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Taylor's Trip to Zambia - 2020

Taylor's Trip to Zambia - 2020

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Taylor Goedhart, PT | April 06, 20

Taylor’s Trip to ZAMBIA – 2020

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Zambia, Africa with a group of fellow Canadians. Our trip was organized by Edu-Deo, a Christian-based organization in Ontario, and more specifically we worked as a part of their “HANDS” (Helping Another Nation Develop Schools) program, which works in conjunction with a cohort of Christian schools in Zambia.

This trip was an incredible experience for many reasons! As a born and raised farm kid, the hard construction work in the hot sun was right up my alley. As a team our main construction task was cement parging over the red clay brick walls. This involved mixing concrete by hand, then using trowels to apply the cement to the walls. The most important aspect or component of the trip was the interactions I was able to have with the local people and the relationships I was able to build.

The language barrier provided a challenge at times, especially with the older people who may not have went to school and learned English when they were younger. The national language is English, but there are 73 different languages and dialects spoken across the country of Zambia. I was also able to pick up a few key words and phrases in the region’s local language if Tumbuka. When all else failed, a smile and a laugh seemed to be universal.

The highlights for me were seeing the smiles and joy that all of the children had, especially when they were able to hold our hands or play any type of game. The children were very keen to learn English and were excellent at repeating phrases and learning songs.

I also was able to interact and collaborate with one of the teachers at the school, and she allowed me to participate in and lead her 8th Grade Physical Education class on a few occasions. I was able to share some of my knowledge as a physiotherapist to help them to build their foundations of warming up before activity and stretching. I also was able to teach gym class to the female students one day. The students got quite a kick out of the “muzungu” (white person) trying to teach Netball, a sport that I knew nothing about.

We visited several other schools along the way, most of them were previous HANDS building projects. Each of them greeted us warmly with smiles and hugs (any chance they could get to touch our skin or our hair). We were able to gift each school with a new soccer ball, which was always very well received. It was very interesting to see the other balls that they had created to use; the most common was black plastic tied tightly together with netting material.

I would like to thank FIT Physiotherapy for their generous donation towards the purchase of soccer balls. It’s a gift that extends far beyond the physical ball, and helps to build community and encourage physical activity in these communities!

Thanks for following along,