Mwalandiridwa! Welcome! Or so I have felt over the past week in Zambia. It has been a whirlwind of activity, through which I have felt more and more a part of the friendly Zambian people. Perhaps it is best summarized in their own words:
“Please, feel free. You should always feel free.”
Feel free to join them. Feel free to make conversation. Feel free to learn about their culture and their outlook on life. It may be my oversensitivity to not step out of my bounds or make assumptions, but I have heard that invitation to be one with Zambia many times this week.
But first I should rewind to why I am here. I am a Junior Fellow from the Engineers Without Borders University of Waterloo Chapter and I am partnered with an NGO called Kulemela here in Zambia. Kulemela works to create an environment for Zambian students to develop their innovation and design thinking. They hope to be the spark for a new generation of Zambian engineers and entrepreneurs who will seek out their country’s problems and create solutions. Kulemela focuses on investments in education, with an initial focus on design competitions for university students.
I will be living primarily in Lusaka until December 16, 2012. There will be occasions, such as for design competitions or a short-term stay in a rural village that I will be outside of Lusaka exploring more of the beauty in Zambia. I hope through this blog I can capture both my work and daily life here to paint a picture of my life in Zambia. My lovely hosts, the Lungu family, have given me a warm welcome into their home in southwest Lusaka in a neighbourhood called Nyumba Yanga. Here is where I am staying in case you want to drop by!
I will be doing my work with an inspiring young woman named Luyando Mbozi, who is the sole actor for Kulemela in Zambia. She was previously an African Delegate to an EWB National Conference and is leading her fellow Zambian engineers in the change Kulemela hopes to create. Hopefully in my time here I can help to push forward the giant body of work she has in front of her and add my perspective as an engineering student in Canada.
Within these pages I also hope to share the perspectives of people in Zambia. I intend to find a medium to share their views and I encourage responses from you in Canada to open a dialogue across the distance through these pages. Thanks to all that have commented so far and everyone else please do the same, especially if questions and ideas – don’t be bashful! If there is something about Zambia you want me to explore further, please put me to the task and I will go for it.
There is much more to come since this was all just the surface detail. Keep tuned in for more!
Featured image by James Richardson