Monday, August 31, 2015

The Compound.

One day we went to the compound which is essentially the slum. I have been to a compound in Zambia before but it is always humbling. Especially when I just moved into an apartment and I feel like it is tiny but it is about 4 times larger and infintely nicer than any of these homes. 

It is kind of like a humility smack in the face.



We were able to teach our lesson to a group of about 70 girls and women. This was by far the largest group we had taught and we knew it was going to be a little tricky because we had to use an interpreter. 


We had a really cool experience while we were teaching. We were talking about the female anatomy and we taught the word vagina. As soon as we said that some of the older women told us we needed to skip over that part, but as soon as they said that the younger girls all said "no. We need to learn about this!" It made us pause for a minute and made us really proud. These young girls understood how important this stuff was for them. It made me hopeful for this coming generation and the changes they can make in their country.



The best part of this whole experience was being able to hand out the Days for Girls kits. These women are poorer than anyone else we had taught and would most likely only be able to use rags or leaves when they were on their period. Getting these kits is really going to change their lives and we could see that just from their reactions.






I really can not express enough gratitude to all the people that helped make this trip possible. We were really able to help people and I feel like we actually made a difference.  This has been such a blessing to me and I know it was a blessing to those who we taught.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday.

Happy friday!

I hope everyone is having a better Friday then me. I am hoping to go out of town but school projects are currently holding me back. However, I am happy that we finally got the rest of our wedding video back.

video

Blogger can't upload the highest resolution so if you want to watch it in HD click the link below. 


(There are some copyright issues with some of the songs we picked so it is private. The password is 2)

I hope everyone has the best weekend ever!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Relief Society

In addition to teaching the young women's group we also taught a Relief Society. Relief Society is the women's group that is part of the LDS church.


I was a little nervous to be teaching these women that were all older than me. I felt like they should be teaching me because they have so much more life experience. And in a way I guess they did. 

Watching these women interact with each other and support each other was so wonderful. It reminded me what relief society is all about. 



Relief Society is about supporting women and helping build each other up. Our lessons focused a lot on how girls can support each other. My last relief society was really great and I felt connected to a lot of the women but since we have gotten married I have not felt as connected to my relief society. I know it is always difficult when you first move in but it has also been an adjustment because this is a family ward instead of a singles ward. In the singles ward everyone is kind of in the same position so it is easy to connect with each other. In a family ward things are more difficult because everyone is at a different stage of life. 

Thinking about these women (of all ages) and how they were all friends with each other inspired me. We do not have to only be connected to people that are in our same life situation. We can be taught and loved by people of all ages. That is such a simple concept but it has been difficult for me to grasp. Working with these ladies and feeling their love has inspired me to express more love and support to the women in my own life. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Recently.

I interrupt this seemingly never ending stream of Africa posts with one about what is actually happening in our lives right now.  Spencer and I have both been busy little bees lately so we haven't done too many exciting things but I think our life is pretty satisfying.

We took a lot of selfies because what is better than taking selfies?




We went to two days of the Tour of Utah and I didn't take on picture of the cyclists.





We celebrated three months of marriage by going to a reception at Cactus & Tropicals (where we had our reception) and realizing that the past three months have gone super fast but also super slow.


It was hot as hades in Salt Lake so we escaped to Park City for the night.



These last few weeks of summer have been great and I am so not ready for summer to end. No no no school!



Monday, August 24, 2015

She Talks to the World

So I said before that I went to Zambia with a group called "Healthy Am I" and that is true but we also teamed up with a group called "She Talks to the World". And let me tell you about these unbelievably generous and amazing people. 

The goal of She Talks to the World is to educate girls. Their first step in reaching this goal is starting a girls school. This school will teach girls in addition to their regular school. It is aiming to teach them marketable skills so they can contribute to their communities and support themselves. Their group was going to Zambia to get everything set up for the school and to have the opening ceremonies. 

We were so excited that we got to be a part of their vision. We were going to help their goal by teaching the girls our health curriculum because if the girls don't know how to  care for their bodies they will not be able to support themselves or their familes.

We spent the first few days doing lots of manual labor (I will go into more detail about this later)  and getting to know the girls.






One day in particular the girls shared with us their stories. Where they came from and what their family situation is. You always hear horrific stories and they make you sad but they do not always stick with you. Hearing the stories firsthand from these girls was very humbling. Their lives have been filled with hardship and unlike what most people say, they are not always happy.  It really bothers me when people say that they go on trips like this and they see people that are in such difficult situations but they are still smiley and happy. That is just not true. They do not have super human powers of happiness but they are moving forward. They are doing their best in the situations they have been placed in and in my opinion they are doing marvelously. And most of the time they are happy but their happiness is not what sticks out to me. Their will and their drive to have a better life is what really impacted me. 






These girls are harworking, inspriring, and brilliant. People underestimate girls which is why it is so important to educate them. We had another experience with a group of women that had all been abused by their husbands. These older women were not empowered at all and it was heartbreaking it see how they had to totally rely on others to support themselves. That is very common in many cultures around the world. It was so powerful for me to see that we are breaking that cycle. We are helpng to give girls the skills they need to empower themselves and already I could see how much more poerful these girls were than any other women I met in Zambia. 

This is really important stuff and I am so grateful I got to play a small role in it. 

Please please please check out www.shetalkstotheworld.org. They are an amazing organization made up of the best people you could ever imagine. I am sure you will be inspired just reading about their message and goals. They are going to change the world. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Jumping off a bridge

I never in my whole life thought I would do something like jump off a bridge. But I did it and I am so proud of myself!

First of all this is the view from the bridge. Pretty casual, right?


Honestly, I was more nervous the day before than I was just before I was about to jump. I really didn't think I would be able to do it but I knew I would regret it if I didn't. So off the bridge I jumped.



I think our smiles are masking fear. 


video

And we all survived to take this beautiful picture.



Friday, August 21, 2015

Victoria Falls.

I have said it like a million times but there are no words to describe Victoria Falls. Like literally no words. It was one of the most awe-inspiring places I have ever been.


 I don't think I have ever felt so small or powerless. To see so much water and so much power was seriously breath taking. I don't think I will ever go anywhere so amazing in my whole life. It was so worth the sketchy 9 hours bus ride to get here. 




When you walk across that bridge there is so much spray that you get soaking wet. People were wearing ponchos and I thoughts they were just being dramatic but we were totally drenched by the time we got to the other side. 


It is no surprise that this has been named a World Heritage Site. If you ever get anywhere near it you have to go. It is so worth any cost of traveling you may have to do. I promise you will not regret it.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

First Lesson

We were not just in Africa to play with animals. Although it seems like we did a lot of that and I wish we had more time to do more. But we were in Africa to work.

I went with an organization called Healthy Am I. This organization has created a ton of health material, particularly lessons about female health and menstruation. They had so much information that me and the other intern (Lismore) had to go through a lot of it and create our own mini lessons out of their huge wonderful super detailed lessons. So we spent the first part of the summer doing that, then we tested the lessons on the trip and now we are working through the lessons again so we can make them the best they can be.

The day after we arrived in Lusaka we were scheduled to teach a young women's group. We were super terrified but also really excited. We had done all this hard work and now we were going to see if our efforts paid off.


The topics we were teaching can be a little awkward so we started the lesson with get to know you games so everyone felt more comfortable. And then we jumped right in.

 We had spent so much time dealing with this topic that we had no awkwardness at all. And luckily the girls were pretty receptive and involved in our lessons. We were really worried that the lessons would not sink in at all if the girls felt too uncomfortable but these girls were wonderful and really got into it. By the end people were sharing really personal experiences and you could feel that the whole group was bonding. 


These girls are amazing and each time we taught a lesson we got to understand more and more about the struggles of being a woman around the world. It made me really grateful to live in America and at the same time it made me want to do something more. I think without this really good first lesson and  without this group of girls the rest of the trip would not have gone as well. I am so grateful for these girls and their willingness to learn our lessons and to teach us things at the same time. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Animal Adventures

Lusaka is a pretty big city so there are not many wild animals around. We had a safari planned for later on the trip so I wasn't too anxious about seeing animals while we were in Lusaka but once Lismore discovered a baby elephant orphanage and Linda told us about a campground with animals we had to go!


We were so excited we could barely stand it! Linda had been before so she told us where to stand so we could get the best view of the elephants. These babies walked right past us! I could have reached out and touched them. They were so amazing!



These elephants were orphaned because their mothers were poached. It was really sad hearing about their different stories and where they were rescued. It was sad but amazing that there were people doing things to help them. 




After we spent a long time looking at the babies and took way too many pictures it was time to leave. The only way this could have bee better is if we could touch the elephants but because they plan to reintroduce them into the wild when they are old enough they are not able to let humans interact with them. 

After the baby elephants we went to a campground that just had animals roaming around. We pulled up and this was the first thing we saw.


How cool is that??





There were giraffes, zebras, and kudu just wandering in around. It was like we were in a jurassic park for animals. Which is just like being in nature haha.