At Exodus, we believe in the transformative power of travel, which is why creating sustainable adventures is at the heart of everything we do and how we operate. Travel can and should be a force for good, so we passionately seek to improve life through travel — for the places we visit, the people we meet, and the planet we explore. Through the Exodus Travels Foundation, we are continuously and proactively seeking ways to make a positive impact, whether that’s working with organisations to restore wild areas and promote biodiversity, pursuing carbon reduction across our trips and offices, or creating education programmes and cultural trips for young adults in the world’s most remote corners.
In poorer communities such as Lusaka in Zambia, young, underprivileged students rarely get the opportunity to visit some of the many remarkable places within their home country. So, after working closely with Baraka Community Partnerships for many years, the Exodus Travels Foundation funded a new short trip for 16 young adults, so they could see and learn about their local wildlife and culture, while also getting the opportunity to visit one of the greatest natural wonders in the world – Victoria Falls.
Thanks to the help of our expert local guides and members of the Baraka Community, the group was able to learn more about the geography and history of Zambia and interact with different local tribes and cultures. They also visited Kariba dam, one of the largest dams in the world, designed to generate hydroelectric power. The creation of this dam back in the 1950s played a pivotal role in the development of modern Zambia environmentally, financially, and culturally. Read on to find out more about how this group of young adults got on during their 5-day educational trip across Zambia.
Day 1: Lake Kariba and the Kariba Dam
Early in the morning on 3rd May this year, the new Baraka bus set out on its first trip, taking Baraka’s sponsored college students on an educational trip, packed with new cultural experiences with visits to the Kariba Dam, Livingstone and Maamba. The trip was led by Francis Bwalya, the Sponsorship Programme Manager, supported by Learning Centre Staff Bupe Chabala, Timmy Mutukwa and Leen Mondwa. The bus for this trip was procured as a result of the fundraising by Baraka’s Canadian supporters, a wonderful new asset for the Learning Centre. After the students were collected from Kabwe and Lusaka, they proceeded to Siavonga where they all spent the first night.
During their first day in Siavonga, the group of students visited the Kariba Dam which sits on Lake Kariba, the world’s largest manmade lake. The dam, which borders both Zambia and Zimbabwe, produces over 80% of Zambia’s electricity. While they were there, the students learnt more about the construction of the dam and how hydroelectric power is generated. The group also heard anecdotes and local legends about the mythical river god Nyami-Nyami who is believed to have been frustrated during the construction of the dam.
Melody, one of the medical students said, “It was my first time seeing Lake Kariba and the Kariba Dam, and I was amazed by how big the area is. It was interesting to hear how the late Queen Elizabeth officiated the opening of the dam too. I am grateful to the Exodus Travels Foundation for helping to organise this trip.”
Day 2-3: Victoria Falls, Livingstone Museum, Mosi-O-Tunya National Park
The next morning the group continued onto Livingstone. Passing diverse towns and villages en route, they broke up the long journey by playing quizzes and games organised by Bupe and Francis. After the bus arrived at the lodge an exciting day lay ahead with visits to Victoria Falls, Livingstone Museum, the Mosi-O-Tunya National Park and the Reptile Farm. None of the students had ever been to Livingstone before and they were all keen to visit the mighty Victoria Falls, while also hoping to spot elephants, rhinos and crocodiles, and learn more about their country’s rich history at the Livingstone Museum.
When they returned in the evening, the students were keen to share how they got on. One of the biomedical students, Memory commented, “It was amazing to see the magnitude of the falls, the sound of the water, and the mist surrounding them. The tour was one of the most exceptional things I have ever experienced.” While Evans, another biomedical student said “The Museum was so fascinating. I got to learn about the history and culture of Zambia, how Victoria Falls was discovered and why the region was named after David Livingstone during his first visit to Zambia. I also learned about the lifestyle of the Iron and Stone Age people. I had a great time. Thank you so much Exodus.”
When it came to the tour of Mosi-O-Tunya National Park, public health student, Martha explained, “The tour was great, and we got lucky and saw lots of different species such as rhinos, giraffes, warthogs, impalas, and elephants. I was so happy because it was the first time in my life I had seen giraffes and rhinos.” Another student even mentioned how he never thought he’d ever leave his village, so to have this adventure was something he had never dreamed of. He kept thanking the staff for giving him this opportunity.
Day 4: Baraka Girls Safe House
The following day, the group left Livingstone for the town of Maamba to visit the Baraka Girls’ Safe House. This was a rare opportunity for the Baraka College Students to interact with local girls in Maamba. All are part of the Baraka sponsorship programme, but due to distances, they rarely get a chance to meet. It is an important part of the programme that the older students support the younger ones and while they were there, they assisted the girls with their studies in English, maths and science and helped with gardening. In the evening, everyone got to relax in the garden, which is the pride and joy of the matron, Doris. The night was filled with a BBQ and games – a big treat for everyone! The female students also got the opportunity to get to know the girls even better by staying overnight, while the male students slept in a local lodge nearby.
Gloria, a local girl at the Maamba Safe House said, “It was exciting meeting a student who is doing law as I’ve always wanted to do law as well. She told me details about the course she was doing, and it inspired me to work even harder.” Safe House Mentor and Teacher, Evelyn Hanjili, was keen to comment, “Having the college students at the Safe House gave the girls much-needed confidence that they can achieve their goals if they work hard, especially as some of the visiting girls were former residents at the Safe House. The students offered real insight and help with their studies, particularly maths and science which are the subjects they all find most difficult.”
It was a particularly worthwhile visit for Mercy, a current Midwifery student. “I was really glad to visit the Girls’ Safe House at Maamba for the first time. Many of the girls were interested in my course and asked me lots of questions. Most will be finishing school in a year or two and they are thinking about further education and careers, so it meant a lot to me to be able to talk about my course, share my experiences, and tell them about my first impressions of university life.”
Day 5: Returning home to Lusaka
The following morning saw the end of the trip with the journey back to Lusaka. Once again Francis and Bupe had prepared games and quizzes to keep everyone occupied, along with prizes, donated by our Exodus Travels Foundation which were awarded to those with the best scores.
Biomedical student, Memory, was grateful for the experience, saying “It’s crazy to say but this trip has been one of the best things that has happened in my life. I’ve learnt a lot about my country, and I had an opportunity to spend a lot of time with other Baraka students – by the time we returned, it felt like we were one big family! Thank you so much Baraka and Exodus Travels Foundations for taking us on this once-in-a-lifetime trip.” Baraka Zambia’s Driver, Timmy, also praised the experience by explaining, “I was very pleased to drive the students to all these new places and be a part of their exciting journey. It gave me the chance to get to know them and hear their different stories and dreams for the future. It was also special to see so many friends from Baraka reuniting for this trip.”
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