Every fall, Arise Africa opens the application for our Summer Internship. We spend time going over each application and getting to know each applicant through a phone interview. After a lot of prayer, we choose 5 college-aged students to come to Zambia with us during the summer. Over the course of the next 6 months, we spend time preparing our Interns for their time in Zambia. The expectation for our interns is that they work hard, are eager to help those around them, and are quick to love others well. Let me be the first to say, they far exceed our expectations. During their first week in Zambia, the Interns spent time in the schools, began to build relationships with our staff in Zambia, and began to really understand what Arise Africa is all about. We LOVE our interns and want you to know them too! Enjoy reading a bit about week one through their eyes:
This past week, we have experienced Arise Africa through the eyes of the full time staff and the children in their programs. We’ve spent the past 6 months praying about and preparing for our journey. No matter how many times Chandler and Faith explained the interworking of the organization, we never fully understood its magnitude. In other words, once we reached Zambia, we realized that the Child Sponsorship Officers, or CSOs, couldn’t be more perfect for their job. We have never felt more welcomed and at home. Each one of us was impacted individually by their wisdom and kind hearts for The Lord. To tell you everything each one of us has learned in a mere week would take a lifetime to read. So, we are writing to you collectively to share the highlights.
Early Monday morning, Molly, Katherine, and Maryellen left the Complex at 6:45am to join Lucy (one of the CSOs) on a courageous 2-hour minibus adventure. Has anyone seen the third Harry Potter movie?? If so, the best way to describe a minibus experience is to compare it to the magical bus that saves Harry from the werewolf (see video below). It took us around 2 hours to get to the Arise Christian School. This experience gave us a lot of perspective of what a typical morning commute looks like for many of the Arise Staffers. It was an entertaining experience to say the least, and it would be easy to complain about… But Lucy didn’t complain once. She was thankful we had safe travels and that the Lord provided a way for us to get to the school! We learned a lot from Lucy that morning, and this was just the beginning.
While the other girls were at ACS, Kirbi and Emily went to Dotroda School. Before going to the school, they rode with Abraham in the Cruiser! They helped him with “veg run.” Twice a week, Abraham picks up fresh vegetables to deliver to the different schools for the Feeding Program.
Even though we were at different schools, we all had very similar days. We cut vegetables while the staffers from Zambia laughed at us for our lack of cooking skills… as well as muscle… Kirbi got a “yeah… you’re from America” when she attempted to stir the pot of nshima (a Zambian food made out of cornmeal). It is basically like stirring cement. After preparing for lunch, each one of us had the privilege of working individually with CSOs to revise and edit their reports that are sent to child sponsors. This gave us the opportunity to learn all about the CSOs lives and how they came to work with the organization.
Throughout the week we visited three different schools, Taonga, Dotroda, and Arise Christian School (ACS). After every busy day, we came together at our cozy home, commonly known as the Complex. Chandler and Faith were always eager to hear about each of our days. Megan, our most favorite cook, made the best meals to come home to. After eating, we were in charge of washing and drying the dishes. We tended to have a little free time, and then usually ended our night with a devotional – we are going through James, learning about how to be active in our faith and doers of the Word. After that, we would all hang out before heading to bed usually around 9pm… at the latest.
At the beginning of the week, we quickly learned that the CSOs love each of their students like they are their own children. Because of their devotion, we were able to learn about each child individually – from a child’s favorite color or favorite food, how many siblings were in the family, to how they had grown in their character and faith in the Lord. With every conversation between us and the CSOs, we learned more about their continued dedication to the kids. To turn around and see how each child looks up to and trusts their CSOs further proved the impact they have on the children’s lives. Another area of Sponsorship that we were beyond encouraged by was the kids’ expressions when they first opened letters from their sponsors. Every picture included in a sponsor’s letter gets clung to and tugged at by the surrounding family and friends. You can tell that the kids are encouraged to do well in school so they can write back to their sponsors and tell them what they’ve learned. The kids absolutely love hearing about sponsors own families. You get several “oh wows” and “ahhhs” when reading the letters. God is so good for giving these kids and the sponsors the opportunity to connect, regardless of their differences- whether that be the distance or the culture.
We can’t believe we’ve already been here a week! We are really looking forward to the rest of our time in Zambia. God has already taught each one us so many different things… Every day, we are able to see more of who He is, allowing each of us to grow in our personal walks with Him. We are also looking forward to Mission Trippers coming soon! It’s going to be a great summer here in Zambia.