From Nshima and Dance Parties to Burning Trash and Bumpy Roads
June 26th 2017. Global Citizen Charlie Overton wrote about CAC’s partnership with Zanimuone Black Stars in Lusaka, Zambia.
From eating Nshima (pronounced shima) and having dance parties to burning landfills of trash and very bumpy roads, my time in Lusaka Zambia will be with me for a lifetime. It was life changing as well as memorable. Furthermore, it was humbling and gratifying. Living in Lusaka was unlike any experience I’ve had in my life up until now.
Ashlyn and I stayed with our organizer, Betty, her husband of five years, Felix, and eight children ranging from ages 1 to 18. Now, if you think that Betty had all these children herself in some kind of “octomom” fashion, as well as working as a secretary, taxi driver, and starting a not for profit organization, then you would be wrong. She does work as all those things, but not all the children are directly hers. Three of them are her own, and the others she has welcomed into her home and they come from all different paths. Chikondi, who is around thirteen, is from Betty’s sister who passed away. Miriam, whom I apologize I do not know her exact age, but I believe is around seven or eight, came from Betty’s brother. He kept dropping Miriam off with Betty and then at different times coming back to pick her up. Betty saw this as very disruptive to Miriam’s growth as she kept being pulled out of school, so eventually she said enough was enough and that Miriam was going to stay with her. Then there are Moses, who I believe is around nine or ten, Chard, who we called Chadrick, eighteen, and his sister Jessica, seventeen. They all came from the surrounding area. Moses from one of Betty’s friends who she saw was unable to feed him. Chadrick came to Betty looking for work and Jessica came a little later when Chadrick told Betty that their parents did not want Jessica to go to school anymore. They all work very hard cleaning and cooking around the house in exchange for money, accommodation, and education. The three that are Betty’s own are named Bright, one, and Felix Jr., four, they do not do much but waddle around and ask for the football. Betty’s oldest, Alisha, aged ten, loved Indian soap operas when she was not at school, I am sure working hard! This was the setting we lived in for one week, and it taught me a lot about the value of hard work and working for everything you have. That is what these kids are learning in Betty’s household, because as she said, “they need to work hard, because life won’t be easy,” that is a very valuable lesson. It is one I can remember my parents trying to get me to understand, but I was not very receptive to it. I suppose I had to travel to Zanimuone West in Lusaka, Zambia for it to really hit home.
As in any place there are always not as nice things that go along with the nice ones, and Lusaka was no different. These things included that near the field we did our training at there was a massive landfill that was constantly burning their trash in order to make room for the even more massive amounts of trash coming in. On one of the days the wind shifted and caused the smoke to come and hang right over our field, this caused breathing to be very difficult. Furthermore, Zanimuone West, the district of Lusaka we were staying in, was an up and coming area, therefore, the roads had not been paved so it was very rocky and bumpy and in many places. However, this also created some funny moments, such as pushing Betty’s car off of a huge bump that it got beached on. With the good and the bad, Lusaka proved to be extremely life changing, and I am very thankful to Betty and her family for housing us and feeding us. The experience will stay with me forever.
Nothing Is Black And White
June 12th 2017. CAC Global Citizen Charlie Overton writes about his 1st week with CAC in Livingstone, Zambia with New Hope Waves.
With the week coming to a close, so does my first week in Africa. We left Livingstone this morning and arrived in Lusaka the capital of Zambia early in the afternoon. As we enter the weekend and look forward to the Champions League final tonight, I am also looking forward to my second week being a Global Citizen with CAC. I am looking forward to being able to have something to compare with my time in Livingstone. I had an amazing time in Livingstone, it was a great way to begin my experience working with CAC. It was also my first time in Africa and a “developing” country. This made it difficult to describe my emotions, whenever anyone asked me what I thought of Livingstone or Africa in general. Everything was new to me, so I was just taking it all in.
Now that my week is over, I am able to sit back and think about my experience. As I said before I had an amazing time in Livingstone. I loved and still love the people of Livingstone, they are all extremely friendly and welcoming. We stayed in the Jollyboys campground, which felt like our own little compound, because for the majority of our time their Ashlyn (the CAC team leader) and I were the only ones there. A great part about this was that the employees working there were much more relaxed, especially at night. It was great to watch movies with Daniel, the man who works at night. He always watches movies at night, depending on which movies were being shown on the movie channels. We watched the James Bond movie Skyfall the first night and two Transformers movies the following night. Also, a perk of having a hostel to yourself is that when Ashlyn and I wanted to exercise we did not have to worry about being in anyone’s way, or worrying about the showers being occupied afterwards. I highly recommend the Jollyboys campground, when you are the only guests there.
Furthermore, staying in the campground, as opposed to the backpackers lodge more in town, was beneficial, because most of the time the Mzungus (white people) who come to Livingstone do not really go into the surrounding areas and see the real side of Livingstone. However, our week with New Hope Waves and the founder Aldridge required us to work at a field that was in a neighborhood called Malota, which is one of the more impoverished areas in Livingstone. As we would walk back to town some days, because usually everyone walks to places in Livingstone, we would walk by markets selling second hand clothes, garbage piles falling into nearby rivers, and smiling children running up to us, because they were very excited to see a white person. How were we supposed to go out and see these impoverished people and places, and return to the touristy hostel where people are busy getting drunk and only interested in going to touristy places like Victoria Falls. Do not get me wrong seeing the Victoria Falls was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had in my life. It was without a doubt the wettest experience I have had. An absurd amount of water falls on you as you try take a picture of a natural wonder. However, coming to Livingstone just to see the falls and party at your hostel I don’t believe counts as a way to truly experience Africa and its people. They are missing out on learning some of the local language and seeing the smile on the people of Livingstone’s faces when you say, “zikomo,” which means thank you. In my opinion those smiles matter more to me than any drink I could have had.
In a time when the relationship between black and white is very tense, my time in Livingstone shows both the effects of a positive relationship and a negative one. As people coming from the “west” we have to be careful of our role in African life. Africa is not our playground. It is not a place where we can come, stay in a lavish hostel, see some wild animals, go see a natural wonder for a week or a few days, and then say we have been to Africa. I do not think this constitutes as Africa. Did we talk to the people? Get to know any of them? Where are they from? What do they do for work or for fun? What are their dreams and aspirations? In many places around the world I think it is okay to be a tourist, and only go to the touristy places. However, in Africa or other places where colonialism and western powers have caused many issues in the development of these countries we need to be careful and sure about our intentions when we visit these wonderful places. Because do not get me wrong these places are truly wonderful. Colonialism has definitely caused many issues by creating the foundations for unequal distribution of power. And although colonialism is technically over some of those foundations are still around. Colonialism is still being blamed for the poverty in Africa, but although I saw many people living in poor conditions with garbage all over the places and kids playing soccer with ripped shoes or no shoes I also saw that there were places and people in Livingstone with money and wealth. They may not have been millionaires, but they were well off. Therefore, unlike the way it is commonly perceived, Africans are not all poor. It is not black and white. Livingstone is a wonderful place with both rich and poor living very close side by side. Hopefully with the work CAC is doing with New Hope Waves the people of Livingstone can help the less fortunate to grow and everyone can prosper in this amazing place.
The CAC Partner Experience
August 5th 2016. Kebby Shampongo, founder of CAC partner Malalo Sports Foundation, discusses the impact of the partnership on Malalo and the communities they serve in the Copperbelt of Zambia.
Coach’ – I usually go by Rubén-
-‘Could I rest a little bit today before we start?
-No problem. Everything OK? – He had sleepy eyes and a pale face.
– I worked the night shift at the mine, but I wanted to come!
Some of us just continue yielding, happy and without resistance, to the gravitational power of the Ball. After a week full of great commitment gestures and deep and transforming learning in Chingola, Zambia, we talked to our friends of Malalo Sports, a Sports for Social Impact Organization based in Chililabombwe, to discover together how their unique Pathway with CAC will look. With their vision set on evolution and reaching youth nationwide, they shared with us how their work, in partnership with CAC, has impacted the communities of Chililabombwe and Chingola, where they currently focus their operations:
“The Malalo Sports Foundation has significantly improved in using sports for social change in Chililabombwe and Chingola. It has been three years of great partnership with CAC and Malalo Sports Foundation. Before the partnership with Coaches Across Continents, as a coach and Director of the Foundation, I could not figure out how we could meet the challenges that our young people were facing such as:
1. Alcohol Abuse
2. Environmental challenges (trash-Bottles and plastics)
I have been coaching for years before becoming an administrator. Some of my players play football for local professional teams and international teams across Africa. However some of the boys and girls would not attain the highest level of sporting, moral excellence and community leadership. The partnership with CAC three years ago came at the right time as Malalo Sports Foundation (MSF) collaborates with over 75 coaches from the two communities to use football as a tool for social change. The collaboration has impacted over 5,000 children and young people in our communities. The community leaders and coaches now have been able to deliver the CAC curriculum to the communities and children. We have seen a drastic reduction in the abuse of alcohol, coaches are able to create a safe working environment for the children while internal sporting/community conflicts are being solved by the participants (children and youths). Coaches and teams from local organizations and schools have appealed to our leadership to work closely with CAC and devise innovative ways on how we can replicate this model to other communities.
It has been a great experience for us to learn from CAC staff and volunteers drawn from diverse backgrounds and cultures over the last three years and we would recommend that we explore future collaborations. We believe sustained relationship with CAC shall highly benefit the people of Zambia . I would also like to salute you for your constant engagement and support. We at MSF have a lot of room to learn and improve even from other communities that CAC serve globally.
I would also like to salute my team (Able Chewe and Philimon Chitalu) for their tireless efforts despite running on a shoe string budget.
Sporting wishes to you all.
Love, peace and harmony”
New Family in Zambia
July 26th 2016. First-time volunteer, Macie Jones, writes about her experience in Kabwe, Zambia with Intersport Youth Development.
Kabwe, what is there to say about my experience in Kabwe, Zambia? so many emotions that I feel in my heart but not enough words to describe them. When I made the choice to volunteer for Coaches Across Continents and come to Zambia; I had a lot of questions in my head, what will Zambia be like? What will the people be like? As far as CAC I definitely didn’t know what to expect; How is it possible to use soccer for social impact? And what exactly is Self-Directed Learning? Before coming to an unknown place you have images in your head you have gathered from other people, pictures in books, etc of what it will look like but you never know until you’re there. A friend of mine who has been to Africa told me about the people and her exact words were “to get ready to be loved by people like never before!” and that in fact is very accurate.
This is my experience in Kabwe, Zambia… Nora and I arrived early to the bus station, so no one was there to pick us up. We decided to find wifi and if we could find a place with food and wifi that would be a plus. We found the food but no wifi. After eating we went on a search to find wifi. We found a lovely guest lodge that let us use their wifi and we were able to get in touch with Eddie from Intersport Youth Development. He came to pick us up and brought us to the house we would be staying at. When we arrived, there was a family to meet us in their home with open arms. The first thing I saw were two little boys with huge smiles on their faces; I knew then I was in for a treat to be able to stay with this family. The warmness I felt being around them is something I wish to feel with everyone and it was astonishing that I could feel that with these people who I have never met before, who live in another continent and from a different culture. We may come from different places, have different traditions and different skin color but our willingness to connect with one another was the same. I felt as if they were family and I were family to them. That night I had Nshima for the first time, we talked, got to know each other, I asked a lot of questions and they were polite enough to answer them all with smiles and laughter. Due to national soccer trials we would not start CAC training till Tuesday so that meant we had the Monday off. Because we had Monday off, I was able to visit (my host mom) Leah’s school where she teaches, play futbol with some local kids in the area and I was fortunate enough to attend a Kitchen Party, which celebrates two people getting married. It was such a cool experience to see a different tradition celebrating two people getting married. When we were at the party, I asked Leah if others think it is strange that I am here and she told me “No they are honored that you are here, it means that you accept us, it means a lot to them and me that you are here.” It was humbling to hear those words.
The next day… CAC training has begun. I was eager to see how soccer and social issues would be combined and couldn’t wait to meet the coaches. The coaches came with full energy and ready to open up about the issues in their community and ways to make them better. We only had two days with the coaches of Kabwe but I feel that it was a very successful two days. They were filled with good energy, eagerness, openness, laughter, hand shakes and learning. My thoughts on CAC are that it is incredible. It is incredible to see games being used as a tool for social impact. It’s incredible to see the light turn on for the coaches when they realize that they can use these games to help the youth that they coach, not just in soccer but in life as well.. It is domino affect of positive social impact through soccer and that is incredible. The last day in Kabwe I was able to go visit the kids in Leah’s school, this is something I had visioned doing since I was a little girl, not sure why of this vision but it has been there for sometime and that day my vision became reality. I loved meeting the students at Lukanga school and they were so happy to meet me as well; another humbling experience in Kabwe. My first experience working with CAC in Kabwe has made me a better person. Nora let me read her blog and the title of one of her entries is “hello, goodbye.” I didn’t understand the title at first but now I do, you say hello to these amazing people and then you have to turn right around and say goodbye. I may have said goodbye in person but I will carry the people and my experience in Kabwe, Zambia in my heart, always.
My Week In Chililabombwe
July 12th 2016. Community Impact Coach Elvis Nshimba wrote about his time with CAC and Malalo Sports Foundation in Chililabombwe, Zambia.
I’m very happy and honored to work with Coaches Across Continents. In 2014, I attended the training of CAC games in Lubumbashi within my organization (Malaika Foundation). The following year I attended the second training with interest and was committed to implement what I was learning.
I realized that working with Coaches Across Continents as a Community Impact Coach is an important thing for my life and for my organization. My application was accepted and I was appointed to go and implement games we learned at Chililabombwe in Zambia.
Being my first time to work as a Community Impact Coach in a foreign country, I felt very excited as my need to travel is growing. I had a great week in Chililabombwe from the 3rd to the 10th of July with a great team: Nora Dooley, Ruben Alvarado, Macie Jones and Nico Achimpota.
I began teaching games that I didn’t know before, but as a Community Impact Coach, I was able to read them once and understand what I could do with local coaches in Zambia. Teaching the first game wasn’t so easy, but the second and the following were great games we taught.
In this trip, I learned many things about people, their lifestyle, different issues they have in their community and I improved my English. Zambian coaches were very kind, friendly and humble. They were good at implementing games we taught them, and committed to positively impact their community by using sport with boys and girls.
I would like to thank very much the Boards of Coaches Across Continents who allowed me, through this program, to go beyond my country, and as a Community Impact Coach, I wish to keep on running On-Field programs with them any where they can send me as a volunteer. I’m also grateful to Ruben and Nora who helped me improve my knowledge in implementing games.
As long as this program keeps on being run, I hope to contribute with my knowledge and my energy to impact the world with positive messages through sports.
On the Sandy Grounds of Maramba
Community Impact Coach Frank Chivawura, from Zimbabwe, writes about his work with CAC and New Hope Waves in Livingstone, Zambia.
July 5th 2016. The amazing thing about sport is that despite our differences, it brings us together. I was privileged to meet with Nora, Carrie and Nico, the CAC coaches at Harare’s Prince Edwards Boys High where they were facilitating a Coaches Across Continents (CAC) training in Zimbabwe, in conjunction with Sports Recreation Commission of Zimbabwe. The experience in Zambia would not have been the same without this vibrant group.
It was a long journey from Zimbabwe, Harare to Livingstone, Zambia. Nico and I left for Zambia at 17:00hrs only to arrive in Livingstone, Zambia at 07:30 the following morning. This was my second time as a Community Impact Coach (CIC) but my first time travelling internationally with Coaches Across Continents.
It was an exciting week in Livingstone. CAC was working with the New Hope Waves in the sandy Namatama grounds of Maramba. Being the second time as a CIC, the first time being in my country Zimbabwe, I had thought that all was going to be the same as the last time, but I was wrong. It was a different country, place, ground, different CAC coaches, and even the way the curriculum was delivered was different and more exciting.
I had the opportunity to train more than 30 community coaches who were a delight to work with. They were passionate and very eager to learn more games. What excited me the most was the feedback we had every morning when the coaches came to the field for training. From the day we started training with the few games that the coaches learnt, the games were already being implemented. Some of the coaches had teams they were training in the afternoons and the CAC games were already being used. It made me feel so warm inside. I felt so much confidence and it made me realise that it can only take but a few to change the way people think in life. Already, I could see change in the coaches. Coaches started coming early and could not wait to start training. And in the afternoons they implemented what they had learnt. All this made me recall this statement from one of the CAC leaders Adam Burgess, “being on the field when you see children and coaches smiling you know that learning is taking place”. Coaches were smiling and so excited to know what was coming next which was a good sign. Even When Nora, who was leading our group, asked for the coaches to go for water breaks, on several occasions you would hear the coaches saying ‘no no let’s move on we need more games’.
Nora made it all easy for me as she was supportive and was always encouraging coaches. Her ways of coaching were different and yet educating and very exciting. She made coaches laugh doing her cuckoo dance which was hilarious. CAC volunteer Carrie Taylor was calm and firm. She made the whole week wonderful with the unique way she used Children’s Rights in coaching games. And CIC Nico from Tanzania was full of fun. This team was great and I learnt a lot through each and every game they taught.
On the last day of training during the coach backs, I was so impressed by the way the games were being adapted. One of the groups led by Musso performed the Children’s Rights game in a different way. They had four areas that represented different child rights and what was beautiful and touching was that the group changed the way the game was played and brought in hand ball. In the game they used hands instead of feet. The rule was before passing the ball you should first touch the ground with the ball then pass. The team would score points by receiving the ball in the grid and the whole team has to shout the type of right the grid represented together.
I was very excited to be part of this group and am so thankful to the organizers of CAC who made it possible for me to travel to Zambia which made me feel important and useful in the community. Sports for social impact will go a long way in changing people’s lives. Though there is still a lot of work to be done in our communities, this initiative will help a lot of people, teachers, coaches and students play their part in their communities.