4 days in... by Robin Eagan

     Scheduled 8 hour black outs in sweltering heat make it quite difficult to sleep. Without fans circulating the air the mosquitos love to come in & feast. The mosquito net protects my skin but I can still hear their annoying screech. So I use the sweet songs of Morrissey to sing me back to sleep. Early mornings consist of toast & instant coffee flavored with chicory. Some volunteers are awake & aware & others are walking zombies. While I think I'm somewhere in between. 

     The walk to my placement is about 5 kilometers or 3 miles if you're like me. We walk through sands & streets, shops & trash heaps, glares & smiles all the while children waving frantically hi & bye as we pass through. I'm commonly greeted with a smile & thumbs up as I say hi to those that I pass by. Some show respect with a wave & then a touch of the chest. While others seem unsure yet give a little smile because they can't resist. It's in their nature to be kind. 

     As soon as I walk in the kids swarm, staring & grabbing my arms. Asking me stories or spelling out the words on my skin. They put their arms against mine hoping the tattoos are contagious. They are truly fascinated, for them it is such a rare sight too see. We talk about life goals, there are future pilots, soldiers, lawyers & accountants.  We play futbol & do chores. Some kids cling to me & others are a little tough to get through. There is a breaking dancing crew, that have been teaching me moves while I kick out the jams through my phone. 

     At the end of the day the heat & lack of caffeine have taken their toll. So instead of a walking we cab it back home for a shower & quick nap. Sometimes we group up & go out to town & sometimes we all just lay around, hoping the wifi will work so we can contact our loved ones back home. 

 

I made it to Zambia! by Robin Eagan

     After a few complications of a delayed flight caused by a miss behaving toilet & then no one being at the airport to pick me up. I finally made it to Zambia! I thought I was staying at the orphanage but it ends up I am staying at a place called Songbird guest house. I arrived yesterday around 2pm & to my surprise there are 20 other volunteers here! Everyone is doing different types of volunteering, teaching, elderly care, community development, the list goes on. They were all very welcoming. My roommate has been here 3 months & he's got another 3 to go. He is doing community development. He's 19 years old & from Florida. 
      Zambia is a gorgeous land covered in poverty. I got to explore a little bit yesterday, went to the market & out to dinner with some of the other volunteers. On our walk out to the main road we pass a few unfinished cement buildings that some families live in. The kids all wave at us excited to say hello as chickens cross the road to get to the other side, literally. As soon as we walked by those kids & their faces lit up, so did my heart. It was the moment when it all really sunk in. I'm here, I'm doing this. I traveled half way around the world by myself, was welcomed with open arms & in no time some kids I've never even met had me smiling from ear to ear. As they were doing the same.
     Today I start my orientation, I'm unsure of what it really consists of. I know they plan on taking me around town to familiarize me with the area & I would hope they would take me to the orphanage to go over things with me there. Either way I start at the orphanage tomorrow. I'm so excited. It's a 45 minute walk to the orphanage from where I am. I can rent a bike for $15 a week which I will most likely do. Since I prefer a good bike ride over a walk, if it's a daily routine. I hope to get some photos today & I will be posting some up on my next blog. 
     I wrote all of this at 1am in my bed because I can't sleep. My bed is covered by a mosquito net, it is hot as hell, the wifi does not work in my room & my roommate snores. These are the glory days! :)

Africa Day One by Robin Eagan

     I made it to Africa!  I am staying in Johannesburg South Africa for the evening & heading to Zambia in the morning.  Tonight I'm staying at a place called Petra Guest Houses. It's in a residential area & every building & home in this area is heavily gated with barbed wire, electric fences or spikes. It's crazy! Also when you enter the neighborhood there is a guard & he gives you the go ahead to pass through. It's kind of scary not knowing anyone & not knowing who you can trust. Especially when you're carrying your life in your back pack. It keeps you on your toes! I didn't get to go out & explore South Africa at all. After 20 plus hours of flying & a 9 hour time difference, I am quite jet lagged. So I am just resting & hoping when I get to Zambia I will have adjusted to the time zone & not want to go to sleep in the middle of my orientation. Tomorrow is day one of the orphanage! I will be attempting to blog some of the events of each day. This first blog isn't that exciting because I really didn't do anything. But hey, I made it! 

    

by Robin Eagan

Hello good people! 

     My name is Robin. I am an artist and photographer from Sacramento California . I have started a gofundme account in hopes of raising money to travel to, and volunteer at an orphanage in Africa. http://www.gofundme.com/x62yde44 Immediately following that, I will be volunteering at a Big 5 Animal Conservation. Volunteering at an orphanage in Africa has been a goal of mine since learning about programs a fews years ago. Unfortunately, the costly flights, and accommodations are what stand in my way. 

     There are many organizations out there that ask for donations to help children & families in need. The inherent flaw with these organizations, however noble, is that the effect of your contributions cannot be observed. Donations are most often diminished by administration fees, taxes, operating costs, and any number of expenses that reduce there effectivity. 

     For me, nothing could be more satisfying than to be there in person to experience the changes in these children’s and families lives. I have so much love to give. I know that love isn't everything, but it is powerful. These kids need to know that there are people in the world that care. I want to inspire them to think beyond the cards they’ve been dealt, and to dream of a better life that can be achieved. I want to show them the power of a positive mental attitude, that can overcome the negativity we so often find in the world. Nothing would bring me greater joy than witness what compassion and love can do to those who have never experienced it. 

     The second part of my journey will take me to a Big 5 Conservation. Like many people I find myself sickened and angered by the supposed sport of hunting and killing elephants, lions, tigers, rhinos, among other endangered animals. As a lover of animals, It would bring me the greatest satisfaction to stand up and do something about it. There are numerous ways of contributing to Big 5 Conservation efforts. For me the best way is to stand by the side of the animals and other volunteers with like minds and hearts. 

     Please help me raise the $4,000 over the next few weeks to make this journey a reality. With your help, I will be in Africa by October 11th. I have 822 Facebook friends, if each of you could spare $10, this would be easy! I know it’s unlikely that all of my FB friends will answer this call, but certainly those that know my passion, will contribute what they can. 

 


Thank you all!
-Robin