Category: Zambia

May 03

Lil kids + lil presents = memory of a lifetime.

Lil kids + lil presents = memory of a lifetime.

Before I leave Zambia (where I had my second placement) for Zimbabwe to start my third placement, I decided to give away majority of my stuff to the orphanage I’ve been working in. I’ve brought along some of my pethletes zipper bags so what I did was fill each bag with some letterpads from hong kong, some candies, pens, and some other random stuff like caps, etc, then give it out to kids at the orphanage.

Let’s admit it, everybody’s got favorites and there’s obviously a few kids which I very much prefer giving my stuff to. I asked the staff whether it’s good to just give my stuff to a few of my favs, they said there are so many kids it’s impossible to give sth to everybody so I might just as well choose whom to give. Makes sense.

Some kids don’t live at the orphanage, instead they live in the neighbourhood around and since they know we come everyday so they’d drop by every afternoon to play with us. My fav ones happen to be those who lives nearby.

Different kids had completely different reactions:

One of them, who is normally really cheerful, active and talkative, went completely speechless when I gave him his gift. His smile faded. He stared at it for a few seconds, then rushed home without saying goodbye….. either he didnt like it at all (hopefully not) or he has never recieved such a present he couldn’t believe his eyes.

There’s that other kid who’s deaf and dumb. He’s really sweet. There’s always a smile on his face, he greets everyone with hand gestures. He doesnt make a lot of noise apart from an occational giggle. He’s an excellent artist. When I gave him the bag he didnt know what it is at first. Then he opened the zipper and saw the pens and colorful writing and drawing papers. HE BURSTED OUT INTO LAUGHTERS! He rushed home as well, at the same time investigated each letterpaper one by one.

Then it’s that little chubby boy who never made it to the soccer team because of his bad footwork, speed and body shape (whoops). He got to play a friendly game that day. I gave him a small backpack (the yellow pethletes one) with the same stuff in. He wore it on his back throughout his match!!!!!

And there were many more….

That very same night all these scenes kept appearing in my mind, one after another, one after another. That suddenly reminded me that I may never meet these kids I’ve been seeing everyday for the past month.

I’m gonna miss them so much


Apr 24

African snippets

A funny conversation I had with a british girl here:

Girl: So which school did you go to in the UK?
Me: Cheltenham Ladies’ College
Girl: OOOOOO-LA-LA~~~~~~~!!!!!!
Me: ….

wakakaka… yea, posh school, but not a posh graduate


And it’s really funny how people from alllll over the world think that allll chinese people are born to be kung fu fighters. Staff at the clinic, kids from the orphanage, even the bushmen…. Once they know I’m a chinese they go excitedly ’Can you show me some kung fu????’ arghhhh you guys are watching way too many misleading hollywood movies….. One of the kids at the orphanage started calling me Bruce Lee…. -_-… I called him Jacky chan, then omg, you should really see that instant wide grin on his face, the way his face just lights up like the flick of a switch… It’s like an HONOUR to call him THAT name…. He was so happy… Then another kid said he wants to be Jet Li… everybody wants to be a Chinese…. Then I started writing them their Chinese names. They went CRAZY…. 20+ kids instantly crowd around me with some scrap paper (torn magazine/newspaper pieces; exercise book covers; lottery tickets; etc, any pieces of writing material they could find on the sandy ground outside the orphanage), yelling ‘write Benson!’ ‘write Jack!’ ‘how do u write Mike??’ ‘Cesar! Cesar!’ etc… after they got their chinese names they ask me to write countries… ‘Zambia’ ‘Zimbabwe’ (I hv no clue what their chinese names are so I just made it up) ‘China’, etc etc…….. I ended up spending 45 minutes crouching on that sandy ground writing…


Taught some Science to some of the older kids at the orphanage… I looked at their textbook and saw the most bizzare thing I ever found on a textbook…. They have one whole module dedicated to Sexually Transmitted Disease, Then one of the exercises they got was ticking the activities which will spread STD’s… there are pictures of ppl shaking hands, hugging, kissing, and, yea, u guessed that, making love (under a duvet though). We couldn’t help laughing at it… Then one of the class discussion was ‘How to prevent the spread of STDs’ The kids sure know a hell lot, more than us even, one kid told us ‘You know how the name of the condom came from? It’s invented by a guy called John Condom’

We went speechless, then one of the volunteers said ‘You know what? I am John Condom’ The kids sure looked surprised…. did they really believe that the legendary John Condom is right in front of their eyes????


Helped out at the Lab in the Clinic the other day. had to prepare sputum samples for tb investigation. What I did was to take all those Gooey Bloody Mucus taken from the patients’ throat, wipe them on microscopic slides, then stain them, then look under a microscope and count the number of TB bacillus to determine the patient’s tb state.

Right, I got plastic gloves and Lab coat alright, but they don’t have a mask, instead they have a fan facing the window so the bacteria from 90 slides of the 30 tb patients will be blown away (hopefully). Fingers crossed, I hope my TB Immunity from that BCG jab I had when I was in Primary school is still functioning properly, or else……………………………………………………….


Apr 19

a little update from Zambia

I guess it’s about time I write an update…

So I’m still alive in Zambia, don’t worry. The clinic I work in here is in an even worse condition than the one I had in Ecuador… At least the Ecuadorean one was CLEAN…… Well, not that the staff are bad or anything, but they don’t use plastic gloves or masks! Omg… the first day I went I helped out at the Pharmacy to sort out their paracetamol and AcetylSalicylic acid pills. I asked for a plastic gloves, they looked at me in a wtf way, so I asked where I can wash my hands…. The toilet stinks like hell! No flush, no toilet roll, and with a smell of fermenting human manure… Spent another morning with the consultant. about 90% of the patients there had Malaria. It’s just like flu in our countries, very very common, and ppl are bound to catch it sometime in their life, and get well in about a week or two; yet Malaria sometimes sounds like an end-of-the-world disease in developed countries.

about 1 in 3 or 4 people in this country are HIV positive, and most of them have tuberculosis too. There’s a department completely devoted to TB patients (i.e. HIV – since they so often have them both together). It was actually very heartbreaking to see some little boys 8 or 9 years of age going in to get his medicine, yeah, long term ones, ones which they have to take for the rest of their life, if they could live long, that is; if their HIV positive status doesn’t cause him to have AIDS, that is…. I suddenly had an urge to cry when I saw all these that day at the clinic…. It’s really weird, I am usually very tough (yeah, excuse me, I really am) when it comes to situations like this, I didnt even had an intention to cry even in that Ecuador little girl incident (refer to my entries 4 months ago), but this time, somehow, it was really heartbreaking….

aiiii… oh well. But there really is a hell lot to learn from these people.

The other day I saw a man, walking in the street, his T-shirt reads:


in red, block letters.

At the back it reads:


People here are very very very understanding and accepting of HIV-positive ppl and even AIDS patients. They are not looked down upon.

This is so touching. Will this ever happen in SO-CALLED developed countries?

In the afternoon we usually spend time in an orphanage, kids there of all ages were orphaned since their parents died of AIDS.

The other day, we thought of playing that game of balloon-blasting with them (that game which we tie a balloon at our ankle then go around stepping and blasting each other’s balloon and whoever’s left with a balloon wins). We spent like 40 minutes blowing up and distributing the balloon, but just as we’re about the start the game, we saw the kids so happy with their precious new toy, a little boy simply walked towards me and go,

‘Lucci, let’s play!’

and played 1-on-1 volleyball with me with that balloon.

Then we realized that the game will be quite a trauma for them…. We give them something they really want then we ask them to destroy it???? they’ll definitely be traumatized!!!

These kids never take things for granted… And they appreciate every second we spend with them, every piece of little thing we give them

This trip really really is a valuable lesson in my life.