Alice: “EcoGreen is one big family. You can’t help but feel at the top!”
It was important for me to go abroad. The opening to others, to the world, the discovery of new cultures, new horizons totally different from ours feeds us and makes us grow. At the end of the first year of study at the 3A school, we have to do an internship. I wanted a project that would be meaningful and in line with my values and my struggles.
I liked several missions, several places as well. With my first year at 3A, and all that is happening in our world today, respect for the environment and ecology are pillars of my way of life. Lloyd’s speech, director of the EcoGREEN Foundation, was the one I wanted to hear. Lloyd is a genius, he likes to feed himself with articles and knowledge on these subjects: the environment, ecology, global warming, deforestation issues… He fascinated me from the moment I arrived, he is a fascinating man and passionate about what he lives and reads, he is always ready to tell us his story, the story of his country…
EcoGREEN’s head office as well as the nursery and school are located at the same place in Maramba, 10 min by bus from Livingstone. Maramba is located north east of Livingstone, the tourist capital of the country. Maramba is a small suburb with colourful houses, where peace and quiet are present. The population is very “friendly”, as a community of 9590 people. It feels good to live there! Here is the famous market of Maramba, we can find everything we need, vegetables, meat, cosmetics, clothes…we can even eat their famous meal composed of nshima (corn flour) vegetables with fish or meat.
Going to the market is part of the daily activities of Zambians, to meet up with friends and regular vendors. The food, immediately seduced me with its smells and markets as far as the eye can see. I quickly started buying and cooking Zambian food. The African women were all happy and laughed when I asked for a vegetable in their dialect or when I cooked their maize paste. Lloyd taught me a few words of his dialect in exchange for a few words of French.
Zambia is an English country, with about 60 dialects. The beginning was difficult for me, with a fairly low level of English, but Lloyd made me understand right away that he was there to help me and explain to me again the number of times I needed. That reassured me right away. After 5-6 days, communication had become fluid and understandable. Integration was not a problem, Lloyd is a very warm man, he invited me directly to eat, sending me messages to see if everything was alright. He puts you at ease from the first minute, as if EcoGREEN was one big family. You can’t help but feel at your best!
The goal was for me to follow Lloyd in his work, needing us for all the IT, writing and the exchange of ideas, project formatting…. We were two French volunteers, present with him. During these two months, EcoGREEN grew. After many adventures, we bought a 15ha plot of land in the bush 20km from the city to really launch his whole eco-center project and install a real nursery, thanks to the money from a former crossfounding.
We also participated in a partnership with the Diocese, in exchange we planted 5 trees and launched a “clean up” of the Garden. Later, we created an Instagram account in the name of the organization to promote all these actions. As I love photography, I enjoyed it very much. Go to Follow : @ecogreen.foundation
Two or three times a week, we went to the Charity school to do activities with the children, to play games to amuse them because the school is very strict.
My goal was to see how the local population takes charge of issues like this, how environmental issues, global warming, are heard in other parts of the world. I am eager to discover new ways of acting, biogas for example is something that interests me a lot. It has been a pleasure to learn about these topics with him.
Being there, I didn’t realise how much we were doing, I had the impression that everything was going at the rhythm of Africa. With all these blurry moments, slowing down because we had to try to see someone in particular but this person had no battery left on his phone (because there was no electricity), so we had to call another person to find out where we could find him. So we had to go there, but by the time we got there, he was already gone… that’s the complicity of Africa. At the beginning, I thought we’ll never make it, but we quickly take the step and everything quickly becomes normal, we don’t even ask ourselves these kinds of questions anymore.
Africa remains my favourite, along with Lloyd, Charity and EcoGREEN. This experience was once again rich in discovery, in knowledge on subjects that were not necessarily familiar. I can’t wait to go back and see the progress of the project and the construction of the eco-center on the ground. It was a difficult start after two intense months among the local population. I really miss the smell and colours in the cities and the permanent smile of the people.