MEET THE MUSE: Reflections from Teen Muse Ella Knowlton
What inspired you to travel to Zambia?
I was inspired to travel to Zambia by a lifetime of wanting to do something influential with my life, to try and make a difference in somebody else’s’ life and when the opportunity arose I knew I had to take it.
Did the trip live up to your expectations? Explain.
The trip exceeded my expectations. From safaris to schools, each day was new and exciting.
What did you learn about issues affecting girls in rural Zambia?
The biggest thing that I learned about the issues that are affecting girls in rural Zambia is that although they cannot be fixed by knowledge, just knowing the truth is so empowering. These girls crave information about birth control, sex, and how to avoid HIV. Sometimes, being a teen you feel that you can’t make an impact on the world, but while I talked to these girls about the struggles in their lives I realized that by just sharing the accurate information I so readily have access to, I could change their perception of the world, of their bodies. It was then that I realized I had to be their age for them to open-up to me, and for them to believe what I had to say, because I have the personal experience to tell them that, yes, you can take birth control before you have your first child. This exchange of information was so empowering, for them to know that they do in fact have a choice over their bodies and and for me to know that even simply sharing what I have been taught my whole life can truly make a difference.
Please share one or more moments that had an impact on you and why.
Why do you feel this sort of travel is important?
This type of travel is so important. People think of Africa as a country, when in reality it is an entire continent. Yes, there is the extreme poverty and suffering that Africa is stereotyped to have, but there is an immense sense of joy and community that people have in Zambia unlike anything I have ever seen. They say that there are two sides to every story, but in reality there is ten times that amount, and leaving your comfort zone and experiencing them is the only way one can truly understand.
How has the experience changed you or shifted a belief about yourself or the world?
As I said, the stereotypes we hear about at home are not an accurate representation of the actual lives that are lived all over the world and we must form our own understanding of it.
How will you utilize what you learned on this trip?
I will use what I learned to learn even more, I have so many more questions, but at least now I have a foundation to go from.
If you want to have your senses overwhelmed, your perception altered, and your soul filled, go on a trip like this.
Comments are closed