Written by Livingstone intern, Sam
Kids jumping up and down, chickens scouring through the weeds, forty-eight volunteers working furiously threading wire through plastic bottles all while coping with the jet-lag from a twenty-eight hour flight (whilst also keeping a close eye on the chickens due to my phobia of birds). What have I signed up for? Is it always going to be this hectic? I don’t think I could have mentally prepared myself for my first weeks in Livingstone.
Internships are commonly thought to be for university students or recent graduates. I’ve taken a different route, having graduated and been in the corporate world for four years. Recently self-employed and working close to four-hundred days straight, I had lost my passion and drive for my work. The time was right for me to pack my bags and take a leap into the unknown.
Having only dipped my toe into Southern Africa through previous travels I have always dreamed of returning. I also don’t like to consider myself a tourist and would rather live in a destination rather than just breeze through. I’ve always had a passion for not-for-profit with a keen interest in launching social enterprise initiatives. All this combined led me in one direction – an internship with The Happy Africa Foundation in Livingstone.
My initial weeks were like a whirlwind with Beyond the Roots, Zambian Film Festival launch, World Lion Day, high volunteer numbers, all while trying to learn my role. The dust has settled in recent weeks though and my role has become quite clear. The focal projects here are inspiring, having met with people involved with the Sponsor a Child program and hearing their success stories. Linda Clinic and Zambezi Sawmills are coming to fruition but with plenty of work still to do. Monitoring, communicating with stakeholders, and continuing to raise funds will be a dominating aspect of my time in Livingstone. The sustainable impact these projects will have on their respective communities and beyond is a great source of motivation throughout the internship.
Livingstone also provides an amazing backdrop to call your workplace. With Victoria Falls thundering in the background, elephants holding up traffic a constant occurrence, and the rest of Southern Africa at your fingertips, life is never boring in Livingstone. I would also describe Livingstone as an easy introduction to Africa; holding the distinct African feel of dusty roads, music blaring throughout the day, and a sense of organised chaos while also holding the Western comforts of fully stocked supermarkets, diverse restaurants, and gyms.
My motivation is high for the next five months with large-scale fundraisers, a new focal project, and continuing the progress at our established focal projects all in the works. It’s also exciting to see what other challenges this internship and Livingstone will throw at me.
An internship isn’t just for students and graduates. An internship can provide the perfect platform to test yourself, rediscover your motivation, or to follow your dreams. Take the leap into the unknown and see what The Happy Africa Foundation holds for you!