On the 28th of June 2019 I went to Zambia with seventeen other transition year students. I can safely say that the two weeks I spent over there were some of the most unforgettable of my life. We started fundraising months before for this journey for countless hours and while it seemed like it was hard, it was worth every minute of it for getting the chance to go there.
When we arrived in the community, we were greeted by everybody celebrating and singing songs as if we were celebrities or one of their own family. Over the time we spent there we worked hard building houses but also formed friendships with the locals and their children. From morning to afternoon, we would spend our time building with a lunch break in between and when we were finished, we would return to building for a few hours in the early evening. The building was tiring and at some point, in the two weeks everyone will feel shattered, but goes quickly and we were working with local Zambian builders who were happy to talk to us and tell their stories for hours on end every day. When we finished our building for the day, we would spend our hours playing with kids every evening as if we had known them for years. Our nights at the campfire singing songs and eating dinner were some of the best moments of the whole trip.
For the weekend in the middle of our trip we travelled to Nsobe three hours north of Kabwe. For the weekend we got to relax and take a break from the building. We all got to go on a safari together and see the local wildlife. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to play a football match against the teenagers from the local school and swim in the lake.
The food that was made for us every day in Kabwe was perfect and freshly cooked. The locals were so proud of where they come from and who they are so every night we would hear singing and have them helping us to learn little bits of the language.
Personally, the best moment of the whole trip was handing over the keys to the people receiving the houses. The appreciation and sheer happiness they showed for those few minutes was enough to make me want to do it again and again. The impact that this trip has on these people is incredible and all it takes is two weeks of hard work from a few of us. Leaving behind family, friends and phones isn’t an easy thing to do but at the end of the day you make a huge difference to a family and that family’s future generations. If you are given the opportunity to go on this trip then take it, you will never forget it.
Eoin. Cuala 2002