MEET THE MUSE: Reflections from Teen Muse Rohan Sinha
What inspired you to travel to Zambia?
This was my second trip to Zambia, so I will touch on what inspired me to go both this time and my first time. The first time I went, I wanted to see both the differences and similarities between my life and those who live in Zambia. I was shocked at the magnitude of both. Moreover, I was excited to be part of an incredibly strong group of women and to learn from great leaders from all over the world. This time, I was excited to revisit the places in which we left memories and to see our friends and locals – Tafara, the school children, and the progress made. Furthermore, I was intrigued by the idea of a teen-trip to Zambia; we had made a lot of advancement talking with the children from a more adult perspective, but how could we relate if we were all (basically) the same age? When considering from whom we can learn, both as travelers and the Zambians, it is important to learn from both adults and children. These questions, coupled with the incredible time I had during my first trip, the phenomenal local people, and the outstanding experience as a whole inspired me to travel back to Zambia.
Did the trip live up to your expectations? Explain.
This trip surpassed my expectations; both based on our companions and the locals/experiences. First, I was overjoyed to be able to so easily and naturally relate to those from all over the US. We got along very well, which enhanced the trip as a whole. Continuing, the locals were EVEN MORE welcoming, warm, and excited than I remembered. Their undying generosity and acceptance allowed this trip to be even more fun than last year. Finally, our unreal experience at Royal and on safari assured that we had the best time possible.
What did you learn about issues affecting girls in rural Zambia?
One of the new issues I learned, which had not come up (at least for me) was that the sports culture in their schools was very male dominated. Although stacked against many of the other issues they faced, this seems less significant, it also led to some forms of oppression that I had not considered. For example, girls were less likely to jump into soccer games and waited to be invited. Yet, the examples of Ily and Lila (etc.) allowed for more girls to freely push their way into games.
Please share one or more moments that had an impact on you and why.
When we were painting the house, I was busy working and I got a tap on my leg… and looked around. Without seeing anyone, I ventured downwards and was met with a stare from Georgie, who I had met last year. He did not say anything but looked at me and did the shaka hand wave – which I had taught him last year. We high fived and he started painting. It meant a lot to see that, even a whole year on, Georgie still remembered who I was and what I had taught him – even if it was just a wave.
Why do you feel this sort of travel is important?
This type of travel is neither a service trip (during which people only give to the country they explore) nor a tourist trip (during which people only take from the country they explore). Instead, this trip was an exchange – we absolutely benefited both intellectually, experientially, and emotionally, while I also hope that the Zambian people we met were thus changed. The importance of these trips is to both expand the traveler’s horizons, gain a more true sense of a country or our world, and also make (hopefully) a profoundly positive impact on the local community.
How has the experience changed you or shifted a belief about yourself or the world?
This experience, on both trips, has fundamentally altered the way I perceive my actions at home. In the US, and NYC, we are often careless with the understanding of how lucky we are. Yet, going to Zambia has shown me that a little fundraising on my part, and a few soccer balls bought, can actually change lives. The little things make a difference – if we spend and act wisely and locally.
How will you utilize what you learned on this trip?
Being part of DIA (Direct Impact Africa), I want to leverage any relationships I have state-side to raise money, awareness, and begin more trips. Moreover, the emotional and intellectual teachings I learned from both the locals in Zambia and those on the trip will stick with my decision making processes and understanding of the world for years to come.
Why should someone else go on this trip?
Simply because this trip will change their life. They may not realize before, during, or soon after. But this trip will stick with us, with whoever goes on this trip, and with those we have impacted. Whoever hears about this trip, and is able to participate, must go.
Comments are closed