The Seaweed is Always Greener in Somebody Else’s Lake

Today’s lesson: Under The Sea! We started helping out more in the classroom as we began to get more comfortable teaching and working with the kids. They loved learning about the different sea creatures and we even did a craft so they could color different fish, octopus, coral, and seaweed. We put them all up on the bulletin board in the back to give them some color to the classroom.


Instead of afternoon projects today we had Cultural Day and got to learn a lot about Zambian culture. Many of the children, especially the girls, have no choice but to grow up quickly and take on many responsibilities at an early age. Many girls will be married, have children, and attend to their family and crops at an early age. This leaves little to no time for schooling, although school is not even affordable for many children. Fetching water may involve walking long distances, and even in the schools there is not usually any water available or bathrooms on site.

Regardless of these hardships, there is no shortage of happiness in the villages. Zambian people find joy in the little things and are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. Love abounds in Zambian villages and they bind together as a community, with everyone looking out for one another. Music and dance is another significant piece of Zambian culture. As part of cultural day at African Impact, the local staff attempted to teach us how to dance traditional Zambian style.

Music and dance are a form of expression across Africa of the different events that occurred throughout the centuries. The kids were all about the singing and dancing as well!

We also ate a traditional Zambian meal of Nshima for lunch. Nshima is the white stuff in the photo below that looks like mashed potatoes. It is made from ground maize and does not have very much taste, but it is typically served with two side dishes (known as “relishes”) such as a meat and a vegetable. Eating utensils are not used for Zambian meals as the Nshima serves as a sort of spoon to scoop up the other “relishes.” Mmm delicious!


Finally, we learned lots about the different tribes within Zambia. There are over 70 different tribes in Zambia alone. That means over 70 different languages! English is generally spoken among the entire population to allow for different tribes to be able to communicate with one another. The area where we stayed was home to mostly people from the Tonga tribe, which have proved to be in existence for at least 900 years in the southern province. Regardless of the many tribes in the country, people generally get along peacefully with one another, more so than many other African countries. It was very interesting to learn so much about Zambian culture, and the more time we spend in the country the more we learned!

Little Matters,



  1. Eduardo Carvalho Says: October 6, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Marissa,

    I am considering on the doing the Livingstone education & rural community development internship with African Impact. I´ve seen that you also made volunteering with them. Can you tell me about your experience? What do you think of the organization? etc 🙂

    Thanks a lot in advance,

    • Hi Eduardo, That is great news! African Impact is a great organization, and that is a wonderful program choice. The staff is super helpful on-site and will do whatever it takes to make sure you have a fantastic experience.

      I was in Livingstone in December and I loved it! Everyone was very welcoming and you get close with all the other volunteers during your stay because everyone lives in the volunteer house together. A friend I met in Zambia who is from Sweden even came to visit me in the US this summer!

      It was amazing to work with the kids as well, although it can be tough at times to see the hardships they all have to endure. But the toughest part for me really was leaving. The kids love having the volunteers around and you get really attached to each other that it makes it difficult to say goodbye.

      If you have more specific questions or just want to chat more about it, either reply to this thread or you can email me directly at [email protected]. Would love to hear about your experience if you end up going!


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