Written by: Ronald Tyson ( Foundation Travel Intern, Livingstone, Zambia 2021)
Greetings, I’m RON, a recent MBA graduate residing in sunny Tampa Florida. I choose and came to The African Impact Foundation as an NGO Intern in Livingstone, Zambia because it is a field of interest to me. I researched several probable internships to apply for but AF’s almost universal online positive reviews and focused mission statement of educating and developing young people and the community development initiatives is what brought me to their front door.
Working within African Impact and the Foundation I got hands on involvement in community projects such as building schools and sustainable structures like constructing park benches out of plastic waste and bottles. Eco Friendly projects are practiced here.
Our TEAM engaged in several Livingstone Community development initiatives like planting sustainable gardens for nutritionist food, and educational involvement like teaching English literacy in local communities. This was truly a remarkable experience. I was also able to contribute business-level research and analysis on future endeavors.
On the internal operational side, I witnessed firsthand Team building exercises and development, resource allocation and coordination, and the daily impact our team efforts achieved within the communities we served and partnership with.
“We worked together.”.
The leadership and supporting staff are absolutely amazing, and they should be commended for creating a user-friendly environment of hospitality and alliance. We worked together. They ran an effective operation and it is so obvious they have their hearts and souls in these projects. They care about the communities they serve and within days of being around them, I guarantee you will too. We work diligently in the day and have social gatherings in the evening within the team. We play games, sing songs, celebrate our daily efforts, we dine together, laugh out loud, have movie nights, help each other, counsel each other, and by the end of it all, become friends.
Weekends are up for grabs as you are a free agent. This is the opportunity to explore the city. Not as a tourist (there are always touristy things to do) but as a temporary local. Walk the streets of the friendly town, greet and meet people, establish dialect. The natives are super friendly and welcome you open-heartedly. Get invited to churches, greet and meet foreigners now locals who have relocated to the city and set-up their own personal shops and businesses (like the Doctor from INDIA I meet that opened up an 8-building orphanage for young girls). Explore the shops, take in local cuisines, and definitely get to the museums.
After all was said and done, I achieved exactly what I set out to do and I would recommend this internship to anybody. Our base of operation was structured and professional maintained with the heart of GOLD our leaders and supporting staff added to the projects. The Foundations operations are inspiring, meaningful, and add value to all involved. Being on this continent, AFRICA has a reputation of enlightening people. It has both a spiritual and psychological influence on you. Being here builds passion and sympathy in your heart. Creates a drive to reach out, contribute, add value and inspire. Our team concluded that Africa brings out or develops these character traits in individuals who visit the land. As far as we could tell, no other land mass in the world can make this claim.
I would have stayed longer if the VISA requirements at that time had not required me to depart. But just like THE TERMINATOR, my final words to my new friends were “I’ll be back” and those plans are already in progress.