Today was a day of rest. Literally, we got to take a break from work and do some sightseeing. While we made a stop at a market, we also happened to pass by a store selling jerseys of the local futbol team in Lubumbashi. Since the jerseys only came out to eight dollars, we ended up buying far beyond the store’s daily quota. Though I may never wear the jersey, it was a nice souvenir purchase.
The chunk of our day was spent at the zoo. I still can’t get over how cool it was! How many people can say that they’ve been to the zoo in Africa? On top of that we saw lions, zebras, and even a tiger. One of the leaders joked saying that all they had to do was set up a barrier around the lion since it was already there. Being the zoo nerd that I am, getting to see lions in Africa is something I’ll never forget.
Getting to step away from our work routine was nice and peaceful. Though we’ve been in Lubumbashi for a week now, it was cool getting to experience the city. People were everywhere, cars were driving inches away from each other, and for the first time I saw actual buildings. Exploring Africa has been a whirlwind.
I’m in Africa, and sometimes I still need to pinch myself to believe it. Africa is so different than any other place I’ve been to. Here in Lubumbashi I’ve been exposed to poverty and starvation. The commercials I would see about children in need on TV are a reality here. It’s a culture shock, but these are the things and experiences that shape me the most. From being here I’ve grown infinitely more appreciative of the things I have back home. I’m thankful for toilet paper, toilet seats, and flushing- pretty much anything related to toilets. After hand washing all of our clothes, I’m thankful for our coin operated laundry machines. I’m thankful for clean, filtered water that I can brush my teeth in without having to worry about bacteria. All the little things I wouldn’t even think twice about back home are now such luxuries in my eyes. Being here has taught me to value so much more now.
I travel the world for many reasons. One to experience beautiful and foreign places. Another to expand my world view. Africa holds a huge role in my travel checklist. While there’s much more of Africa to discover, I’m thankful to be here in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo.