When I was told I had the opportunity to travel to Africa with my Aunt Rachael, I was so excited. I knew she had been going for years, and I wanted to see the other life she lives over there along with her work. She is the head of ECF and works tirelessly to help thousands of kids who suffer from severe malnutrition. Last year I served as the Youth Leader of the organization and we raised over $10,000 to help save more lives. I wanted to visit Africa to learn hands-on what it’s like to work with the children in the clinic and see what else I can do to help. I also wanted to see the beautiful sites and the culture.
The flight to Zambia felt like we were on the plane for two days straight, even though it was only 21 hours. The first day in Lusaka (the capital city) was nice, just settling in and running errands to the mall and grocery store. It was interesting to see the communities where people live. Some areas are super nice, but there is also lot of poverty. It’s definitely worse than anything I’d ever seen.
My aunt and I met up with a Zambian lady, Ellie, who volunteered at the clinic. My aunt asked her questions to get an update on how the children were doing at the clinic. It helped me start to understand the situation, like the main causes for malnutrition in that community and how the RUTF treatment works. Luckily, the clinic has been around for a while and has community members who work there, so they have built a great amount of trust. Moms know that the clinic has the RUTF that their baby needs. The sad part is that not every community has this type of clinic program. Ellie was very nice and gave me a good introduction to what I would see at the clinic the next day, but there was nothing that could totally prepare me for what I would experience.
Check out ‘part 2‘ to read about my experience at the clinic.