David Livingstone once said: If you have men who will come if there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.
And going where no road was, this great missionary and explorer put southern and central Africa on the map. To this day David Livingstone is known as one of the greatest explorers of all time. But more than that, he gave his time and his care to the natives he came across. As a doctor he treated them and did all in his power to put an end to the slave trade. When he died, his faithful servants buried his heart in Africa, saying he loved the continent so much, the heart belonged there.
When I tell people I am going to Africa, the reaction usually follows the same pattern. Their eyes go wide and they present me with a single question. “Why Africa?”
My initial response is, “Well, why not?”
But that probably isn’t that great of an explanation so I am giving a more in depth view as to why I am picking up and moving to a country so far and so unlike my own.
Growing up, I was never one of those people who planned to settle down, get a job, raise a family, and then retire. The unknown always called to me. It beckoned to me. I wanted to do more than just live for myself, I wanted to bring help to others. I wanted to be a part in making our world a better place. I wanted to make the world beautiful. By the time I had finished school I had set a dream before me. I wanted to go to Africa. More importantly, I wanted to go to what I called ‘Livingstone’s Africa’. I wanted to go to the part of the continent where my childhood hero had lived and worked and died. Like him I wanted to make a difference. Except I didn’t want to travel as a doctor, but as a teacher. I wanted to work with children, I wanted to help them build a future, I wanted to help them have a life worth living.
Dreams are never realized easy, if they were they would lose their value. At first it seemed my desire to go to go anywhere just hitting dead end after dead end. Still, I didn’t let the dream die. As I struggled with grasping the idea of adult life, I kept this dream burning in my heart. I helped my parents with their youth project, I studied graphic design, I worked to help pay the bills, but I told everyone it was just a temporary settlement, one day I am going to Africa. I didn’t know how I would get there or where I would end up, I simply prayed for God to show me the way to go and waited. It was this dream that helped me through some rather tough years in my life, when everything I hoped for just didn’t seem to be working out for me. It helped me cope, it helped me not give up. I couldn’t give up, because if I did how would I get to Africa?
And five years after I set my dream, it began coming true.
It all started with an email. In February A friend, whose parents are missionaries in Africa, wrote me and said her mom had a friend who ran a school in Zambia and was looking for a teacher. My initial response was to just write one big YES! But of course I had to be reasonable and weigh out the facts before giving an answer. When the decision was made to travel to Zambia for half a year and work in the school, it was both exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Yet the goal was worth it, so I took a deep breath and began the preparations.
The school that has invited me is called Brilliant Kids. It is a small NGO/mission school situated in Zambia’s second largest city. One of the main objectives of BK is to have a great impact on the education of children in Zambia. They run a pre and primary school with the purpose to provide to the foreign diplomats, investors and missionaries the educational level they desire for their children and thus encourage and enable them to further develop the community. On the other hand these children’s fees provide the financial means for a number of bright Zambian children to attend the BK school as part of their sponsorship program
Brilliant Kids also helps to organize workshops and seminars for teachers from around the country where the school provides hands on training with a clear example of what should they aim for in the instruction and teaching they provide at the learning centers where they work
Also BK is working to provide basic education in remote rural areas of the country where there’s nothing of the sort. During the last 5 years Brilliant Kids have set up two such places of basic education, calling them “community schools”. Both places are deep in the ‘bush’ area with the closest learning center more than 40 km away.
In going to work at Brilliant Kids, I hope not only to be a teacher to the students there, but to actively participate in teaching workshops and the setting up of schools in remote areas.
It is of course a large change in my life. Traveling to another country, living a new way of life, dealing with all the problems that will come about, but I know it is where God wants me to be, and I sincerely hope to make a difference in the lives of children and young people. I want to give them hope for their future and show them that no matter how big and seemingly impossible their dreams are, there is hope that one day they can fulfill them too. Sometimes you can’t get the dream fulfilled on your own, sometimes you need help, sometimes you need someone to guide you into the right direction. Brilliant Kids has given me the wonderful opportunity to do what I want to do most in life, in turn I want to give the same opportunity to other children, and I want to challenge you to also become a part of helping others have a chance at a better life. Let’s make the world beautiful together, one step at a time.
If you would like to be a part of my journey to the heart of Livingstone’s Africa and help in making the world beautiful there are several things you can do.
Follow my blog To Make the World Beautiful at: https://tomaketheworldbeautiful.wordpress.com/ I will be updating newsletters, photos, thoughts and articles on my journey to Africa.
Follow me on Instagram for regular photo updates. You can find me at: https://www.instagram.com/justalittlesparrow/
You can also make a donation to help support my trip. Through the year I have worked hard to raise the finances I need for the journey. During the school year I taught English as a second language and all through out the summer I worked in summer camps. Through hard work and the help and generosity of friends I was able to raise nearly 1000$. I still need to raise at least another 700$. You can help by making a donation via paypal at this email address: email@example.com
(due to Russia’s policy, you cannot accept money via paypal through any Russian banks, thus a friend from England has offered her account to accept international donations. When you are sending the money please write: For Lada’s Africa Trip, so she can set the money aside when it comes. She will pass the money on to me when she comes to Russia this August.)
If you have made a donation, please send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can add you to my mailing list and send you regular updates and newsletters about my work in Africa.
It will be a journey into the unknown, but I am excited about what it will bring and what I will learn. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.