Two weeks doesn’t seem long, but among the places I’ve been, people I’ve met, and the things I’ve seen.. I’ve learned more in these 2 weeks than I have in the past 2 years.
My mind, opened. My body, changed. And my soul, fed.
Mind: Like I’ve said before, I’m here for an internship. A Public Relations internship. I work with PR professionals for about 8-11 hours Monday-Friday. Initially, I was intimidated, but now I’m one press release from taking over the PR industry.
Just kidding. But I have definitely learned things that I would have never learned in the classroom. Cutting Edge PR is a leading public relations firm in Lusaka, Zambia, as well as an affiliate of Burson-Marstellar, one of the biggest and most successful PR firms in the world. I’m working with clients such as Huawei (pronounced how-why), a major force in the world of technology on this side of the world, Cargill, and Trafigura (look them up).
On average, I read about 4 hours every day in the office. Research. Research. Research. On anything PR related. I swear it’s making me smarter. And it’s making me thirsty for more and more knowledge that I cannot wait to share with the world.
Body: If you don’t remember anything else from this post, remember this; YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.
I used to dance. All day. Every day. Then, about a year ago, I stopped in order to focus more on school and also due to a foot injury. I never paid attention to my eating habits because I didn’t think I had to. I was fit, in shape, and looked good! About 20-30 pounds and 50,000 McChickens later, I realized how terrible my diet was. I didn’t think to eat differently just because I no longer danced. But in reality… I needed to. Before I knew it, I looked out my window, and diabetes was knocking at my door. But I refused to answer. Something had to change. Quick.
I began to exercise a little more and eat a little better..but I knew I wasn’t doing enough.
I realize many of my peers (college students) use summer vacation for two things: to make money, and to see how many pounds can be dropped in 3-4 months.
There’s no magic formula. No secret. And no near death experience from starving yourself. Healthy living equals a happy life.
A typical Zambian meal consists of one meat, usually fish or chicken, and vegetables. Clean. Wholesome. And delicious.
Over here, I don’t face the temptation of a late night Cookout run or lemon pepper wings from American Deli (Hey Atlanta!)
I am now 13 pounds lighter than I was when I flew out of Atlanta on May 30, just because of the alteration of my diet. I don’t say that to brag because 1. I have a long way to go to fulfill my lifestyle change, and 2. Although my progress didn’t occur overnight, it DOES happen.
I genuinely feel better. And praise be to God, ‘pre-diabetes’ finally realized he wasn’t welcomed.
Soul: Man. What a humbling experience. It’s the little things that many of us (in America) take for granted.
Every morning on my way to work, at 6:30 am, I see children walking to school for miles, on unpaved roads, with no adult supervision. Some children JUST reach the top of my knee caps (in height). There are no school buses due to low funding.
Sometimes, the electricity randomly shuts off throughout neighborhoods in order to conserve water. That’s called ‘load shedding’.
The other day, I was getting ready to throw my french fries away when someone softly said to me, “This country is too poor to be throwing food away. Give them to Daniel.” Daniel is the night guard for the home in which I live. (Yes, there are night guards and barbed wire fences protecting almost every home I’ve seen). I had never seen someone so grateful for french fries in my life.
In that moment I was reminded to always use my blessings to bless others.
And the one that really got me.. “All you guys (Americans) have to do is do well in school, and you can get a scholarship to college? Why not just do well in school?”
Honestly… I can’t answer that.
But it’s definitely something to think about.
Although I’ve already made it to college, I’m encouraged to work ten times harder just because there is someone wishing they were in my place right now, at this very moment.
Thank you Zambia for opening my mind, changing my body, and feeding my soul.
I look forward to the next 3 weeks.