Joining the Challenges Worldwide ICS programme or anything similar was something that had never even crossed my mind until a friend sent me a link to apply. I applied not because I was interested but because I had nothing else to do and just wanted to leave home for a different experience.
During and after assessment i was thinking “this is not my thing” but I went ahead to do all that was required of me and a few days later received a call of approval to be part of the programme. I went on the programme nervous as I did not know anyone of the other volunteers. Meeting the UK volunteers made me even more nervous because I don’t do too well around new people let alone people from a different continent. The UK volunteers came in and the programme started. We were all paired with host home counterparts and work counterparts. At this moment I started to see the positives of the programme and I was actually excited for what awaited me.
My placement is a lodge (mint leaf lodge) providing accommodation, conferencing and outside catering which was not my kind of business before being placed. My counterpart Tom Heyworth is quiet younger than me and that was a turn off in the beginning because we could not get along at all. Within a few weeks though, we were able to resolve our differences and learnt to work together as that was the only way we could work and help the business.
After working in my business and settling in the host home for a few weeks, everything was falling into place. A lot of things I’m required to do are things that I had never thought I could do but I have been able to do successfully. My counterpart and I face a few challenges with the staff in terms of help with some information we need but it all works out in the end.
My home counterparts Ed, Merissa, Brian and my host home mum Mama G are some of the best people I have ever met. I’m always looking forward to going back home after work just to be with them as this experience with them has been very great.
I must say, as our cycle comes to an end I have realized that all my fears before the programme have been proved wrong as i now enjoy my work and might have my own business like the one I’m working in right now and be able to manage it successfully. I have made good friends whom I wouldn’t want to lose even after the programme. I’m definitely a more mature and empowered person now. This programme has helped me to realize I can do anything I set my heart to. I thank Challenges Worldwide Zambia and I would encourage youths out there to be more proactive and engage in voluntary work as it is a self-fulling experience.