This weekend ( 7th-9th April) I had my Volunteer Zambia Induction. As you can imagine the word induction often suggests, projector screens, powerpoint and a lot of talking…. i.e. boring… or more so that’s how I normally view the word! But little did I know how brilliant the weekend was going to be!
Unlike inductions I have had before for different work purposes, this induction was engaging, exciting and extremely inspiring. There’s 5 of us at Loughborough going to Zambia, 3 of us are in the same group and the other 2 are going to Zambia in 2 different groups. We all took the 3 hour journey up to Durham to arrive nervously awaiting for what turned out to be the best weekend I’ve had in a very long time!
All we knew was our group, we didn’t know who would be in it. I am going with group 3, its the smallest of the groups, but I kind of like that. It hopefully will mean we are closer as a group and can do more together in our free time!
Wierdly, the first table we sat down on, we met two students from Durham. Both Hannah and Mark would be in group 3. As the morning began and a top class Durham lunch provided, we found the rest of our group and participated in Zambia Language games, icebreakers and began to find out more about what we would be doing. Definitely not boring!
The evening then saw a formal dinner where the bonds really began to form. All on the same table we ate our meal to which the best quote to summarise the meal would be “are you bringing the vegetables out or is this it?” The meal was lovely but does one carrot and a bit of parsnip really count as chicken with vegetables? I guess its plural and means more than one…but still….just the two! Regardless, the meal was lovely and the company even more so!
We then began to play different games and had an absolute laugh, safe to say these people turned from strangers to friends very quickly and I’m excited to spend my time in Zambia with these incredible people!
Firstly Collingwood Durham, what a breakfast! The day started with specific workshops on what we would be doing I am happy to announce I know my placement and I will be working with the Sport in Action non government organisation; https://www.facebook.com/sportinactionhome/ where I will be focusing on social and digital media. I will be evaluating the current social media platforms and implement change. Also, I will be devising a digital and social media policy and strategy and hopefully enhancing all of their media channels, promoting sport for all and much more! I really hope to create a campaign such as the SportEngland This Girl Can but for local Zambian girls. Female empowerment will definitely be one of my many aims as I am extremely passionate about women and sport.
The day continued to be informative, but also, it was a great laugh. We played more Zambian games, had scenario based sessions and culture workshops in the sunshine! I definitely learnt so much about expectations and working within Zambia, for example ZamTime!
The evening then progressed to an exciting Lazer Quest and bowling. I haven’t played Lazer Quest since the days of Tommy Taylors kids activity centre, so I knew I was going to be brilliant from the start… yeah…that is a lie! I came 21st out of 23… I suppose it could’ve been worse! Oh wait it could be… I finished last in my group at bowling… maybe leisure sports aren’t for me! Nonetheless it was such a laugh and we as a group have truly connected.
As the weekend came to an end the final morning saw any unanswered questions being answered, questions to the alumni and finally a presentation of how after the project we can stay involved through the Perfect Day Foundation: http://www.theperfectdayfoundation.org/ which I definitely would like to do on completion of the project.
I honestly am so grateful for this weekend it has made me feel so excited about the project, more relaxed and confident going ahead. I feel inspired, and I can’t wait for August to hurry up and get here so I can go and make a difference.
If you would like to donate to help me on my journey click the link ; https://give.everydayhero.com/uk/volunteer-zambia-sport-hannah-thompson