For a long time I have been curious about Africa. Documentaries, books and people that I’ve met here in Europe had stirred up my interest over and over again.
When Jan Naumann asked me to join them on a four week journey to Zambia I couldn’t believe it at first. A few days later I was surprised when an e-mail with a flight schedule and my name on it was displayed on my screen.
Jan wrote “It’s getting quite real all of a sudden, doesn’t it?”
The plan we had agreed on was for me to help out with event management and to support and to advise on strategic development.
So I started to prepare for the trip. So many things had to be done. I knew hardly anything about the country. I got a list of things from the Namumba leadership and we met on Skype several times to get me informed. This was great help but even with my own research added it was not enough for me to feel well prepared at the time of departure.
The day approached and I was quite excited…of course I was.
I took the train to Hamburg to meet with Jan and his wife Joyce Namumba. They arrived in the middle of the night while I was trying to get some sleep on the hard airport floor. The first big challenge was the luggage battle. As Jan and Joyce had sooo many things to bring for friends and family in Zambia they were making 120% use of the allowed luggage capacity. They ended up having too many kilograms on the scale.
As we finally got on the plane I realized that this was my first time to cross the equator. When the map showed that our aircraft was just above that line Jan friendly reminded me of that special event by “baptizing” me with a cup of water directly on my head. We had to spend another night on hard airport tiles at the airport of Nairobi. So my first Africa experience was in Kenya, at least technically.
Next day we entered the last airplane on this journey to Zambia, a little Boeing XYZ from Kenya Airways that took us to Lusaka via Harare, Zimbabwe. The heat hit my face as I got off the plane and a friendly advertisement board greeted us with “Welcome to warm and sunny Zambia”.
This was the beginning of a wonderful, intensive, educational and inspirational journey…
…to be continued…