Organization: Choshen Farm. Christian Community Development in Rural Zambia
Dates: 6/12/2016 to 8/12/2016
Web page: https://choshenfarm.org/
In Kelsey's own words
How I contributed: The organization is working to encourage local farmers to adopt methods of farming more sustainable and beneficial than slash and burn agriculture. During my time in Zambia, I went around to the surrounding farms and discussed ways in which the farmers could adopt conservation methods into their current systems. Many of them had never heard of an alternative to burning and most were relatively open to the idea despite the centuries of tradition backing up their current behavior. These meetings with the community laid the foundation and developed relationships so the organization to continue working with these farmers after my departure. In other words, I expanded the reach of Choshen Farm and educated locals on sustainable farming practices that will improve the productivity of a farm if adopted.
What I felt most challenged by: I felt challenged by the financial demands of the organization and struggled to meet them throughout the entirety of the trip. If this is a problem for any students, I would not recommend this organization and would encourage you to find a Cornell-sponsored opportunity.
What I enjoyed most: I absolutely loved spending my free time with the village kids. They came to my house each day and we would sing, dance, and play football for as many hours as we could. My favorite moment in the trip was when I introduced my translator, one of the local village members, to marshmallows. His face lit up like he was a little boy and it was a lot of fun to see the way he tried to contain himself as he looked at the remaining bag of them at his feet.
Would I recommend this experience: If money is not an issue I strongly recommend this organization. Jeremy and Bethany (the organization leaders) are excellent mentors and I learned a great deal through them. They are fun to spend time with and are overall pretty accommodating. The experience in itself is worth all the money troubles in the world, frankly.
Organization: Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research
Dates: 5/27/2016 to 7/27/2016
Web page: http://www.zipar.org.zm/
In Zhun's own words
How I contributed: I worked on a project on China - Africa trade, investment and partnerships.
What I felt most challenged by: The culture and adapting to a new environment.
What I enjoyed most: Meeting new people and experiencing a new way of life.
Would I recommend this experience: Yes! It was definitely an enriching and educational experience. I grew so much professionally and personally.