After taking a small turboprop plane ride on a short, one hour trip from Lusaka, I had finally arrived in Mfuwe, Zambia. On the plane I had a lovely conversation with Mike, who agreed to be flimed for a quick question.
At the Mfuwe International Airport, I was greeted by Anna Tolan, Founder of Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust. Anna and her husband Steve came to Zambia in 1998, and as it says on the Chipembele website, “[Anna and Steve] emigrated from England to Zambia in 1998 to fulfill their dream of running a conservation education programme for Zambian youth. Back in 1998 when Steve and Anna first arrived in Mfuwe, they were fortunate enough to be given some land by the late Chief Kakumbi on which to build the Centre.”
We walked to the vehicle and being fresh from the USA I started walking to the wrong side of the car. “You’re not in America!” Anna said. Indeed, I was now in Zambia.
Anna drove me to where I would be staying during my visit to Mfuwe and Chipembele, a place called Croc Valley Camp. The first thing I noticed upon settling into my accommodations, was a baboon walking by and monkeys all around. I then saw a small lizard just outside the front door, looked up, and saw what looked like about 5 or 6 foot long lizard slowly crawling about near my dwelling. This was a new world of experience than I had ever had before.
As night had just fallen, I walked out onto the porch area where I’m staying, looked to my right and noticed the back half of an animal with black spots and a long tail. I thought, “oh, a leopard is hiding behind the tree there.” I walked back inside, went to bed, and slept heavenly in the sounds of wildlife all around.
Tomorrow is the annual Awards Ceremony that Chipembele holds to celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of selected students from 39 schools. My day will start bright and early at 5am, so here we go!
This post is part of Dylan’s Exploration to Zambia in support of Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust as a field reporter for ConnectAID. Click here to learn more about this trip and how to subscribe to updates.