as interns here with African Impact. While I know it’s been just shy of a month that we’ve been here, it definitely doesn’t feel like we’ve been here for that long.
For our last day, Braydan and I were lucky enough to be paired together with some now trained CSU volunteers. We weren’t supposed to be together, but my original partner wanted to go to the clinic that Braydan was scheduled for, so she just asked for a switch and Braydan was fine with it.
We ended up going to Ngwenya, which was a community I had never been to during our stay here. We met with two female caregivers that seemed to be an older caregiver and a younger caregiver in training. Both had fantastic senses of humor and were fun to be with. While we were out, our first patient was something I had yet to see in Livingstone: a young woman with severe anemia. The poor thing was struggling a lot, and we did the best we could with vitamins, but we encouraged her parents to also prioritize getting her to Lusacka for the treatment that the hospital here referred her for.
Before seeing any patients though, I meant to preface that we saw some young siblings playing outside that the decided to follow us around for a good portion of our patients. When they dropped off, a new group of little girls and their brother started following us. One little girl was a total extrovert and would try to get our attention and would grin and laugh every time we made faces at her. Literally, she was one of the cutest girls I had seen here so far, purely because of her big smile and joyful laugh.
One interesting thing I noticed as we were traveling around Ngwenya is that most people we visited had back issues or knee problems that weren’t resolving despite having been checked out by a doctor. Some of the back problems seemed similar to my own, which was hard to see considering I knew they wouldn’t get the care that I did in the States. We advised them again the best that we could, but it was somewhat disheartening to see regardless.
After leaving Ngwenya, we counted and realized we had only visited five patients. It was slow going out there, but at least we were able to help some people, right? Andrew picked us up from the primary school, and we headed back from our last day in the field. It was definitely a sad moment realizing we would be visiting these people anymore, but we are grateful for our time here and are ready to head out for our next adventure.
We got back, ate a quick lunch and did project updates, and at 1:15pm all of the AI interns and coordinators left for the annual Walk to School, a fundraiser run by African Impact to raise awareness about how difficult it can be for some students to access a school and raise funds for building new classrooms for some of the schools in the area.
The walk was actually really fun! Braydan and I ended up walking mainly with Imani and Audrey, and we just chatted with them about their lives and how they compare with ours in America. They’re such uplifting people to be around, so the walk went by quickly for us despite being 4 km long with about 200 students walking with us.
When we arrived back at the school, some of the students had prepared some traditional dances and a school rally, so we sat outside on some benches that were set up for us and enjoyed the show. The kids here can MOVE! I swear, their hips are unreal!
The show was super cute, but I think the best part was the little girl, Lulu, that came up to Braydan and I. I put my sunglasses on her, and she was hamming it up! We took pictures of her as she posed for us, and then she came around to sit with us, gave me my water bottle, watched me drink some of my water, and then took the water bottle back and helped herself! I was dying of laughter, and eventually her brother came over to take pictures with her, and when I showed them how the camera on my phone worked, I about lost my phone. Seriously, they were having a ball trying out the different filters, taking pictures of the show, us, and their friends.
It was heartbreaking to have to leave when all of the kids were having so much fun with us, but alas, everything comes to an end eventually. We came back, scurried over to the tourist market AGAIN, chatted with some girls on their way home from school as we walked, and ended up getting the figurines and magnet we had been looking for. We rushed back for burgers and fries, which were fantastic, and spent some time after dinner talking with some of the CSU volunteers and Kathy, one of the new coordinators.
I rarely have the opportunity to talk about our church with non-members, but with three of us Latter-Day Saints at the table, Kathy and one of the volunteers started asking us about our church. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with them about it, and was grateful for the knowledge I have and the faith that I have in the restored gospel. Afterwards, we talked about the different political systems between Australia (where Kathy is from) and the USA, and eventually headed outside to check on the volunteers that were partying in the LBP bar.
Neither Braydan nor I are fans of the bar scene, so we made our way upstairs, enjoyed a hot shower, and then went to bed since we had an early morning to prepare for (we were leaving for our walking safari experience at 6:45am the next morning). Surprisingly, sleeping for the first time was easy, and I only woke up once or twice the whole night. Amazing! Well, that’s it for now, until tomorrow, ¡adios!